Chocolate Raspberry Éclairs

Happy Father’s day to my Texan dad who also happens to love everything French. I couldn’t be with my French-Texan-Kentuckian family this holiday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t cook like I’m in their eccentric kitchen.

At our house in Myrtle Beach

There are many great memories I have of my dad: being thrown high into the air and into the pool; dancing to Billy Idol and David Bowie in the living room; having the flu and, even though I was 3 hours away at college and it was blizzarding, having my dad bring me chicken noodle soup and Vitamin C (did I mention I was an only child?).

With Father Andrew

But some of my favorite memories with my dad include food, like when he taught me how to make chocolate chip cookies; how to keep your recipes organized; and how to accidentally order 25 calzones from Papa Johns instead of 2 (long story). So if I can’t be there to celebrate, these éclairs make a decent tribute.

At my high school’s father-daughter dance

There are a lot of steps involved in these bite-sized éclairs from Spoon Fork Bacon, but they’re easy and well-worth the time spent. The pâte à choux (a light pastry dough) is easy to make and bake, and the light, very raspberry-laden pastry cream filling is so good I ate way too much by myself and had to forgo lunch because of it. Best non-lunch EVER. The good food stylists/photographers/chefs at Spoon Fork Bacon make exquisite and fun foods, but sometimes leave out more specific instructions that us non-professionals need to know, so I’ll try to be more detailed in this post.

Happy Father’s Day, Papa, may you enjoy these éclairs visually…I’ll be sure to eat at least a handful in your honor 😉

[Makes roughly 12-18 tiny éclairs]

Equipment:

  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Stand mixer
  • Blender
  • Whisk
  • 2 pastry bags
  • Round piping tip and a large star piping tip

Ingredients:

Pâte à choux:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbl. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs

Raspberry pastry cream:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbl. cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 bag frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1 1/2 Tbl. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or in pieces
  • Edible pink decorations

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add flour and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir with a wooden spoon about 1 1/2 min-3 min until a sticky dough forms. Place dough into a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 2 min to release some steam. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Scoop dough into a piping bag fitted with the large round tip and pipe 2 1/2-3 inch long strips about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 min or until éclairs have puffed and turned a golden brown. Remove from oven and turn oven off. Allow them to cool slightly [about 5 min] before carefully slicing in half lengthwise with a very sharp knife. Place them back onto the baking sheet and allow to dry out in the still-warm oven for another 15 min.

Puree your raspberries in a blender, then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside. Place milk, sugar, salt, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan and whisk to mix well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Simmer for about 2-4 min or until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in 1/3 cup raspberry puree and vanilla until fully incorporated.

Strain the mix through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and place over an ice bath until completely cooled, stirring occasionally. [*Note: If the pastry cream is still lumpy, though mine was fine, pass it through the strainer again and stir in 2 Tbl. melted unsalted butter. This will remove the cooked egg bits and give the cream a smoother, glossier texture]

Place 1 cup whipping cream in a large bowl. Beat until very stiff peaks form. Gently fold in 1 1/2 cups of the whipped cream into the pasty cream. Place in the fridge about 15 min to harden a bit.

Scoop the cream into a piping bag fitted with the large star tip. Pipe onto the bottoms of the éclairs.

Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 50% power for about 2 min. Stir and continue heating on 50% for 30 seconds, stirring, until chocolate is completely melted. Take the tops of the éclairs and dip in the chocolate. Decorate with pink decorations. Place back on the baking sheet and let solidify [putting them in the fridge if you want it to go faster]. Place the tops on top of the cream-covered bottoms. Serve within 2 days, keeping refrigerated.

Perfect bite

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