Normally I find a recipe – bake & wait just for feedback after experimentation. Well, it just so happens that I have an award winning baker who I work with (yes, I’m lucky!) and turned to Deb for some advice on eclairs. Well, my co-workers decided that my family was too important to risk a flop on a “Deb recipe” so I should use my co-workers as my “test dummies” (wow, how kind they are – just caring about my family and loved ones and not even thinking about their own pleasure… cough, laugh, cough)
So I gave these a shot earlier in the week using the Paula Dean recipe that Deb gave me. Now when someone says “eclairs” you think – “NO WAY” can I make these (yes, I was there a month ago – so I don’t know why/when it popped into my head that I wanted to make them this year for our annual tree-decorating with my ‘Aunt & Uncle’ (little Jewish girl is OCD in tree decorating, and loves it!). BUT – I tried the recipe, and wow – its not that hard at all (just takes time). I baked, didn’t fail, brought to work for feedback and got…
- “Awesome: but something isn’t right”
- “The filling is ‘different’, I like a more ‘puff-pastry’ shells”
- “The pastry tastes ‘cakey’ – should be flaky”
- “Wow – you made eclairs, I never got to taste them” (Mom – haha)
SO… on to the “real” attempt….
Lets just say that this is TWO firsts for me… not only is this the first time that Food Network has let me down (the recipe did not have enough detail – the shells should have been lighter, which might have happened if I knew to whip them more, but the taste of the custard I also was not a huge fan of), but also the first time that I am going to go against Deb’s advice on cooking. I found two wonderful blogs (with very simular recipes) that I followed the second time. I baked these eclairs the night before (at my parent’s because we are in “broken oven” stage right now) and then woke up [early] before heading to decorate the tree (for the 30th year – longer than I have been alive) with my “aunt & uncle” – longtime friends from Jersey.
The pastries puffed up like
donuts miniature loafs of bread clouds, and were ready to be filled! I made the shells the night before (if you do this – please make sure to refresh them in a warmed oven for a few minutes, otherwise they are ‘soggy’). I used Paris Pastry’s Eclair for 90% of attempt #2 but also looked to Sweetcakes Bakeshop for help… you should check out these great blogs too!! The filing came together so easily, although I think I left it to cook just a few moments too long since it was so thick that I couldn’t just pipe it through the bag and had to cut a hole in the eclairs which I didn’t want to have to do! Making the chocolate top is as easy as melting some chocolate [dark, duh], sugar and milk in the microwave and just dunking the tops!
Eclair experiment #2 = success…. now on to try them yet again – maybe after I get through some of the other things on my to do list. (for the full recipe – check out Paris Pastry, she’s got it down & I’m just out of space/energy on this!)
So ~ be sure to leave your feedback for me here on my blog and I leave you with this last thought… “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”