21 Jan Making Eclairs Part 2
Continuing on from my previous article where I explained how to make the Choux pastry shells, in Part 2, I will now explain how to assemble your eclairs.
Classic fillings for these desserts include whip cream, pastry cream or custard, but flavoured versions exist as well including coffee, hazelnut, raspberry and so on.
I will be explaining how to make whip cream filled eclairs, because they are easy to do, and delicious.If you want to add some flavour even to this type, it can be done, and I will explain how in the appropriate step.
First, let’s discuss equipment. You will need:
– large piping bag fitted with a large star tip
-stand mixer fixed with whip attachment, or large stainless steel or glass bowl and whisk
For ingredients you will need:
-1 cup 35% whipping cream cream
-225 grams dark or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or in small chips.
– white chocolate chips or pastilles , about 3 oz or 85 grams.
-2 cups 35% whipping cream.
-1/3 cup sugar
Here we go!
First off, make sure your shells are set up on baking sheets. They do not have to be lined with parchment paper, but it will just make clean-up easier.Make sure you leave enough space in between each shell allowing for double the amount of pieces.
Using a serrated knife, cut the shell open, like slicing a bread roll, making a top and bottom.
Next, make your ganache (glaze). Ganache is mixture of equal parts cream to chocolate by weight. To make this, place your cream (the 1 cup) in a pot, and put on medium-high heat. I put it at 7.
Put your chocolate into a bowl. Bring the cream to a rolling boil then pour over the chocolate. Allow it to sit for 1 minute to allow for the chocolate to melt, then whisk it until it becomes a smooth and glossy sauce.
At this time, you should also melt your white chocolate. Do this on a double boiler, or bain marie, on medium-low heat. Watch out that your chocolate does not scorch. Remove from heat once melted.
Dip the top of a shell into the ganache, and place next to its bottom half (this is why you had to leave space for double the amount of pieces).
Repeat for all your tops. Try to work quickly so that your ganache doesn’t completely set.
Take your white chocolate and with a spoon drizzle the white chocolate over the glazed tops. This is strictly for decorative purposes, and is not manditory, but it does enhance the look of your eclairs.
Once all your tops are glazed, place your sheet pans in the freezer or fridge to set the glaze.
Now for the whip cream.
If you are doing this step by hand, place your bowl in the freezer. A cold bowl helps the cream to froth and whip.
By hand, add your cream to your chilled bowl and begin whipping. Once it starts to froth, gradually add in your sugar. Continue whipping until your cream is stiff.
If you are using a machine, being whipping on medium, and slowly add your sugar once the cream begins to froth. Turn the speed up to high and let whip until stiff.
If you want to add flavour, say a liqueur like brandy or burbon, or other flavours such as extracts, syrups, or liquids like cold espresso, add it to your cream while it is still in liquid form.
Transfer your whipped cream to your piping bag. Using a circular motion of the wrist, swirl pipe your whip cream into the bottom portion of your shell. Try to stay within its edges.
To finish, simply place the tops on the corresponding bottoms, and voila, eclairs!
Due to their fillings, eclairs should be kept in the fridge until serving. You can make them from start to finish 2-3 days before your event. Any longer, and your cream will begin to deflate and lose its airiness.
If you don’t like chocolate, you can glaze your eclairs instead. Glazes usually consist of confectioner’s sugar mixed with a liquid. The liquid is totally up to you. You could use anything like citrus juices, maple syrup, or liqueurs. For a glaze, you are looking for an opaque yet runny consistency.
I hope you enjoy these classic pastries as much as I do.