Vanilla Eclairs, or as I like to call them, French Pastry 101.
When I saw Vanilla Eclairs on the French Fridays with Dorie list for April I thought to myself, "Holy crap, we are getting serious now!"
Reading through the instructions it struck me that this really three basic French pastry basics; cream puff dough (or pate a choux), pastry cream, and ganache. I have successfully made all three of these individual recipes before so there wasn't any reason I couldn't do it again and smoosh them all together to create a classic pastry.
The cream puff dough came together beautifully. I didn't have the correct pastry tip so I just used the pastry bag sans tip to create the eclairs. My eclairs cooked more quickly than Dorie indicated they would and I had to pull them out before using the wooden spoon to wedge the oven door open trick.
The pastry cream was a breeze to make and I had a tray full of filled eclairs in no time. I opted to make a chocolate ganache frosting to finish the eclairs. Consisting of only two ingredients, the ganache should have been the easiest component to execute. Lesson learned: you can't use milk, even whole milk, in place of cream when making ganache. I knew it was a long shot but finding myself out of cream and preparing to leave for a trip the next morning, I decided to take a gamble. My frosting was more glaze than frosting and sort of seeped into the delicate pastry. The taste was fine but the end result was less attractive than I had hoped for and quite messy to eat.
All in all, this was a fun recipe to try and I feel quite fancy saying I can make eclairs! To check out how the rest of the Doristas did this week, visit French Fridays with Dorie.