Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chocolate Eclairs & Profiteroles (Cream Puffs)

According to Wikipedia, an éclair is an oblong pastry made with choux paste dough filled with a cream and topped with icing. The dough, which is the same as that used for profiterole, is typically piped into an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until it is crisp and hollow inside. Once cool, the pastry is then filled with a vanilla, coffee or chocolate flavoured custard (crème pâtissière), or with whipped cream; and then iced with fondant icing. The icing is sometimes caramel, in which case the dessert may be called a "bâton de Jacob".
The éclair originated during the nineteenth century in France where it was called "pain à la duchesse" or "petite duchesse" until 1850. It is a popular type of cake served all over the world. The word is first attested both in English and in French in the 1860s. The first known English-language recipe for éclairs appears in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln, published in 1884.

The dough for the éclairs and profiteroles is the same.
This is a modified version of the recipe we used in class in Baking Arts and George Brown College.

Choux Paste Dough
Water                  500 ml
Butter                  250 g
Salt                     10 g
Bread Flour         370 g
Eggs                    12

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Place water, butter and salt into a sauce pot and bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Add flour to the mixture and cook until the paste (roux) is formed, about 1 minute. It should come away clear from the side of the pot and leave a white film on the bottom.
  4. Transfer the dough to a bowl of an electric mixer. Mix the dough on medium and count the 20 to allow the mixture to cool.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each egg until the next one is added. Scrape down the side of the bowl occasionally.
  6. Add milk IF NECESSARY to adjust the consistency of the choux paste. The correct consistency may be defined as being stiff enough to form stiff peaks, yet soft enough to start spreading while still luke warm.
  7. Using a piping bag with a plain tip (for the éclairs) and a piping bag with a star tip (for the profiteroles) pipe out the dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. The éclairs should be about 3" in length and the profiteroles should be the size of a toonie.
  8. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
Here are some Video Tutorials for piping éclairs and profiteroles.

Chocolate Eclairs & Profiteroles
  1. Once your éclairs and profiteroles have cooled, cut off the top thirds of both and place the to side.
  2. For the éclairs, dip the tops in pourable fondant* and allow to cool.
  3. Using a piping bag with a star tip, pipe a generous amount of whipped cream onto the bottoms of both the éclairs and profiteroles and replace the tops. 
  4. Dust the profiteroles with icing sugar, and serve.
*To top the éclairs we used a pourable fondant and added chocolate fudge. Here is a recipe if you want to make your own pourable fondant.

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