Friday, May 6, 2011

{FFwD} Vanilla Éclairs

What a comedy of errors this recipe turned out to be. I have a whole new respect for pastry chefs.

First, I'm a bit behind on posting this French Fridays with Dorie recipe because I was doing a sugar-free challenge with a few friends before Easter. It was a great challenge. I did 45 days with no junk food or soda. It really helped kick junk food out of my everyday life and I hit my goal weight!
I began by making the cream puff dough. I followed the directions but when I took the éclairs out of the oven they all collapsed. I let them cool and cut them- yep, raw inside. I had some time so I decided to try again. I made a second batch and tried to follow the directions even more closely. I let them cook a few moments more until they were nice and golden. Again, the same thing happened to about half of them.
I opted to make the chocolate ganache glaze to spread on the top instead of making the vanilla glaze. In my opinion, éclairs should always have a chocolate glaze. I put the chocolate and cream into a pan and started stirring. After a moment I realized I must have made a mistake because it was the consistency of hot chocolate and I couldn't figure out how it would thicken. I checked the directions- oops- I used 3/4 cup of chocolate when the directions called for 3/4 LB. I quickly tried to calculate how much more to add. I ended up roughly estimating by dumping in. Yeah, the glaze didn't turn out quite right in consistency or taste.

The vanilla pastry cream was the one bright spot. It was perfect!

I assembled the éclairs and got ready to enjoy one before preschool pick up. But, before I could get the fork to my mouth I had to run over and wrestle some baking supplies away from the 18 month old who was ransacking my baking cupboard. I grabbed them all away from her and put them out of reach. I came back to the plate and got a finger full of pastry cream. I had expected a light hint-of-vanilla flavor. Instead, I got the powerful, overwhelming, and burning flavor of intense peppermint. Yep, one of the bottles Penelope had had was the peppermint extract. All I tasted was peppermint for the next 20 minutes.

Once that subsided though I will say that the éclairs were quite good. I was almost glad most of the puff pastry hadn't turned out because after I ate two my head was spinning from all the sugar. It was a delicious dessert but one that needs some perfecting on my part.


  1. There is only one way to serve an eclair! Chocolate glaze and vanilla pudding :-)
    Glad you caught up to these - and great will power to go 45 days. You are a wonder woman...

  2. Well, at least you tried them, I haven't worked up enough steam to even do that yet. And it does seem like they should have chocolate icing b/c that is the only way I have ever seen them...maybe one with white non-chocolate icing for me...maybe. Peppermint Penelope! So cute.

  3. What a great accomplishment of no sugar for 45 days! These eclairs were the perfect way to celebrate!

  4. The important thing is that these were DELICIOUS :) congrats on the no-sugar challenge. I've been sugar-free for 21 days, no more than that.


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