Carnival, Mardi Gras, Fastelavn and Öskudagur are all different names for the days upon us. Children are wearing costumes, grown ups are throwing masquerade balls, people in south America shake their glittery behinds and cream puffs are served with the afternoon tea. I grew up eating simple puffs with jam and whipped cream, this year I decided to add a little elegance to my simple life and made French Éclairs. Éclairs are simple, oblong choux pastry filled with flavored custard or whipped cream. They are easy to make and absolutely delicious. Perfect dessert for this weekend’s dinner party!
My Éclairs are filled with Orange Custard and Vanilla Whipped cream, and I drizzled some melted chocolate, orange zest and powdered sugar on top for decoration. But you can fill them with everything you feel like, Liquorice, lime, coconut, pistachio caramel, coffee… be creative and follow your taste buds! Fun Fact: Savory fillings are becoming more and more popular and often seen on buffets or at partys serving finger food. NB: Choux pastry recipes are a little different than profiterole (cream puffs) so make sure you use the right one Choux Pastry for Éclairs – Makes 15 large Éclairs (Recipe from Bouchon Bakery) 2.5 dl (1 cup) Water 120 g (4.2 ounces) Unsalted butter (room temp) 1/2-1 tsp Salt 175 g (1 1/4 cups) Flour 35 g (2.5 tbs) Sugar 5 Eggs 1. Get your stand mixer ready with the paddle tool (K) 2. Sift the flour and mix with the suger, set aside 3. Combine water, butter and salt n a medium sauce pan. Place it over medium low heat and stir until butter is melted 4. When butter is melted turn the heat up and bring to a simmer, then remove from heat 5. Add the flour/sugar mix and stir until well combined and the mixture has a paste like consistency 6. Then place over medium heat and stir rapidly until the dough pulls away from the sides and the bottom of the pan is clean 7. Immediately transfer the dough to the mixer bowl and mix on low for 1 min to release little of the steam and heat 8. Start adding the eggs, one at a time, beating until every egg is completely absorbed 9. After all the eggs are added, beat on medium for 2 min 10. When the paddle is lifted the dough should form a bird’s beak – It should hold it’s shape and turn down over itself 11. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag and chill until completely cold. 12. Preheat the oven to 190°C 13. Make a piping template by drawing six 15 cm lines, 5 cm apart on parchment paper. Then place the templete under the parchment paper you will pipe on 14. With a large star tip pipe the éclairs, following the lines on the template 15. When the pastry is reaching it’s 15 cm, begin to lessen the pressure, and then stop it as you bring the dough back over itself, leaving a little curl at the end 16. Wet your finger and gently press down the tip of the curls 17. Spray the éclairs lightly with water 18. Place in the hot oven and immediately turn the heat down to 175°C 17. Bake for 40 min, rotating the pan half way through 18. Lower the temp to 160°C and bake for additional 20 min 19. Lower the temperature to 130°C and bake for 10 more minutes 20. Your puffs should now be light brown, light and hollow Orange Custard 3 dl (1 1/4 cups) Whole milk 1 tbs Orange zest (from aprox 2 oranges) 3 Egg Yolks 0.5 dl (1/4 cup) Sugar 1 tbs flour 2.5 tbs cornstarch 1 tbs Grand Mariner 1. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and orange zest over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam 2. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is completely smooth 3. Temper the eggs by adding a little bit of the warm milk and whisk constantly. Add little at a time until you have added half of the milk 4. Then pour the eggs/milk mix into the pan with the remaining hot milk 5. Heat it over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture reaches 75°C (170°F) and is very thick 6. Remove from heat and stir in Grand Mariner 7. Chill before piping into the Éclairs How to fill the Éclairs 1. Use a 0.4-0.6 cm plane tip 2. Poke 2 holes, 3.5 cm in from each end, into the bottom of each éclair 3. Fill a pastry bag with a custard of your choice 4. Place the tip of the pastry bag into one of the holes and begin filling the éclair 5. Pipe cream as needed into the second hole, or until the éclair feels heavy. 6. You should use ca 60 g (1/4 cup) of cream pr. pastry