The end of the month means another Daring Bakers challenge. This month’s challenge is Pierre HermÃ©’s chocolate Ã©clairs, Ã©clairs filled with chocolate pastry cream and topped with a chocolate glaze.
Even though I’ve made Ã©clairs before (filled with lavender white chocolate mousse) I was still looking forward to making them again. I don’t own Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Desserts by Pierre HermÃ© but I do own her Desserts by Pierre HermÃ© and the recipe for the chocolate glaze is in that one too. It has been on my to-do list to try out. Usually I make a simpler chocolate glaze but this particular one is said to retain its shine…sounded interesting 🙂 Haven’t made it up till now because it’s more time consuming than the more regular chocolate glazes.
At first I wanted to play around with the flavours, make a raspberry pastry cream, stick with HermÃ©’s glaze and top with a raspberry. I even made the pastry cream last week but I was not satisfied with the colour and look of the pastry cream. I added raspberry puree for taste but also for colour but instead of pink it turned into a sort of brownish pink colour….not pretty. I didn’t want to use artificial colours to masquerade it either. Besides the ugly colour there were tiny bits of egg yolk visible. I guess I should have used the finemeshed sieve. The taste was very good though but I decided not to use it for the Ã©clairs. It was the first component I made so the rest was put on hold until yesterday. By that time I felt like staying true to the recipe and only needed some kind of pretty decoration. Gilded marzipan balls sounded good, only I wasn’t able to gild the balls completely so the orange marzipan that was left over from Rein’s birthday was showing through. I felt I needed to somehow match that to the Ã©clair and ended up adding some orange essentail oil to the chocolate glaze (I added Â¼ ts). That way the orange colour was more part of a whole.
The glaze was easy to make though a bit time consuming with making a chocolate sauce first. At first I wasn’t sure the sauce was going to work because the chocolate didn’t melt completely. But after heating and stirring for 15 minutes it turned out beautifully. And although I didn’t use the same chocolate HermÃ©e using I thought the sauce tasted delicious. For the final glaze we had to make a ganache first. After adding all the chocolate the ganache had difficulties staying emulgated (emulsified?) and looked sort of curdled. This problem was solved after adding the butter and chocolate sauce and I ended up with a beautiful glaze. I chilled it to use today.
Making the chocolate pastry cream went smoothly if you don’t count the fact that at the last moment before taking it out of its ice bath some of the ice water got into it. I was able to pour most of it out and had to blend in the little bit that was left. I’m not a fan of chocolate custard but was hoping that maybe this pastry cream with egg yolks, butter and good chocolate instead of cocoa powder would change this. Unfortunately not 😦 not that I dislike it, I mean, it’s sweet and tastes like chocolate but it’s still not my favourite.
I wanted to bake the puff dough yesterday evening as well but I discovered that I was out of flour! Well not out of spelt flour, whole wheat flour, self raising flour and quinoa flour but out of the flour I actually needed for this challenge. I didn’t feel like going to the supermarket so I postponed making them until today. And today being a busy day I was glad that I managed to make them. I baked about half of the dough, the rest I put in the fridge. Most of the 13 Ã©clairs weren’t very pretty, only a about 3 looked good enough to feature in the photograph.
Assembling the chocolate Ã©clairs didn’t go smoothly unfortunately. The first thing I ran into was the fact that I didn’t have enough pastry cream to fill all of the Ã©clairs. Ok, so I halved the recipe, still I should have had enough to fill 12. I could only fill 7. I used a cookie dough press that also had a nozzle to fill stuff with and never realised how fast it was empty. I started with the ugly ones and never got to fill the pretty ones. So the Ã©clair in the picture only has the chocolate glaze and no filling he he!
When I heated my glaze to the designated temperature it started to separate a little bit 😦 I hoped it wouldn’t be that visible but when I dipped the Ã©clairs it just looked ugly. I didn’t cry but it didn’t make me happy either. I was pressed for time so that didn’t help either. I tried whisking it but that didn’t help enough. Than I remember a tip Astrid of La Cerise gave me to save a separated ganache: add a little hot cream and stir. The glaze was sort of ganache-y so I gave it a try: it worked! I was so relieved…at least the glaze would be ok. I didn’t have time to photograph the Ã©clairs until after our picknick in the park and after the youngest was in bed. By that time daylight wasn’t all that much anymore. The Ã©clair you see in the picture was the only one of the three ok looking ones that also had ok looking glaze. The only problem was that didn’t dip it on the top so it tilted when I put it down. I had to insert a toothpick to stabilize it. So maybe it the picture it looks like an ok Ã©clair, in reality it was an empty Ã©clair that needed a toothpick to stay upright 😉 Oh well, another challenge done, and in time too…just in time that is 😉
Oh yes, how did it taste? It tasted delicious if you actually like chocolate pastry cream so to me it was just ok. I did like the taste of the glaze, you could really taste the orange taste. I still have some left-over glaze….it might have a second life as truffles, that is if I don’t just spoon it out of the bowl 🙂
To see how all the other Daring Bakers did, check out this link.