sweets for every tooth.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Up In Eclairs

The Oscars were last weekend, and who am I to throw an Oscar party without Oscar-themed desserts? Sadly, it was thrown together so last minute that I didn't pull out my camera to chronicle the making of each dessert, but I did snap a few of my eclairs, or should I say, Up In Eclairs. I know, I know, I'm too clever for words. It wasn't all my idea though, but I will take some credit. These were super simple to make and a real crowd-pleaser. I made two fillings: frozen chocolate and vanilla bean. Both were delicious, but I must say the fan favorite was the frozen chocolate. Recipe makes about 30 eclairs, more or less depending on the size you make them. Here's what you'll need:

Pastry Shell

1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
4 Eggs

1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the butter and salt, stirring until melted. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. It'll be a big ol' clump, so you'll know when it's ready.

3. Remove from heat and transfer dough to the bowl of your mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth.

4. Using a spoon and floured hands, drop dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto a baking sheet.

5. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 Degrees. Reduce heat to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for an aditional 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before filling.

Frozen Chocolate Filling

6 oz Semi-Seet Chocolate Chips (I probably added 10oz, I love my chocolate)
1 (14oz) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated, not unsweetened, any brand works)
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Whipping Cream, stiffly whipped

1. In a large bowl, melt chocolate chips. Beat in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until well blended. Chill for 15 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Store in freezer until ready to fill eclairs.

Vanilla Bean Filling

2 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean, halved lengthwise
6 egg yolks
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Pinch of Salt

1. Place milk, half the sugar and the whole vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

2. Combine egg yolks and remaining sugar in a bowl and whisk until light in color. Add in flour and salt, mixing to combine.

3. When milk just begins to boil, remove from heat and remove vanilla bean. Slowly dribble hot milk into the yolk mixture, stirring constantly. When you've poured about half of the hot milk mixture in, place all of the yolk mixture into the saucepan over medium heat. (In case you got lost, everything except the butter is now in the saucepan.) Using a spatula or shisk, mix the cream as it heats, making sure to reach all edges of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Mixture will become very thick and custard-like.

4. Remove custard from the heat and add butter, stirring until completely melted and combined. You can now strain the custard if there are any lumps, but it's not necessary. Pour into a bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the custard. Store in fridge until ready to fill eclairs (make sure it's entirely cooled before filling).

Filling the Eclairs

1. Once your eclairs and fillings are prepared and cooled, cut a small slit in the side of each eclair. They should practically fall open on their own, so this part shouldn't be too difficult.

2. Using a spoon or a pastry bag, spoon or squeeze a healthy amount of filling into each eclair.

3. Serve immediately, or as quickly as you can. The moisture in the filling will start to make the pastry a little mushy if you wait too long to eat these guys.

What other desserts did I make for the Oscars, you may ask? Well, though I cannot show them, I will list to tickly your creativity and imagination: Blackberry Avatarts, Inglorious Custards, and An Educational Shortbread Blocks (square cookies painted with letters, like those blocks you used to play with as a kid!).

1 comment:

Margaret said...

holy yum!!!! WOW! caity, i know i've said this a million times, but i SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT to come see you and bake with you! these look like they were absolutely delicious.