Well to go along with the theme I have taken up lately I will continue with the pastry posts. I assure you I do, upon occasion, eat meals, vegetables, fruits, and the like. Usually this is only because I have run out of pastry, however. Oh well – life is meant to be enjoyed! These eclairs are actually something I made while in Florida visiting Nick’s parents. It just took me a while to get the post all ready. I hope you don’t mind the tardiness 🙂 Trust me, it will be worth the wait. These were just perfect. The filling was a perfectly sweetened rich and gooey vanilla cream, the chocolate topping was as delicious as it was shiny, and the pastry was crisp and buttery. Seriously, I didn’t know I could love eclairs so much until I had these!
These are technically salambos which are mini eclairs. I like to think of them as fun size. Have a two or three… or ten! Bite size is way more fun and you don’t end up with pastry cream all over your fingers. I did find out though that when you make things miniature boys eat them up rather quickly. Nick and his cousins ate these the way a normal person would eat popcorn. They popped one after the other in their mouths so quick they couldn’t possibly have had time to chew! I suppose that is how you know you are appreciated as a chef… when the serving plate is empty.
These are not terribly difficult to make and they are so appreciated as a breakfast or mid-afternoon treat. You seem super fancy without having to work super hard which is my favorite way to be. These little treats are just the right amount of sweetness and go perfectly with a morning coffee and an afternoon espresso. The chocolate stays soft and a little sticky – just enough for good finger licking 🙂
To make eclairs you will first need to make a full batch of pâte à choux. Instead of piping it into small circles the way you would for cream puffs you instead pipe it into a long strip. Mine were about as long and wide as my thumb. You bake the choux just as you normally would and allow it to cool. After the choux is cool cut off the tops, fill with pastry cream, and dip each top in a bit of chocolate sauce and there you have it – most delicious breakfast ever. Just be careful to set one aside for yourself before leaving them unattended in a room – there may be none left when you get back!
Makes about 24 mini eclairs
1 finished batch, cooled to room temperature, Pâte à Choux
**Instead of piping them into small circles you will pipe them into oval shapes about the length and width of your thumb. Egg wash and bake as directed.
1 batch Pastry Cream (Recipe below)
1 batch Chocolate Sauce (Recipe below)
1) After you have completed the choux, pastry cream, and chocolate sauce you will assemble the salambo by carefully slicing each pastry length wise and removing the top. Fill the center with pastry cream and dip the top into the chocolate sauce before placing back on top of the pastry.
Pastry Cream Recipe
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
2 t. vanilla extract
2) Whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until the egg yolks become pale in color (see picture above). Slowly add in cornstarch 1 T. at a time while whisking.
3) Temper the egg yolk mixture to keep your eggs from scrambling. This is done by slowly pouring 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks while whisking. This brings up the temperature of the yolks so they can be added to the milk mixture. Continue whisking and add an additional 1/4 cup of the hot milk.
4) Pour the egg yolk mixture into the sauce pan with the remaining milk and whisk continuously over medium heat until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble. It should become the texture of pudding. Add in the vanilla and salt, stir, and remove from heat.
5) Pass through a fine mesh strainer or sieve into a glass or plastic bowl and cover with plastic wrap (the plastic wrap should lay directly on the top of the pastry cream to avoid forming a skin – you can spray the plastic wrap with cooking spray to avoid sticking) and refrigerate at least 2 hours but up to 7 days.
Chocolate Sauce Recipe
1) To make the chocolate sauce heat the cream and chocolate chips over barely simmering water stirring as necessary. Alternatively you can melt them together in the microwave at a medium setting stirring after each 30 second increment until fully melted
Hope you enjoy them!