It all started with me wanting to make an Éclair Cake. As I started piping out the little quarter sized domes, then the logs, and then some more logs with the pate a choux… I decided I was going to make the Classic Éclairs first, and then see if I have the time to continue with the cake.. I still think the idea that I have for the éclair cake is pretty amazing and I will do it one of these days, just not today. But I will share how to make these delicious pastries as well as the pretty crystallized mint leaves, so read on!
There are two types of custards that you can fill éclairs with and this time I went with the non gelatinized one, since I figured that most people don’t have unflavored gelatin just laying around the house, but definitely do have some white flour.
By the way, do you know what the difference between an éclair and profiterole is? They taste the same, are made with the same ingredients, but why the different name? It’s all in the shape. The round shaped, custard filled pate a choux pastries are called profiteroles and the log shaped are called éclairs.
Adapted from “Chocolate Desserts” by Pierre Herme
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ cups sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean emulsion
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ stick butter
- ½ cup (125g) whole milk
- ½ cup (125g) water
- 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter,
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 oz chocolate, chopped
- ⅔ stick butter
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
Mint Leaf Decorations
- Mint leaves, washed, dried
- 1 egg white
- pinch of salt
- Whisk the egg yolks & sugar and flour together in a large bowl, add a little bit of milk if mixture it too thick and difficult to whisk.
- Bring milk to a boil.
- Slowly pour the milk into the egg yolk mixture, continuously whisking. This is called ‘tempering the yolks’.
- Pour the mixture back into the pot and bring to a boil, continuously stirring and going along the bottom of the pot in zigzag motion with a rubber spatula, to prevent scorching. It WILL stick if you stop.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the vanilla extract & butter. Allow the butter to melt and stir for it to incorporate.
- Cover the custard with plastic wrap it touches the custard. To speed up the process you can transfer the custard into a jelly-roll pan, spread it thin, covering with plastic wrap will avoid skin formation. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Fit a pastry bag with plain ⅓ inch tip nozzle and drape the bag over a large glass.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Whisk the eggs together.
- In a heavy bottom saucepan combine, milk, water, butter, sugar & salt. Bring to a boil.
- Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add the flour all at once, reduce heat to medium and start mixing the dough with a wooden spoon vigorously. Continue doing so for another 2-3 minutes to evaporate some of the moisture.
- Transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and start stirring the dough on medium speed for 1-2 minutes to cool it down slightly.
- Add the eggs to the mixture in 4-5 additions, each time allowing the mixer to incorporate the eggs fully before adding more. The dough might separate at first, but it will come back together as you continue stirring and adding more eggs. The mixture should be thick but still fall off the paddle attachment in a thick ribbon. You might not add all eggs before this happens. It is ok.
- Transfer the warm dough to the piping bag and pipe out 2-3 inch logs, about 2 inches apart. Place the first baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375F and continue baking until golden in color, about 25 minutes. DO NOT open the door before the éclairs are golden, they will deflate.
- Keep the other sheet with piped logs in the freezer or refrigerator until the first sheet is out of the oven.
- Allow the éclairs to cool.
- Combine all ingredients in a heatproof bowl, set over a pot of simmering water. Bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.
- Warm up the mixture and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring it occasionally. Do not overheat. The mixture should only be warm, not hot.
- Take off the heat and allow the chocolate to completely melt, stirring it every couple of minutes until chocolate melts.
Mint Leaf Decoration
- Wash and dry thoroughly each leaf.
- Set egg whites in a heatproof bowl, over simmering water and heat, stirring continuously until 140 degrees, or pretty hot to the touch.
- Allow the egg whites to cool.
- Dip each leaf into the egg whites, allowing most of the egg whites to drip off. The leaves should only be damp with egg white.
- Dredge each leaf in the sugar on both sides and set on a paper towel or a cooling rack for sugar to harden up.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain ¼ inch star/plain tip with custard.
- Fill each éclair with custard by inserting the tip into the top of the pastry in 3 places, closer to both ends and in the middle, and squeezing the custard in until it almost starts to come out. Wipe off excess. Leave for 15 minutes for the skin to form in the places where you inserted the custard.
- Carefully, dip top of each éclair into the chocolate glaze.
- Top with 1 mint leaf as a decoration.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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