Their challenge for us was the Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé with the following specifications:
- The dough used for the eclairs must be a pâte à choux from Pierre Hermé
- Keep one chocolate element in the challenge. Choose which chocolate element you want to keep. Then feel free to mix and match flavors to the base recipe.
I decided that since this is my first Daring Bakers Challenge I wasn't going to deviate. I elected to make both the chocolate pastry cream and the chocolate glaze. However, I have extra dough piped and in the freezer so I'm going to bake them and fill with vanilla pastry cream (I think I'll use Dorie Greenspan's vanilla pastry cream from Baking: From My Home to Yours).
I'll discuss in the order I made everything because I'll get confused otherwise. (hey, I have four kids five and under - I barely have a brain)
The Chocolate Sauce - this was really easy to make: chocolate, water, cream and sugar - boil, stir constantly, reduce heat, continue to stir until thickens. Easy peasy. My sauce separated some and I'm not sure what the deal was there - I don't *think* I overheated it; but this was the first time I'd made chocolate sauce, so I may have. It didn't taste burned or anything. :::shrug:::
The Chocolate Glaze - this one got me in trouble on Sunday morning because...um...well, my husband got up Sunday morning and wondered why the kitchen was so hot. I'd left the burner on all night long!!!! ACK! Thankfully our house didn't burn down. Since it called for 7 tablespoons of the chocolate sauce, I had to deal with the separation a little bit. More annoying than anything else - didn't seem to affect the taste and when I glazed the eclairs, they looked fine.
The Chocolate Pastry Cream - I managed to not scramble all of the yolks (yay!) I had a teeny bit of scrambling when I strained the mixture - hey, look ma! I can temper eggs (another thing Martha Stewart always intimidated me by doing). Brad had to help me because Harrison was flipping out and I had to calm him, plus get the chocolate melted (duh!). He did a great job of getting it to the point that it was ready for the ice water bath. This stuff...deadly yummy!
The Pâte à Choux - I'm not sure why I'd always let Martha intimidate me about pâte à choux - honestly, it wasn't difficult at all! It came together wonderfully and piped well, too. However, I've learned an important lesson - when you have a 2 year-old who likes to pull the knobs off the stove - make certain that when hubby puts them back on - he does it correctly. Translation - when you turn it to BAKE - make sure the BROILER isn't on. (duh!) I realized the error about 4 minutes in to the baking time and corrected it. It didn't seem to affect the choux all that much. It puffed wonderfully but the "broiled" ones got a little darker (not too dark, though).
Ready to eat...
The girls and Brad each tried an eclair before we left for Care Group and they declared them "delicious" (or, as Nin says "Dee-yi-shush!"). Everyone at Care Group said they were really good and several people had more than one. I came home with an empty platter. I'm glad I was able to have a little extra dough so I piped about a dozen more (this makes me think I didn't pipe the original ones "fat" enough) and they're in the freezer ready to bake!