Sunday, August 05, 2012

Éclairs Choco-Menthe

I have deprived you of these lovely éclairs up to now, but since I did not bake this weekend, I had time for a new post on French food adventures. About three weeks ago, Alex and I decided to have another go at éclairs. This chocolate and mint combo is just amazing. Once you start making éclairs at home, you discover that the possibilities are endless. We are totally fond of them... more to come! And I, addict that I am, was already thinking about a peanut butter version... well anyway, on verra :-)

La pâte à choux
(from: Ginette Mathiot - Je sais faire la pâtisserie, a good basic choux pastry recipe in German is also available here)

2.5dl water (we used half milk, half water)
a pinch of salt
20g icing sugar
80g butter, cut into pieces
150g flour
4-5 eggs

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Pour the water into a heavy saucepan. Add salt, sugar and the butter and place over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixtrue comes to a full boil. Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan and some moisture has evaporated (about 3 minutes).

Take the pan away from the heat, transfer the dough into a large mixing bowl. Using a mixer, add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium-high speed, incorporating each egg before adding the next. When all eggs are incorporated, the mixture will be thick, smooth and shiny.

Transfer the dough into a pastry bag with a 1cm plain tip (we used a smaller one with toothed tip, worked fine). Pipe out fingers of about 7cm onto your prepared baking trays. It depends on how large you want your eclairs to be, keep in mind that the fingers will be about three times larger after baking than before.

Bake on the lower half of the oven until they are puffed and are starting to show some color, about 10-15 minutes, depending on their size. Then, take them out of the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. You can easily freeze these baked shells if you don't want to use all at once.

Chocolate and Mint Cream-Filling
(from: Eclairs - Petits choux, religieuses, croquembouches & cie by Marianne Magnier-Moreno)

110ml cream
130g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
a handful of fresh mint leaves
325ml milk
4 egg yolks
65g sugar
15g flour
15g cornstarch
1 pinch of salt

Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. Put aside. Wash the mint leaves and dry them a little on a kitchen towel. Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the mint leaves and bring to a boil. Take away from the heat and take out the mint leaves.

Put the egg yolks in a bowl together with the sugar and the salt and mix well. Add the flour and the cornstarch and mix well.

Add the sugar to your mint-infused milk and heat it up again. When it comes just to the boil, take away from the heat. Add just a splash of the milk to your egg-mixture and mix well with an egg whisk. Pour this egg-mixture back into your saucepan with the milk and put back onto medium heat while constantly stirring. The mixture will thicken within 1-2 minutes. Take away from the heat. Add the chocolate ganache you have prepared in advance. Whisk until it is well incorporated. To cool the cream, cover the bowl with cling film, pressing it directly onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.

For the Glaze:

100ml cream
a few fresh mint leaves
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Wash the mint leaves and dry on a kitchen towel. Put them into a mortar and mash them. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and add the mint. Bring this to a boil. Then, add the chocolate and stir until it has melted. Take away from the heat.

Assembling the eclairs:

When your pastry shells have cooled down, cut them open on the sides with scissors. Pour your pastry cream into a piping bag and fill the pastry shells. Brush them with the chocolate glaze... and stop yourself from eating all those lovely éclairs right away ;-)

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