My husband found cream without additives at the Farmer’s Market. I was planning on making ice cream, but then I came down with the flu. When I was finally up and better I decided to make eclairs.
My mom used to make eclairs when we were little. I don’t have her recipe, but I found one in Better Homes and Gardens: Old-Fashioned Home Baking.
It’s a 5-step process, but simple, trust me – if I can do it anyone can.
1. Prepare Cream Puff Pastry 2. Prepare Pastry Cream 3. Bake 4. Make Chocolate Glaze 5. Assemble
1. Prepare Cream Puff Pastry or Choux
In a medium saucepan combine 1 stick of butter, 1 cup water and a 1/4 tsp of salt. Bring to boil. Stir until butter melts. Add 1 cup flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until it forms a ball. My ball was kind of lumpy but it turned out ok. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes (set a timer).
After cooling for 10 minutes, add 4 eggs – one at a time. Beat with a wooden spoon for about a minute until smooth and slightly sticky. Add another egg and repeat.
2. Prepare Pastry Cream
In a heavy medium saucepan stir together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and 1/4 tsp salt. Slowly stir in 2 cups of cream (the recipe says light, I just used whole cream). Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Cook and stir 1 more minute.
Stir about 1 cup of the mixture into 4 slightly beaten egg yolks (you can use the egg whites to make macaroons). Add this back into the cream mixture. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and cool.
Fold 1/2 cup whipped cream into cooled pastry cream, then chill well.
Or — like my mom, prepare a box of Jello Vanilla pudding and fold 1/2 cup of Cool Whip into the pudding. Chill.
3. Bake the Pastry
I made both cream puffs and eclairs. It’s the same method just different shapes.
Preheat oven to 400/F
Grease 2 baking sheets.
Cream Puffs: Drop choux by heaping tablespoons into mounds, 3 inches apart.
Eclairs: Spoon dough into decorating bag with a large plain round tip. Pipe strips of dough 3 inches apart, about 4 1/2 inches long, 1 inch wide and 3/4 inch high. (This is where my Addled brain calls my husband in to eyeball the measurements, it’s all Greek to me – and he’s greek!). Then when the tip bursts through the bag making a mess, just fudge it.
Bake in a 400 degree oven about 30 minutes or till golden brown and puffy. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
4. Make Chocolate Glaze
I didn’t have the necessary ingredients for this. I just melted some dark chocolate chips in a double boiler and stirred in a little milk and some sugar to my taste.
Cut off top of each pastry. Remove any soft dough from inside.
Spoon about 1/4 cup of the chilled pastry cream into each cream puff or eclair. Dip the tops of the eclairs into the chocolate glaze. Replace tops. You can chill them for up to 2 hours.
Before serving, lightly sift powdered sugar over tops of the cream puffs.
These were delicious. I couldn’t stop eating them. I had one of each for lunch, then served them again after dinner for dessert. The boy didn’t like them (what is wrong with him?). So I ate his too. Yes, I ate four in one day (2 cream puffs, 2 eclairs). The next day I had another one and finished off the leftover cream.
I had plenty of leftover cream, so I think next time I will halve the recipe for the cream. I am storing unfilled shells in the freezer in a plastic ziploc bag. They can be stored for 1-2 months. To thaw, let them stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes.
I think it would be better for me to half the cream recipe, make the shells, freeze the leftover shells. Then at another time thaw the shells and make a new batch of cream. Just thinking it may curb my gluttony.
recipes from Better Homes and Gardens: Old-Fashioned Home Baking pp. 262-265