Daring Bakers – Chocolate Ã©clairs

The end of the month means another Daring Bakers challenge. This month’s challenge is Pierre Hermé’s chocolate éclairs, éclairs filled with chocolate pastry cream and topped with a chocolate glaze.

Even though I’ve made éclairs 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 Hermé but I do own her Desserts by Pierre Hermé 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 Hermé’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 éclairs. 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 éclair and ended up adding some orange essentail oil to the chocolate glaze (I added ¼ 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 Hermée 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 éclairs weren’t very pretty, only a about 3 looked good enough to feature in the photograph.

Assembling the chocolate éclairs 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 éclairs. 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 éclair 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 éclairs 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 éclairs 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 éclair 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 éclair, in reality it was an empty éclair 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 🙂

You can find the recipe at What’s For Lunch Honey? and Tony Tahhan who host this month’s challenge.

To see how all the other Daring Bakers did, check out this link.

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38 Responses to Daring Bakers – Chocolate Ã©clairs

  1. mary says:

    I had the same problems with my glaze “curdling” and then coming back together when I added the chocolate sauce!

    The gilded marzipan balls are very pretty, and I love the chocolate-orange flavor combination.

  2. breadchick says:

    Now that is one gorgeous eclair and super tasty way to decorate!

  3. pusu mama i tata…a momcima extra veliku…

  4. ovenhaven says:

    I believe I’ve never seen an eclair more exquisite! Beautiful work, Linda 🙂

  5. I would not have guessed all your problems with them! The one in the picture looks great!

  6. The presentation of the eclair was gorgeous and lovely. Two thumbs up! 🙂

  7. Tanya says:

    Your eclairs look gorgeous! Great job!

  8. Linda that is a lovely look for the eclair! I had something of the same separating with my glaze. Still tasted good.

    Nice the way you tied the orange together!

  9. Tartelette says:

    Looks classy and delicious Linda! Well done!

  10. Mary says:

    Orange and chocolate are one of my favorite combinations. I love the gilded marzipan – it’s a very professional finishing touch.

  11. amelia says:

    Hi! Your eclair looks so sophisticated! =D

  12. courtney(aka glamah16) says:

    It looks like a work of art. I love that gilded marzipan ball. The cream flavor soundes excellent. Sorry it wasnt so smoth going, but from what I see it was worth the effort.

  13. Vera says:

    Linda, it looks fabulous! The gilded marzipan ball is such stylish touch!

  14. Rosa says:

    Perfect and so beautiful! I love that refined decoration! Great job!



  15. Dee says:

    I like how you explained each step, and what problems you ran into. A very helpful post. You would never guess by looking at the finished product – it looks stunning!

    I’m in love with your gilded marzipan balls. Will I find the method on your blog?

  16. Christy says:

    Good call on the hot cream to bring the ganache back together! I didn’t know that, but I’ll definitely try it next time!! Mine had a bit of trouble standing up on their own too, especially those that I’ve sliced horizontally and filled with pastry cream. But at least they tasted yummy!!

  17. aran says:

    beautiful as always linda!

  18. Michelle says:

    Perfect…absolutely perfect!

  19. Arlene says:

    I adore marzipan and love your gilded decoration.

  20. Katie B. says:

    Your eclairs look very much like they’re headed off to a party – I love it!!! 🙂

  21. Looks like you are an eclair pro! They turned out beautifully!

  22. Astrid says:

    You are too honest Linda! If you hadn’t said anything, we would all have thought this challenge was easy for you. At the same time, reading about the difficulties you encountered was very informative, and may have spared some of us similar problems.

    I’m glad I indirectly helped you find a solution for the glaze curdling. But you in turn have taught me something as I thought it was necessary to pour the curdled glaze very slowly into the heated cream as you whisk, like a mayonnaise. Your method is easier!

    (I feel relatively confident about fixing curdled ganaches. But curdled butter creams are still my nightmare, and everyone seems to have different advice.)

  23. They look wonderful. I, too, thought the glaze was very (too) time-consuming…

  24. this looks nice and it has a sophisticated look

  25. grace says:

    ack! they’re perfect! i’m especially loving the gilded balls–how very decorous of you. you’ve quite a talent, milady! 🙂

  26. Dragon says:

    So gorgeous and I love the bling. 🙂

  27. Lesley says:

    These are fantastic! I love your site, too!!!

  28. Why, that looks like a jewel on top of that eclair. How lovely.

  29. Hannah says:

    Those marzipan toppers are just lovely- The eclairs look too pretty to eat!

  30. Jude says:

    The sphere on top looks so cool! Nice presentation

  31. Y says:

    oh my goodness Linda, what a lot of stumbling blocks you had to overcome! I definitely think you deserve a hug and a round of applause for all that effort you put into it. For the record, I think that gilded ball is a great touch!

  32. I love the look of the orange marzipan balls! And I actually like them speckled with the orange showing through–very elegant.

  33. jennifer says:

    looks great! and i would never guess about the toothpick in it. great job.

  34. dhanggit says:

    this is so magnificent Linda!! and the way your eclairs have puffed is so perfect!!

  35. Núria says:

    Hola Linda!

    I wanted to thank you for dropping by to my bloggiversary party! I do appreciate it 😀

    I’m seeing Eclairs all the blogosphere around, but your pictures are soooo beautiful! Good job!

  36. Hi

    I ve just given you an award please pass by my blog to collect it.

  37. venus says:

    Looks delicious! I had to skip on this challenge because I had my hands full 😦 I bet this was a really fun one to execute~

  38. Mari says:

    Your eclairs are lovely! The gold-leaf glazed marzipan ball is fab!

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