Éclairs have been on my mental baking bucket list for a long time. They are so beautiful to look at, and even more delicious to eat! The only problem is that they look incredibly hard to make, right?
If there's one thing I've learned from my late night baking adventures, it's that just because a dessert is fancy looking, doesn't necessarily mean that you need a pastry degree to pull it off. What if I told you that these are actually easy to make and not very time consuming?
Let's look more closely at these beauties. Éclairs are made from a choux dough, the same that is used to make beignets, churros and cream puffs. The only ingredients are butter, water, flour, salt and eggs. That's it! The key to this pastry dough is to stir the ingredients together in a saucepan using high heat. This makes the dough really high in moisture and will later make it 'puff' in the oven. You also want to start baking them at a higher temperature, only to lower it after about half of the cooking time. This makes a beautiful crust and creates a little vacuum in the middle of the pastry. A vacuum that will later be filled with all sorts of yumminess.
I made three different kinds of éclairs. The first one is filled with a home made nutella, covered with a dark chocolate glaze, and topped with a gold leaf that I made out of fondant and dusted with a gold luster dust. The second éclair is filled with lemon curd and topped with a torched Italian Meringue. The third is filled with a vanilla custard (or Mousseline), topped with a sugar glaze, and decorated with a few dried rose bud petals. Of course, you can always use jam or store-bought nutella as a filling.
There are different ways to fill an éclair. Some people cut the pastry length-wise, pipe the filling onto the lower part, and then put the top part back on. I made three small, evenly-spaced holes underneath and piped the filling into them. It doesn't leave any visible marks, but makes sure you get some filling with every bite, which is exactly what you want!
To frost them, simply make your glaze, gently dip the top of the éclair, and let set.
You will find the recipe for the choux dough below. If you want some tips on fillings, check out this chocolate buttercream recipe and this vanilla custard. Or you can just have fun with flavors and be creative!
Jag har länge velat prova att baka éclairs, men har alltid tyckt att det sett svårt ut. Det visade sig däremot vara både enkelt och snabbt! Éclairs är gjorda på chouxdeg som blandas samman på en varm spisplatta och sedan bakas på först hög, och sedan låg värme i ugn. Detta gör att de blir härligt spröda på utsidan, men mjuka och ihåliga på insidan. Till sist fylls de med en god kräm av något slag och toppas med glasyr. Jag gjorde tre varianter - en variant var fylld med egengjord nutella, en annan med lemoncurd, och den tredje med vaniljkräm. Här följer ett gott recept på chouxdeg, som kan användas till att göra bland annat éclairs, petit choux eller churros. Lycka till!
1 cup (235 ml) water
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts completely. Reduce heat to low, and add flour and salt. Stir vigorously until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and begins to form a stiff ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate completely after each addition. With a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, spoon or pipe dough onto cookie sheet in 1 1/2 x 4 inch strips.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and bake 20 minutes more, until hollow sounding when lightly tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.