Life after the holidays is slowly returning to normal, thankfully! School is back in session today and I have my life back. Now don't ask me why but I spent all of Saturday evening craving éclairs so I cracked open my brand new Anna Olson cookbook and quickly found her recipe. As luck would have it I had all the ingredients on hand so I got to work!
Okay, so I'm not sharing any "during" photos of these éclairs because, in all honesty they were dreadful. I mean seriously! I was dying laughing at just how badly I had piped them. I'm a big fan of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, and Worst Bakers in America and let me tell you, if these éclairs were the only thing you'd ever seen me make you'd have raced to sign me up! But luckily appearance isn't everything. I managed to recover and have them taste way better than they looked. So if your piping skills are as bad as mine hang in there and know that a healthy coating of chocolate hides most of the flaws.
On that note this may be a good time to mention my New Year's Resolution... more cake! Not just more cake, but more new things. I need to branch out and try to bake/cook things I'm not familiar with. I spend a lot of time looking through cookbooks but at the end of the day I always end up making the same old meals because they're quick and easy (when you've made the same thing a million times it's hard to mess it up). But this year I need to change that. I hope you'll come along for the ride! I'll share my successes and likely a few messes. Along with this goes my vow to work on my piping skills, hence the need for more cake. Wish me luck! Don't forget to visit me on Instagram to see how things are going.
Yes there are many steps involved in making these éclairs but none of them are particularly difficult and the result is definitely worth it!
Chocolate Éclairs (adapted from Anna Olson)
1 C milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
3 large egg yolks
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3/4 C milk
3/4 C water
10 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 2/3 C all-purpose flour
5 eggs, at room temperature
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 C unsalted butter
1 tbsp corn syrup
For Pastry Cream:
Heat milk with the vanilla bean seeds in a medium pot over medium heat until just below a simmer.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch.
Place the butter in a separate bowl with a strainer overtop.
When milk is just below a simmer very slowly whisk into the egg mixture (not too fast or you'll scramble your eggs - keep whisking constantly!) Return this to the pot and whisk constantly over medium heat until thick and glossy, about 2 mins. Pour immediately into the strainer over the butter, push the mixture through and whisk in the butter.
Place plastic wrap tight to the top of the custard and allow to cool to room temp then place in the fridge to chill fully.
Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt to a full simmer in a large pot. Once you've hit a simmer reduce the heat to low and stir in the flour. Stir vigorously until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the pot. Place this into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and beat on medium for a couple of minutes to cool it just a bit.
Break 2 eggs into a small dish and lightly whisk together. Add these to the stand mixer and beat on medium until well blended. One by one add the remaining eggs, making sure they're fully incorporated before you add the next.
While still warm place into your choice of piping bag (proper bag with tip or Ziplock with corner cut out) and pipe onto parchment lined baking sheets. You want roughly 4" long and 1.5" wide "sticks."
Bake at 400F for 10 minutes and then reduce the temp to 375F and continue to bake another 20 mins (or until light in weight and a nice golden brown). Allow to cool fully on the pan before filling and coating.
Place chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a bowl over simmering water. Melt and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Remove from heat and use immediately.
When you have all the different parts ready to go it's time to assemble. Give the pastry cream a stir to loosen it up and place in a pastry bag fitted with a "donut tip" or a medium plain tip. Use a wooden skewer to poke a hole in the end of each éclair and pipe in the cream until they feel heavy and you're met with some resistance (alternatively cut the éclairs open lengthwise and pipe or spread filling into one half and then close). Once you've piped your éclair dip the top into your chocolate glaze and place back onto the sheet pan to set. Allow to set for an hour before serving or storing.
I would love to see what you've been baking so be sure to tag your Instagram photos with #ragebake !