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I only come by here now to say hi, apologize, then post a Daring Bakers challenge. I hope this will change soon, as soon as we move into our new! apartment!, but for now, I’d like to say hi, sorry, and tell you that eclairs are delicious, fun, and (mostly) easy to make. And yes, this is a Daring Bakers challenge.
Eclairs are easy, if you follow instructions and proportions, and if you don’t get greedy. I offered to make these as a dessert for a dinner my in-laws were hosting. The recipe claims to make 20 eclairs, and I thought “pssh… who wants puny little 20-to-a-recipe pastries? I’m going to make REAL sized ones.” This was a mistake. My first batch of choux pastry went horribly, horribly wrong, coming out like lumpy oblong pancakes. I worried and complained and generally acted miserable. My mother-in-law and auntie-in-law tutted and pooh-poohed, and said, “don’t worry, you’ll cut them and put cream in them and top them and they’ll be gorgeous.” And I allowed myself to be soothed, but the psychological weight was too much. Inferior! Eclairs! To guests! I couldn’t take it, so I marched back to the kitchen and started my pastry from scratch, thus inconveniencing the other cooks and guests, and hogging the oven, which needed to be used for important things, like, you know, dinner. Some house guest I am. But the eclairs did turn out.
The pastry was tender, the pastry cream was sweet and smooth and cold, and the chocolate sauce on top was just the right balance of gooey and firm. So, yum!
I modified the recipe for chocolate pastry cream, eliminating chocolate and adding half a vanilla bean and some Jameson, trying to create an Irish cream flavour. The flavour was fantastic, but I’m not a big cornstarch fan, so I wouldn’t use this except as a filling, where it holds its shape beautifully. The chocolate sauce, while fiddly, is all stations go delicious, and I wish that I had some right now, so I could eat it on ice cream.
All in all, a great challenge, thanks to MeetaK and Tony Tahhan, both of whom you can visit to check out the recipe. Also, check out the Daring Bakers blogroll to see what those bloggers more dedicated than me have produced.