Christmas Baking Project 1-Bouchon Bakery Pralined Eclairs

18 Dec

As you all may know from my previous post, there was a new addition to my baking book family :). That sounds weird now…but really I really love this book. I finally decided to purchase Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery Book and haven’t looked back eversince.  Prior to buying it, I would be caught at Chapters on a constant basis in the dessert section and like an ant to sugar, or bee to honey, I would be found combing through the delicious recipes of the book while restraining myself from devouring the pages like a savage beast.   Mmmmm, the recipes were to die for.  While intricately written, the recipes were easy to follow as there was an abundance of photographs and methodically written out.

What better time to practice those recipes than Christmas!!!

The second recipe that really caught my eye was the eclair with the pralined pecans and the chocolate sheet.  Boy oh boy were the photos mouth-watering.  Yes I am weak and can’t resist 🙂 but hey it was for a good cause and it will find a good place, in our tummies that is.   While reading the recipe carefully, I found that there was a subtle difference between the Bouchon recipe and other Choux Paste recipes.  Keller uses sugar in the choux paste batter.  He also suggested to cool the piped eclairs in the fridge prior to baking and spray them with water to encourage even rising.  At first I was like ???? then chemistry came to mind as I thought about expansion and steam.  Thus went right ahead in preparing the paste.  A french star tip was used to piped out the eclairs and then they were  inserted into the fridge for cooling.  This was how mine looked like.

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,Water was then  misted over the eclairs and baked in the oven at 380F for 18 minutes.  Please note:  Every oven is calibrated differently thus you may need to adjust the oven temperature and time.  I had to tweak mine by trial and error.  Watching them rise was exciting.  I guess the fridge and water played a significant part in the success of the eclairs.  Once the 18 minutes were up, I gradually decreased the temperature to approx 340F and baked the eclairs for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Again, I can’t emphasize that these were only guidelines.  The reduction in temperature allowed for the puffs to dry out while preventing them from being burnt.

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Next came the decorating and assembly of the eclairs.  First came the creme patisserie next came the chocolate tempering.  As an decorative twist, the tempered chocolate was spread over a stenciled design.  The dry caramel method was used and pecans were added to the caramelized sugar.  When the nuts were coated, they were allowed to cool down.  With the custard cooling, chocolate setting, I then whipped the cream.  Time for assembling.

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Pipped out the custard first and then placed the pecans on top of the custard.

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Pipped on some whipped cream on top of the pralined pecans and custard.

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Next came the chocolate rectangles.

Overall, I was quite happy about the result of the eclairs; in my opinion they looked stunning.  Course, fillings could be changed and fruits could be added but nothing tastes more devine than a freshly baked light as air eclair.  As for the recipe…you could find tonnes of eclair recipes on the internet…just need to try them and tweak them to your own preference.

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