It's been a long time since I participated in a blogger baking event. So far, I've only joined Aspiring Bakers
. I think it's a good idea to be part of such event. Not only does it introduce me to more blogger friends, it also gives me direction to my next baking project. Unfortunately, I've not been able to follow the event closely. I think I should resume...
Recently I saw Lena baked chocolate eclairs
for Free & Easy Bake Along
, an event she co-hosted. I thought this would be a good time for me to participate in this event since I also wanted to try Chef Yamashita's chocolate eclair recipe. It took me two days to prepare this sweet treat. I prepared the custard cream on Thursday, mixed the dough & baked the shells on Friday morning and finally assembled the eclairs after lunch. I know it can be quite overwhelming when you look at the recipe, but I can tell you that it's really worth it! The eclairs are just superb!
Recipe by Chef Yamashita Masataka in Tanoshii, Joy of Making Japanese-style Cake & Desserts.
1 portion (250g) pate a choux dough (see recipe below)
1 egg , lighly beaten
CHOCOLATE CREAM - I doubled this up.
30g dark chocolate buttons - I used Valrhona Equatoriale 55%.
100g custard cream (see recipe below)
Place chocolate buttons in a microwave-safe bowl & heat in a microwave oven on High at 20-second bursts, stirring & checking each time, so chocolate does not burn. (Alternatively, the chocolate buttons can also be melted over double-boiler.) When chocolate is smooth & melted, fold it into custard cream & mix well. Transfer chocolate cream to a piping bag fitted with a 0.8-cm round tip. Set aside.
70g dark chocolate buttons
70g heavy cream
Place dark chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring heavy cream to a simmer until it reaches 90deg C. Pour over dark chocolate & whisk to combine.
100g heavy cream
Using a hand whisk, whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 0.8-cm round tip. (I placed the bag of cream in the freezer while waiting to be used.)
PATE A CHOUX DOUGH
72g pastry flour (top flour) - sifted
60g unsalted butter
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 egg white, if needed
CUSTARD CREAM (makes about 260g)
- Preheat oven to 200 deg C. Line a baking tray.
- In a saucepan, stir milk, water, unsalted butter, salt & sugar over medium heat until mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat. Whisk in pastry flour until fully incorporated.
- Return saucepan to medium heat. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir until dough starts to stick together & pulls away from sides of saucepan. Transfer dough to a medium bowl.
- Using a spatula, fold in beaten eggs half portion at a time, ensuring full incorporation after each addition. The dough will be thick & elastic.
- Test by lifting half of dough with the spatula. It should fall off in 3 seconds. If it does not, mix in 1 tbsp egg white & test again. Repeat if necessary.
- Transfer choux dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1-cm round tip & pipe dough into logs about 10cm long & 1 cm high, spacing them 4cm apart.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly brush dough with beaten egg. Using a wet fork, lightly shape dough to smoothen surface. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until dough has risen slightly.
- Lower oven temperature to 180deg C & bake for 20-30 minutes until puffs are risen & golden brown.
- Remove from oven & leave to cool on a wire rack before filling puffs. (Unfilled choux puffs will keep for up to 1 day in an airtight container.)
10g pastry flour (top flour)
1/2 pod vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped (I used 1 tsp pure vanilla paste.)
30g unsalted butter
7g salted butter
45g egg yolks, at room temperature
- Sift together cornflour & pastry flour. Set aside.. In a saucepan, simmer 200g milk, vanilla seeds & pod, 10g sugar & butters over medium heat until butter is melted & sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks with 43g sugar until pale. Add sifted flours & whisk until fully incorporated. Add 50g milk & mix well. Add mixture from saucepan & mix until uniform.
- Strain into another saucepan & place over high heat, whisking vigorously until mixture is thickened. The mixture will bubble at the centre throughout. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Prepare a large bowl of iced water & palce mixing bowl over it. Using a rubber spatula, scrape base & sides of bowl until custard cream is cold to the touch & the surface is shiny.
- Cover cream with plasticwrap, pressing down onto surface of cream. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. Custard cream will keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.
ASSEMBLING THE ECLAIRS:
- Slice cooled choux pastry logs into half horizontally.
- Dip top layer of logs in ganache & arrange on a baking tray. Refrigerate for 10 minutes until ganache is set.
- Pipe a thick layer of chocolate cream onto choux bases, then pipe a layer of Chantilly cream over. Sandwich with top layer & serve. Consume within the day.