Meeta K of What's For Lunch Honey is the host of Daring Bakers this month, and she chose a recipe by Pierre Herme for a dessert close to my own heart - chocolate eclairs. Now these are not just any ordinary chocolate eclairs for, in addition to being Pierre Herme's recipe, these are chocolate on chocolate eclairs, with chocolate pastry cream and a chocolate glaze.
As directed, I used Pierre Herme's recipe for the choux buns. They puffed up nicely in the oven, but sank immediately on removal from the oven, despite my cutting a slit in them to let the steam escape as suggested on the Daring Bakers Forum:
We were given the option to substitute one of the chocolate components (pastry cream or glaze) for another option, and I nearly did substitute the chocolate pastry cream altogether for another flavour. However, after reading on the Daring Bakers Forum about how good the chocolate pastry cream was, I decided to make half of the eclairs with the original chocolate pastry cream. I was so glad that I did - it was absolutely devine, and in fact, was my favourite part of these eclairs. I would make this pastry cream again as a filling for other cakes and desserts.
I made the other half of the pastry cream a champagne flavour by the addition of an eighth of a cup of sparkling wine. I was initially going to add more, but I found that an eighth of a cup made the pastry cream very runny, so I didn't dare add more. I ended up having to return the champagne pastry cream to the stovetop and adding more cornflour to thicken it up again. It ended up OK, although not as good as the chocolate version, as it was of a thicker, less smooth consistency, most likely due to my emergency addition of more cornflour at the last minute. Here are both versions of the pastry cream:
I also chose to make the Pierre Herme chocolate glaze, which includes a chocolate sauce that is made separately. The glaze was my least favourite part of the recipe - it turned out rather greasy, and seemed to not want to stick to the choux buns. When I next make eclairs, I would use a ganache or a plain old chocolate glace icing in its place.
Here is the finished product:
They are not the prettiest eclairs in the world, but they tasted very good. I really enjoyed this challenge, as I am a fan of chocolate eclairs.
Thanks to Meeta K for hosting this month's challenge. You will find the recipe for the eclairs on Meeta's site. For a glimpse at the eclairs from the kitchens of the other Daring Bakers, please check out the Daring Bakers blogroll.