In case you hadn't guessed, I made a couple eclairs this past weekend.
It was my father-in-law's birthday, and my husband suggested we make a batch of eclairs.
We, obviously means, well, me.
I didn't mind, really. I love making eclairs, and I think every birthday should have something beyond delicious and devilishly sweet to go along with it. I doubled the batch below, and then split my cream filling into three different flavors. I asked on Facebook on Saturday morning which filling y'all wanted - and with an overwhelming holler for blackberry, I give you the Blackberry Cream Eclairs below. Don't worry, though, I'll be sharing the other two mouth-watering flavors on the blog later this week.
I've come a long way since I made my first batch of eclairs a couple weeks ago. Cleverly, I hid the fact that they fell by filling them right back up with filling. But still, I felt like I had cheated the whole experience.
This time, though, I was determined to have my eclairs completely hollow, with a crusty shell, without falling within minutes of baking them. I did a little research and quickly found my problem:
1) I was peeking. Never peek a the pastries. They will make you pay for that mistake.
2) I wasn't baking them nearly long enough. These things take time, and temperature adjustments every 10-20 minutes (depending on the size) or so. This fact flew right past me the first time, and I've done some serious head vs. wall banging in protest of my own amateur mistake. Don't make my mistake. Just trust me, eh? Bake 'em long and proud.
I would like to thank the mighty Alton for saving me once again with his extremely helpful video on pate choux: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDXUdyuD_O8 (ps. Good Eats is probably the greatest show on the Food Network. Period. Watch it for 10 minutes, and try to tell me that you didn't learn something you never knew. It's amazing.)
Now let's get on with the blackberry...
Blackberries are the epitome of summertime, and we've been using them all over our dishes in the Blondie home. The color is gorgeous, and the flavor is so sweet, but with just enough tartness to make your tongue dance for more.
Instead of going with the usual chocolate coating on the eclairs, this time I decided it would be amazing to use white chocolate.
CHANGED OUR LIVES, people.
Stir in a little blackberry puree?
Base Eclair Recipe
this makes about 10-15 cream puffs, depending on the size you make them
1 C water
1 stick unsalted butter
1 C all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 t sugar
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter then add the water.
2. make your pate a choux: Sift in the all-purpose flour, add the salt and sugar, and stir all ingredients together. Pull off the heat. Let cool for a minute or so - we don't want the upcoming eggs to cook in the dough/pan.
3. Add in the eggs one at a time until incorporated and whisk together until thoroughly combined (requires a bit of arm action) - or just throw it all in your stand mixer with paddle attachment.
4. Fill a large piping bag (you don't even have to put a tip into it, the hole is the perfect size) with the warm dough. Pipe the dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet in about 3 inch logs about 1 1/2 inch away from each other. They usually puff up, not out.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes in the oven - check them to see if they're cooked through. Lower temperature to about 350. Bake for another 10 minutes. Lower temperature again to 300. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Add more time accordingly. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN or pull them out early. When they're golden brown, and the center is cooked through, remove from oven and let cool. Yes, high maintenance, but the end result is 100% worth it.
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Blackberry Cream Filling
makes enough, trust me.
About 15 or so blackberries, pureed and de-seeded if you'd like (I didn't, and it was fine)
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 t vanilla
1/2 C powdered sugar
1. Throw your metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer.
2. Remove mixer bowl and whisk from freezer, and place onto your stand mixer. Add heavy whipping cream and whip until stiff peaks form (starting on low for about a minute, then low-medium for a minute, and medium for a minute... on and on until you hit high). When stiff peaks form, add vanilla and powdered sugar.
3. Blend. Taste. Adjust sweetness to your liking.
4. Fold in blackberry puree, gently.
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White Chocolate Cream Cheese Sauce
makes about 3 C of drizzle
8oz cream cheese
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/4 C crisco butter
1 t vanilla
about a half a small can of carnation evaporated milk
about 2 C powdered sugar
1 bag of white chocolate chips
1. Melt cream cheese in the microwave in a glass bowl, about 15 seconds at a time until it's reached a melted-chocolate consistency. Set aside.
2. In a heavy bottomed medium pan over medium heat, melt butters together. Add melted cream cheese and vanilla. Stir until thoroughly combined.
3. Add in chocolate chips, stir until melted. Add in powdered sugar very slowly. It will become pretty stiff, but keep stirring. Now, thicken up the mixture with the evaporated milk - add slowly until you reach a good consistency for what you're using it for. This is not like a ganache, and won't harden unless it's far below room temperature.
4. Spoon mixture into a piping bag, and drizzle to your desire.
*To make the blackberry white chocolate sauce, just stir in about 5-10 pureed blackberries into the mix.
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Assembling the eclairs:
1. Prepare all the recipes above. Flip over the eclair pastries, and slice 3 X's about a half inch apart on the bottom of the eclairs (or you could do the top. I just like the bottom.)
2. With about a 1/4 inch tip on a piping bag filled with your cream, place tip inside the X and squeeze about a tablespoon of cream inside the eclair. Repeat with remaining holes. Set aside, and pipe the rest.
3. When the cream cheese sauce is warm, dunk the un-X'ed side of the eclair in to the sauce and flip over to dry. It won't harden unless it's below room temperature, but that's half the fun :)