This month I had a lot of request for Gougers. The classic cheesy puffs perfect for an hors d'oeuvre party.
Making the Pate a Choux, I started to think of all the wonderful things you can make with this puffy egg dough. And Eclairs just seemed to stick in my mind until I just had to make them.
I love the combination of flavors that dance in your mouth as you bite into them. First you get the the subtle egg flavor from the puff, then the cool, smooth vanilla from the pastry cream and to finish it off, the rich chocolate. I like to use 78% cocoa to contrast the sweetness of the pastry cream. They are like a grown up filled doughnut!
First lets make the Pate Choux:
1 cup all purpose flour or bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
4-5 whole eggs
1. Place the water, milk, and butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
2. Sift together the flour, sugar and salt.
3. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil add the flour mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for at least 3 min. until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the side of the pan to form a ball. You want to cook out the flour flavor and develop the glutens.
4. Place the dough into a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or you can use a hand mixer. Mix the dough on low speed for about 1 or 2 minutes until the dough cools. I can usually tell its ready when the steam dissipates.
5. Add one egg at a time, letting the dough to absorb each egg and scrape down the sides of the
bowl after each egg with a rubber spatula.
6. After the 4th egg, test the dough by placing small amount between your thumb and index
finger, then pull the fingers apart. If the dough breaks add the fifth egg. The dough should
stretch rather then break and be smooth and shinny. You can use the dough now or store it
in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To make eclairs, fill a pasty bag fitted with a star tip and pipe 12 - 4 inch strips spaced at least
one inch apart. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees rotate the pan, place a wooden spoon in the oven to prop the door open and bake for about 18 to twenty minutes longer, or until they are nutty brown.
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped. Or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, softened
1. Place the milk 1/4 cup of the sugar, the vanilla,(use the bean if you can) in a non aluminum
sauce pan and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, sift the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, flour and the salt together.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the eggs and whisk until fluffy.
4. Once the milk comes to a simmer add one ladle to the egg mixture and whisk. this is to temper
the eggs so that they do not curdle.
5. once 1/2 cup of the milk is incorporated add remaining egg mixture to the milk and return to the stove top.
6. Rapidly whisk the pastry cream. The mixture should start to thinken within one minute.
Continue to whisk until it has the consistency of pudding.
7. Strain the pasty cream though a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Add the butter and stir until
it is incorporated. Cover the top with plastic wrap, directly on the cream
It can be cooled to room temp and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Melt one cup of the best chocolate you can get.
Cut the eclairs in half and dip the top half into the melted chocolate.
Place in a refrigerator until the chocolate hardens
Pipe the pastry cream onto the bottom of the eclair and place the top of the eclair on the pastry cream. Eat immediately! Or if you have more self control then I do you can hold them completed they can hold refrigerated for 4 hours.