Craving for Eclairs!!!

I was really craving for Eclairs for a couple of days so I went in search of an easy and good recipe so I could make them at home. Eclairs are a french chocolate pastry that are light in texture but very rich in flavour. Eclair actually means lightning in french and it was given this name because of its beautiful glaze. Not much is known about the origins of this famous pastry but its birth place is France. There are some who speculate that Eclairs were first made by a famous royal pastry chef called Marie-Antoine Carême (royal life must have been sweet with this chef around the royal kitchen!). Also oxford English Dictionary traces the term “eclair” in the English language to 1861. The first known recipe for eclairs appeared in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln, published in 1884.

Well that was a bit of culinary history for all of you who actually are interested but of course eating the eclairs is more important and fun! After some research and changing the recipe to suit what I wanted, I managed to make them and they were delicious! Very decadent dessert that takes some time to make but it is sure to impress your guests and your tummy. Here is the recipe with pictures so you can try it at home! Enjoy…I am sure you will!

Preparation Time: 1 hour Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Eclair Dough:
2/3 cup Milk
2/3 cup Water
4 oz (113 grams) Butter
1 cup Flour
5 Eggs
2 tsp.Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Salt

Chocolate Cream Filling:
6 oz.(170 grams) Unsweetened dark chocolate powder (cocoa)
1 cup Milk
4 Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Flour

3 tbs. Tia Maria or Amaretto liquor
2 tbs brewed coffee

Chocolate Icing:
5 oz.(141 grams) Dark Chocolate Bar
2 oz.(56 grams) Butter
1/4 cup Water

How to make Eclair Dough:

Preheat oven to 425°F (218 C).
1. In a pot, mix water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil.
2. Once butter has completely melted, take off flame, and slowly pour in flour, stirring constantly (sometimes this will be enough to make the dough drier and start to unstick to the sides of the pot if that happens you wont need to put it back on the flame as step 3 tells you).
3. Put pot back on flame and continue to work it with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring and kneading with spoon until the dough dries out and stops sticking to the sides of the pot.
4. Take off flame and wait a little till dough cools down (if you put the eggs when the dough is too hot it will make the eggs cook too fast and you will have some scramble eggs in your eclair dough!). Add eggs, one at a time, stirring energetically.
5. Fill a icing piping bag with the eclair batter. Butter a baking sheet. Squeeze out “finger-sized eclairs” onto baking sheet, well-spaced. This will make 20 small eclairs but if you like making them bigger please take into account that you probably will get 12 eclairs or even less.
6. Bake for 10 minutes. Then turn oven down to 385°F (196 C) and bake another 10-12 minutes with the oven door open. Now this bit is up to you to keep an eye on the progress of your eclairs, I left the oven closed for a little longer and on the last 5 minutes I opened the oven door. This is all up to your judgment and how hot your oven gets. But the oven needs to be hot so the eclairs can rise.
7. When they are done take them out of the oven and let them cool while you make the filling.

Chocolate Filling:
1. Add the cocoa powder and milk in a pot, and bring to light boil, remove and let it cool.
2. In a bowl, whisk yolks and sugar until it whitens.
3. Slowly add flour, stirring.
4. Slowly add chocolate milk and the coffee stirring until homogeneous.
5. Put back in pot, bring to light boil, stirring constantly, until cream thickens and becomes smooth. If your cream becomes lumpy don’t panic, just add some more coffee or milk whisk it till it gets smooth again.
6. Add the liquor and while waiting it too cool off place a piece if glad rap on the top of the filling so it doesn’t get a crusty.
7. When cream cools off (and eclairs have cooled off as well), you can begin filling the eclairs: Use your icing piping bag to inject the filling into the eclairs.

Icing:
Now be careful not to eat all of them before you put the chocolate icing on them it really pays off to wait till they are done!
1. Finely chop chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl that fits snuggly in a saucepan.
2. Once melted add butter.
3.Remove from heat and remove bowl from saucepan . Add the water and whisk thoroughly. It should look shiny and creamy!
3. Now dip the top of your eclairs (face down of course) into the chocolate icing and place them on a tray to cool. Voilà your eclairs are ready to eat! I love to eat them cold that is why I put mine in the fridge to be nice and cool. Enjoy!

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