Friday, July 31, 2015

Eclairs : Pâte à Choux Puffs


#Eclairs #PâteAChouxPuff #Pastry #Dessert #EasyRecipe #Bake #MakeAheadDessert #Baking #Pastrycream #FoodPhotography #SimiJoisPhotography

It was a sunny afternoon and I had been playing outside in the shade of the lychee trees. Trying to sample a few raw lychees and finally driven away by the caretaker of the orchard. I don’t remember climbing a tree, I was afraid that if dad found out, that would be the end of playing with my friends for the rest of the summer. Thinking back, I regret not doing it.  There was a short cut to the orchard, a narrow walk way with barbed wire that one of us had to hold and the other duck down to enter. It was the coolest place to play hide and seek. Moreover, we were not yelled by the neighbors to dial it down, as that would have interfered with their afternoon slumber. Most days I would be back home before sunset, it was an unsaid rule that was the law of the land when I grew up - at least at my place. Some of the other kids were allowed to play till much later. Most days, a friend or two tagged along to sample goodies from mom’s kitchen: it was no big secret that she was a great cook. 

That day I walked alone and saw my sister reading on the porch, her nails freshly painted, every hair in place: she was always perfectly put together. I walked past her, brushing against her neatly placed slippers, disturbing them. In normal circumstances she would have called out to our mother, but she was too engrossed. Shhhhh! Dad was not home yet, so I had no reason to bury my nose in a book to display my ‘pursuit of knowledge'. He disliked time-wasters and if he saw me loitering around he would always say, “Do something constructive with your time.” Mother was in the kitchen, prepping for dinner. I opened the refrigerator and found a box that came from the most exotic bakery in the neighborhood. “Pastries”, I was delighted. It was not a special occasion, why were there pastries in the refrigerator? I decided not to question the good things in life, so I opened the box and saw six beautifully arranged eclairs. I had seen them at the bakery but almost always bought the black forest pastry instead, a favorite. I was a bit disappointed not to see black-forest pastry in the box. But not disappointed enough not to sample the lovely, gorgeous eclair. I took them out and gave one to mom, one to my sister, and kept one for myself. It was the best thing I had ever had, so creamy and just a hint of chocolate on the shell. The memory of the taste of the first bite brings back a smile. Back then we had no idea what calories were, if it tasted good - you ate it. Both my sister and I were so skinny that we could afford to eat a dozen each. 

When teen told me that she will be baking eclairs, it brought back some fond childhood memories.  I was not sure it was a venture she was capable of taking alone. To my surprise, they turned out amazingly. It’s definitely not rocket science, and the filling is absolutely to die for. Mildly sweet, creamy and subtle flavor of vanilla, perfect dessert with a cup of coffee.  She did not do the chocolate on top, as we loved the texture and taste and did not want to overpower it with chocolate.

#Eclairs #PâteAChouxPuff #Pastry #Dessert #EasyRecipe #Bake #MakeAheadDessert #Baking #Pastrycream #FoodPhotography #SimiJoisPhotography

#Photography #SimiJoisPhotography

Pastry Shells:
  • ½ cup milk 
  • ½ cup (125gr) water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4-5 large eggs, at room temperature
Pastry Cream:
  • 2 cups  milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup  cold heavy crew

  • To make the pastry shells: In a medium saucepan, boil milk, water, butter, sugar and salt on high heat. When the milk mixture is boiling, add the flour all at once, reduce the heat to medium-low and continuously stir the mixture. Make sure it does not burn on the surface.The dough will start forming a ball. 

  • Transfer the dough into a mixing bowl, mix it for a few minutes. This will stop the cooking process and the dough will not overcook. So do transfer it in a different bowl. Let it stand till it is at room temperature and comfortable to touch. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well, not more than 2 eggs at a time. This is important, as you might not need to add all the eggs. The dough should be smooth and thin enough to fall into a ribbon, but too runny and definitely not too firm.

  • Transfer the batter into a pastry bag and pipe into 4-inch strips 2-3 inches apart. See image below.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the shells are puffed up and golden brown, rotate the tray for even heat distribution if you need to.  When you take the éclairs out, it must stay puffed. if not put it back in the oven for l 3-5 minutes. Let it cool before you fill them. 

#Eclairs #PâteAChouxPuff #Pastry #Dessert #EasyRecipe #Bake #MakeAheadDessert #Baking #Pastrycream #FoodPhotography #SimiJoisPhotography
For pastry cream: In a bowl, mix together flour and cornstarch. 

In a  saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla extract to a boil. After it boils, turn off the heat. 
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with sugar until a pale pasty mix is formed. The sugar need not be dissolved.  Stir in flour mixture. To temper the egg yolk mixture, add about ½ cup of hot milk, while stirring vigorously. Preferably done by two people, as you need to stir extremely fast to not scramble the eggs. Add the tempered egg mixture back into the remaining milk. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens like a custard consistency. Transfer to a clean bowl and set the bowl over ice bath to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator with ice bath for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Whip heavy cream till hard peaks form. Add the stabilizer, this ensures the whip cream will not collapse after it has been piped.  Fold in the whipped cream to the pastry cream and mix until well combined. Place the mixture in the fridge for 2 hours before piping. 

Transfer the pastry cream to a piping bag. 

If you want a more generous filling like we did, cut the shell in half horizontally. Pipe the filling onto the bottom half and place the other half of the eclair on top. The other option is to poke three small holes in the top of the pastry shell, and pipe the filling inside. 

We did not use a chocolate ganache, but instead, dusted our eclairs with powdered sugar.  We also froze the filled eclairs for 30 min before serving, tastes out of the world. Store the pastry shells and filling separately and pipe no longer than an hour before serving. Do not store the pastry with piped filling, as the pastry becomes soggy. If you must store them filled, ensure that they are frozen or refrigerated. 

Recipe source : here. Thanks Shinee for the recipe, specially the filling - loved it. Do check out her blog for more inspiration.

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee. 
#Eclairs #PâteAChouxPuff #Pastry #Dessert #EasyRecipe #Bake #MakeAheadDessert #Baking #Pastrycream #FoodPhotography #SimiJoisPhotography

#Photography #SimiJoisPhotography
#Photography #SimiJoisPhotography

#Photography #SimiJoisPhotography

#Eclairs #PâteAChouxPuff #Pastry #Dessert #EasyRecipe #Bake #MakeAheadDessert #Baking #Pastrycream #FoodPhotography #SimiJoisPhotography
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  1. I love, absolutely love all the pictures! And you know, how much I speak from my heart. I love white on white, it's so beautiful. But I just could not do it. Can you do a tutorial?

  2. Beautiful!!imagined I had taken a bite already :)

  3. How lonely!
    Loved all of it - the story , the pastry, the pictures ❤️

  4. Words fail to explain my emotions now. Loved the pictures and the writing to bring back the old memories . All I could say is LOVE you dear.

  5. What a brilliant post and wonderful pictures! 😍❤️
    Great job mamma daughter duo! Muuuah
    Now, am craving for them, send me some Aish!

  6. Loved the high key styles snaps!! The last picture is tempting me to grab the éclair puffs from the screen :)

  7. Wonderful post! I love it when treats bring back childhood memories.... These puffs look divine too! :)

  8. wow everything seems white.cant able take my eyes off.this is the third time am here

  9. That's my husband's favourite! Yours looks so lovely and beautiful.

  10. Irresistible éclairs and fabulous pictures!



  11. Never tasted this. .looks delectable!

  12. Love all the pics. They look so serene. Never knew food pics can calm you down too.saving the recipe.


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