Eclairs

I was in need of something yummy yesterday. And when I say yummy I mean REALLY yummy. OOZING with yummy-ness. Decadently yummy. Do you get the idea? Boring old cookies or something like that just weren't going to cut it, I needed something amazing. But I don't have huge reserves of energy right now (and I'm just lazy) so it had to be something that wasn't going to require a large amount of effort. Or a trip to the store. Ethan helped me swim through mountains of cookbooks and ideas and we finally decided that these would be the perfect thing. And OH BOY were they ever!
What you need:
Pudding (we used this recipe to make our own, but you could use the boxed stuff) or Pastry Cream
   
*For the eclairs:
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
4-5 eggs
*For the chocolate glacé icing
3 squares (3 oz) semi sweet baking chocolate, melted in 1 1/2 TBS water
3 cups confectioner's sugar, SIFTED
3-4 TBS water

What you do:
Make your pudding/pastry cream first and get it started chilling in the fridge.

For the eclairs:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Sift the flour and salt together into a small bowl or onto a piece of waxed paper. Put the water and butter into a fairly large saucepan, bring to a boil, and when bubbling, remove from the heat. Immediately pour in the flour/salt. Beat vigorously for a few seconds until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan to form a ball.
Cool the mixture about 5 minutes, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. If the eggs are large, break the last one into a bowl and beat with a fork. Add this egg slowly to the pastry dough to ensure that it remains firm and keeps its shape--all of this last egg may not be needed, depending on the consistency of the dough.
Beat the dough for 1-2 minutes until it's glossy and very smooth.
Put the dough into a pastry bag (I just use a large ziplock bag and cut off the tip of one corner) with a 1/2 plain tip. Pipe the dough fairly far apart onto a dampened baking sheet in 3 in lengths (I don't know why they have you dampen the baking sheet. It didn't prevent the pastries from sticking, next time I'm going to try just spraying the pan with cooking spray).
Bake for 10 minutes in the heated oven, then raise the temp to 425 degrees and continue baking for 15 minutes. When the eclairs are firm and crisp, prick the sides to release the steam and cool on a wire rack. Slit them open along one side.Fill the eclairs with the pudding, making sure the entire length is filled, preferably using a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip (again, I used a plastic baggie). 
Dip the tops of the eclairs in the icing (recipe to follow) and return to wire rack to set (I didn't dip mine, I just spooned the icing over the tops, it seemed less messy). These were good warm, but we decided we liked them best chilled. 
For the chocolate glacĂ© icing:
In a pan over gentle heat, melt the chocolate pieces in the water, stirring until it's smooth (Remember how I said I didn't want to have to go to the store? I didn't have baking chocolate, so I just threw in three medium size handfuls of semi sweet chocolate chips, and it worked fine). Take from heat and beat in the sugar. Add enough water to make a thick cream. Heat the icing over a pan of hot water until warm to the touch--it should coat the back of a spoon. If it's too thick, add a little more water; if too thin, beat in more sugar.

Now, I do have to warn you that I have a terrible time getting my pastry to come out uniform. There are often several of them that have holes or deformations that make them unfit for filling. Also, my oven has a thing against heating to and staying at the temp you've chosen so my first pan of these didn't cook right. So, I took the ones that would work and filled/frosted them the conventional way, but the rest didn't go to waste. I put a layer of the pastries in a dish, then poured the leftover pudding over the top of them. I added another layer of pastries and topped with the remaining frosting. I ended up with an eclair casserole tiramisu lasagna cake pie thing that was REALLY yummy, though not beautiful. None of the ugly pastries got wasted and I have WAY more good stuff to fatten myself up with. That's a win for everyone!

1 comment

  1. That basic pastry is so good for all kinds of things. We also like it in large rounds, with a chicken salad kind of filling, as well as chocolate pudding.

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