Sunday, August 31, 2008


Well it's been another month and I really can't believe that this is my 6th challenge with the Daring Bakers. I still feel like such a newbie!! And yet this challenge didn't kick my ass for once- maybe it's because I was back home for 2 weeks and had free range on my mother's supped up kitchen or maybe it's because I was lucky enough to do the challenge with Jeremy, who is well versed in the Science of baking- because baking IS a science and I just can't be bothered to keep up.

So this month we were given the task of making eclairs based on the recipe by Pierre Herme; baking god, revered by us mere mortals. Although I love baking, I'm not really a fan of patisseries. Maybe I'm just not a fan of pate a choux. I can remember the cake my grandmother special ordered for my communion- a ridiculous folly of pate a choux with caramelized sugar strands and marzipan. something like this. It's called a Croquembouche and incorporates almost every baking element I don't like. But enough about things I don't like! Let's move onto things I loooove- like the coffee pastry cream we made. And how delicious these eclairs became after a night in the fridge! Have you pulled out your baking essentials yet? Because I'm ready to make these all over again. Ready? Let's go-
Let's start with the Pate a Choux which you make in a saucepan! You then put it in an electric mixer (praise the heavens for my mother's Kitchen Aid) and add 5 eggs- one at a time.

Once you've made your dough, you're supposed use some pastry bags to pipe out the eclairs' shape. We didn't have the pastry bags but we had the tips! So we settled for a Ziploc bag.

I'd say that it worked pretty well:

This little number made me feel very professional. It's in the recipe, folks!

All lined up...

Now at some point during the baking, Jeremy and I will have made the coffee pastry cream and the chocolate sauce to use in the chocolate ganache (and this annoyed more than a little bit... a recipe for something to use in another ingredient which itself is ALREADY an ingredient for the overall recipe is ridiculous. I'm not sure if you followed that but I saw the chocolate ganache as the square root of the eclairs....(i don't think that makes things any clearer)) Moving on....
Look! Delicious coffee pastry cream!

And here are the tops after being drizzled with that super-special-multi-multi-step chocolate ganache:

And the money shot-

And I know I've already said this- but the recipe says to serve immediately and I thought these were EXPONENTIALLY better the next day. Honestly when I tried one immediately after finishing them, I wasn't too impressed and kept thinking "I can't believe I spent all that time and effort making something so 'meh'!". So if you don't love them right away- let them mature overnight. I promise you won't regret it!


  1. All I can say as a happy recipient of this baking effort is you didn't make enough. These Eclairs were wonderful and ohhhh that coffee cream, heavenly.

  2. Reminds me of the time I packed flour, butter, the mixer, etc. into the car and went to our weekend island cabin to learn to make puff pastry -- alone! I came out of it covered w/flour but with delicious product, however, as good as it was, it was not a whit better than our best French pastry shop! But, I now know HOW to do it, which makes me wonder why we are driven to such things sometimes???