Booo another overcast weekend in Vancouver and no doubt with rain coming. I have been baking lots lately on an certain pastry. Continuously trying and retrying, researching and researching some more, I finally have some luck with this elusive pastry. Sssssshhhhhh what is this pastry? A pastry that is a welcomed addition to most pastry shops in Vancouver. When done properly they are wonderfully light as air on the outside and usually encased with a perfect creamy middle. What is this pastry? The eclair of course. That is right I love making and eating cream puffs.
Comprehensive Research and Tips:
Tips can be found here as well.
-bread flour is considered the better choice when making eclairs because it has more proteins in it allowing it to hold its from when baking.
-on a simmer at medium heat mix milk/water and butter until combined and melted. Remove from heat and then add the flour. To avoid lumps sift the flour, sugar and salt.
-cook the dough until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot and forms a ball
-you want to get as much moisture out of the flour dough so cook the dough and stir until you see a film at the bottom of the pot
–Keller mentioned to further mix the dough for another 30 seconds to evaporate as much moisture once off the heat
-add eggs to the choux only when the dough has cooled as the heat will cook the eggs. When adding the eggs, in the beginning, it will look like scrambled eggs but the dough will come together
–pastry school instructor instructed to fold the eggs into the mixture to create pockets of air
-the dough should be soft and paste like and not runny. If it is too wet, when baking, the eclair will not rise properly, spread out and remain flat thus at your discretion add the eggs one at a time and check the consistency of the dough. It may need more eggs or less eggs.
-the dough is ready when you wet a finger and run it through the dough and it forms a soft through that peaks but holds its shape
-pipe at 45 degree angle and maintain pressure through out the pipping
-Once pipped spray water on the choux pastry to create steam. Steam helps the choux to rise
–Aoki suggested instead of putting egg wash on the choux paste, sift icing sugar on the eclair for an extra crunch
-depending on the caliber of your oven bake at a high temperature to puff them up and gradually lower the temperature to dry them out. Both Herme and Keller suggested around the 375 to 390 degree ranges.
-the choux must be thoroughly baked, if the sides of the walls are moist, when removed from oven, the steam will condense back into water and the still-wet walls will recoil. This will cause the choux pastry to collapse/ and flattened itself. To avoid this mishap use a toothpick or knife and make a incision in the eclairs so they can dry out properly.
The eclair is quite versatile as it can take on all sorts of fillings but for me I was always fascinated by Sadaharu Aoki’s creations especially his matcha eclair. Matcha eclair it is.
Kellers Pate a Choux
All purpose flour ( I used bread flour) 175 g
Granulated sugar 33 g
Water 240 g ( I used combination of milk and water at 1/2 each)
Unsalted Butter 120 g
Salt 2.5 g
Eggs 250 g ( I used 6 eggs and half recipe at 3 eggs)
Matcha Pastry Cream
500 ml Milk
100 g sugar (increase sugar to your taste as the matcha is bitter)
40 g corn starch
3 g matcha
2 piece egg yolks
.5 piece vanilla bean
Result: The choux pastry was light and airy. They had risen quite nicely and made it able to pipe the pastry cream into it. My research and findings finally paid off. The Matcha had a strong taste and complimented the whipped cream. Thank You for all the tips from fellow bakers!!!!