Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé was the great challenge Meeta and Tony chose for us. Thank you both! The recipe came from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé written by Dorie Greenspan. As soon as I read the 2 words: Hermé and chocolate, I knew it was going to be good!
I love choux pastry, I specially like doing it by hand and felling the dough texture changing. This recipe called for éclairs (thin long pieces of choux) filled with dark chocolate pastry cream and glazed with a dark chocolate glaze. We could add other flavours as long as we kept one of the elements chocolatey!
Why add other flavours if we have chocolate, the greatest of all flavours? I've used only chocolate (dark & white) and created 4 different types of éclairs, in honor of my 4th month as a Daring Baker!
- White on white
- Black on Black
- White on black
- Black on white
- ½ cup (125g) whole milk
- ½ cup (125g) water
- 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the doughwill be very soft and smooth. Transfer the dough into a bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon. Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined bakingsheets using a pastry bag with a wide round tip.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs. Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. The original recipe says to put a wooden spoon on the door to keep it from closing, but I didn't do that, at this point I just lowered the temperature to 350ºF (180ºC). The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.
CHOCOLATE PASTRY CREAM (DARK & WHITE)
- 2 cups (500g) whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
- 7 oz (200g) chocolate melted (3.5 oz/100 gr Dark + 3.5 oz/100 gr White)
- 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz, 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided in 2
In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan. Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat). Divide mixture in 2 bowls and stir in the melted chocolates to each half. Set the bowls in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixtures at this point so that it remains smooth. Once the creams have reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments to each part. Return the creams to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry creams, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface if not using imediatly.
CHOCOLATE GLAZE (DARK & WHITE)
- 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream, divided in
- 3½ oz (100g) chocolate, finely chopped (1.8 oz/50 gr each of dark and white
- 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature, divided in
- 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature, divided in 2
Do each glaze separately. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce. It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made.
CHOCOLATE SAUCE (DARK & WHITE)
- 4½ oz (130 g) chocolate, finely chopped (2.3 oz/65 gr of each dark and white)
- 1 cup (250 g) water, divided in 2
- ½ cup (125 g) heavy cream, divided in 2
- 2 tbsp sugar (35 g) sugar (just for the dark chocolate one)
Do each one separated. Place all the ingredients (no sugar on the white chocolate one) into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens. It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.
Original recipe sayed to slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife, but I used a pastry bag with a long tip to fill the éclairs. I filled half of them with the dark chocolate pastry cream and the other half with the white chocolate pastry cream. If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water, stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. I then glazed half of each type of éclairs with the 2 different glazes, creating the 4 types. The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.
They were delicious! All of them! I though the all white would be too sweet and the all dark too heavy, but no! They were both really good! My favourite was the Dark on white, the one filled with white pastry cream and glazed in dark. Sorry Pierre, but that was the best!
Check the all the other éclairs here! See you in September!