Sunday, August 31, 2008

My First Daring Bakers Challenge

This is my first daring bakers challenge. I finally bit the bullet and joined. And I was very excited to find out what it was going to be. When it was Eclairs I can say that I was less than excited and excited at the same time. You see I don't like filled donuts at all, its a consistency thing, I don't like pudding either. But I have also never made cream puffs and I have always wanted to and never quite forced myself too. I think that batter and the cream puffs themselves are so versatile. So after making my first batch I now want to try to make them again. And I will say that I ate a whole small eclair and did enjoy its chocolately flavor. I am looking forward to the next challenge and I hope that I can keep up with the challenges.

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.
Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.
Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.
Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature


In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.
Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.
Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.
Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth. Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 6 tbsp (110 g) of Nutella

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Stirring gently, stir in the Nutella.


19 comments:

  1. Beautiful job! Wish I had used Nutella ;)

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  2. Yummy! Congrats on your first challenge! Love those photos!

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  3. Welcome! I agree with you - I'm not a fan of filled donuts, but these are a step above. Awesome job on your first challenge as a Daring Baker!

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  4. Bravo!! You did great on your first challenge... Way to go!!

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  5. Congratulations on completing your first DB Challenge!

    You did a great job and you liked them too!

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  6. Welcome aboard! And you did a fabulous job too. Your chocolate cream is so rich looking...yum!

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  7. Welcome to the daring bakers! Your eclairs look great =D

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  8. Looks wonderful, and I love your putting Nutella (aka Grocery Store Crack) in the glaze!

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  9. Congrats on a first challenge VERY well done. It was my first challenge too, and I wish I would have thought of Nutella or anything hazelnut and chocolate. Your eclairs are making me drool at almost 3am in the morning. :)

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  10. Wonderful photos, they look great. And with nutella, I bet they tasted amazing!

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  11. Oh nutella what a brilliant idea! Beautiful.

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  12. Congratulations on your first DB challenge. Your eclairs look great. Glad to hear you were able to choke one down - it's okay if you don't like them - the rest of us will finish them for you.

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  13. Oh yeah..I am sooo very gald you joined. And you did a wonderful job on your first challange!!
    Love the cream puffs!

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  14. The nutella glaze is an inspired choice! Yum!

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  15. heck of a debut, katie! and the use of nutella--brilliant! :)

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  16. Your eclairs look delicious. Way to go on your first DB challenge. Keep up the good work!

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  17. Congrats! I've been thinking of joining the Daring Bakers but I don't think I'm that daring!

    Your eclairs and cream puffs came out great!
    ~ingrid

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  18. Great job!! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!!

    Apu

    http://annarasaessenceoffood.blogspot.com/

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  19. Welcome to the Daring bakers! You did great on your first challenge and I'm sure you'll keep it up! And you've used Nutella, yum!!!!!!!!!!!

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