So guys, poser that I am, I tried to make the fondant patissier that most sane people buy in the store when they want to make patisserie.
It’s the thing that makes the white glaze on top of the vanilla éclair, and you flavor it with coffee or chocolate for the other “parfums.” It all looked so easy here.
Greased cookie sheet (a friend told me last night it should have been marble and that’s what went wrong).
A slotted spoon that you need to continually test the syrup to see if it’s done. If you can blow bubbles through the little holes (like soap bubbles) it’s ready. Alternatively you could use a candy thermometer like a normal person and get it to 112°C (233°F).
I leapt for joy.
Spread it on the cookie sheet and let it cool for 20 minutes, and then you’re supposed to do some fancy schmancy maneuvering with a putty knife to create this glorious white fluffy confection that you can roll into a ball and take pieces of to melt with water and form a glaze.
The first or the second time I tried it (sob).
Pastry lessons by Christophe Felder, offered to me by my lovely friend Renata who shares my passion for cooking.
I made both the unsuccessful fondant and the cream that you put inside the éclair a day in advance because I didn’t want to get overwhelmed. If you are trying this for the first time and are not in a hurry, it might be a good idea for you to do the same (with the cream – but skip the fondant unless you are a genius, in which case show me how to do it).
The cream is called Crème Patissière and I was annoyed that the book mentioned the butter but didn’t tell you when to incorporate it. Also, the recipe was for vanilla or coffee éclairs so I added my own touch with the chocolate.
50 gr corn starch 1/3 cup
and add the rest of the ingredients you’ve stirred together.
You need to cover it immediately so it doesn’t touch the air and I put it in a ziploc bag because I thought the plastic was stronger than saran wrap. I folded it over to remove the air as it cooled, and then zipped out all the air when it was ready and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
Now it’s the next day and I’m ready to make the Pâte à Chou (which means dough shaped like cabbages, or what we know as cream puff pastries).
First make sure you take out the pastry cream from the refrigerator to get it to room temperature or it will be too hard to fill the éclairs with. Learn from my mistake because I was working with cold unyielding cream and I burst several holes in the pastry bag while working, sending large spirals of chocolate cream all over the work surface and myself.
Second, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C ).
Now, the recipe I used only makes enough for 6 large éclairs, and the pastry cream is enough for triple that. So I’m going to give you the double portion of the recipe (but the images will show you only the single portion). And you may want to add another third to the recipe to match the pastry cream amount. Confused yet?
1/2 cup (110 grams of butter), cut into pieces. Melt that together
then add 1 1/2 cups (140 g flour). I used a regular gluten free mix, and let me tell you – gluten free really works well with puff pastries. You don’t notice the difference in taste or texture (or perhaps the taste is even better, if I do say so myself).
But, you know, when they were done they were not so very bad. Plus they’re filled and covered with various chocolates so you can get away with a lot. Looky here.
Oh, I almost forgot. Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes til they look nicely browned, like this.
Not perfect, but hey!
Now, here’s where I fudged a last minute chocolate glaze to make up for my disaster of a fondant. I didn’t find anything I was looking for online so I had to make up my own.
For one thing, you can’t use a ganache (just chocolate, cream and butter) because it’s not sweet enough. The pastry cream is not all that sweet, and the puff pastry is not sweet at all. I didn’t want to make a regular frosting because … ew, gross. On an éclair?
But honestly? If your drum has a different beat, dance to it (and then share it). I’m here to learn, not judge.
This was the consistency – see how it’s not at all homogenous?
Just about right (or as good as it gets for now).
Now gird your loins. It’s time to assemble the éclairs.
Stir your pastry cream well, then fill a pastry bag with the (softened) cream and squeeze it into the middle of the éclairs.
And then drizzle the chocolate glaze over the éclairs.
Emergency! Emergency! There’s a culinary massacre going on here.
Where are my smelling salts?
Because it tasted so (sooooooo) good.
Sir said it tasted better than any éclair he had ever eaten in his whole entire life, and although he might possibly have been trying to butter me up, it was accompanied by too many murmurs of satisfaction to have been completely contrived. (He also said this was worse than any blog post he had ever read in his whole entire life considering there was so very much ado about nothing. But I’m not ready to hang up my chef’s hat just because of a little discouragement!).
And there was not one single éclair left over.
- Chocolate Pastry Cream:
- 2⅛ c (50 cl) whole milk
- 6 yolks
- ⅓ c (50 gr) corn starch
- ⅔ c (120 gr) sugar
- 200 gr dark chocolate
- 3.5 T (50 gr) butter
- Puff Pastry:
- 250 gr water (just over a cup)
- 1 t sugar
- ½ t salt
- ½ c (110 gr) buttr
- 1½ c (110 gr) flour, gluten free or regular
- 6 small eggs
- Chocolate Glaze:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 100 grams dark chocolate
- 1 cup confectioner sugar
- Pastry Cream:
- Heat milk.
- Whisk eggs, sugar and corn starch.
- Chop chocolate.
- Pour warm milk over chocolate and let it melt.
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
- Add all the ingredients - melted chocolate and egg mix - whisk over high heat until it becomes a cream.
- Let it cool.
- Puff Pastry:
- Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and line baking sheet with wax paper.
- Melt water, butter, sugar and salt together.
- Whisk in the flour until all the moisture is absorbed.
- Remove from heat and add eggs one by one, stirring.
- Put the dough in a pastry bag with 8 mm tip and create "éclairs."
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Cut in half and pipe the pastry cream in the middle.
- Chocolate Glaze:
- Melt chocolate and cream together.
- Add the confectioner sugar.
- Pour over the éclairs when ready.