If February means Valentine’s Day, and Valentine’s Day means chocolate… does February mean 28 days of chocolate? Logicians might beg to differ, but we say yes. You have plenty of time to join our Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong challenge, a heartfelt tribute to the pleasures of deep-dark chocolate. Take the Dark Chocolate Eclairs #bakealong challenge, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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Now, you might think éclairs are way beyond your experience level but trust me – they’re not. If you can stir together flour, melted butter, and water, you’ve got the savvy for your shells. If you can simmer milk and cocoa in a saucepan, then mix it with egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch (plus chocolate and butter), you’ve nailed the filling. And the glaze on top? Just two simple ingredients. And the result? Deep-dark deliciousness!

DARK CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS

Ingredients:

For the Choux Pastry

1 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/8 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Dark Chocolate Filling

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

5 tablespoons cornstarch

4 large egg yolks, room temperature

2 cups whole full cream milk

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa

1/3 cup chopped baking chocolate

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the Chocolate Glaze

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate

1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup

1/2 cup heavy cream

Method:

  • Combine water, butter and salt in a saucepan. Heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Return the pan to the burner and cook it over medium heat.

  • Stir until mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around pan. This should take far less than a minute.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes to a temperature below 125°F.

  • Transfer the mixture to mixer, and beat in the large eggs one at a time. Mixture will look curdled at first.
  • When you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg.

  • Scoop batter into a pastry bag, and add a 3/4″ plain tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, take a plastic bag.
  • Stuff it in a tall glass, and scoop batter into the bag. Push batter to bottom of bag, and cut off one corner.

  • To shape the éclair shells, pipe the batter on the prepared pan in 5-inch logs about 3/4-inch in diameter.
  • Make sure to squeeze as much of the sticky batter out of bag as possible; a bowl scraper works well here.

  • You should be able to make about 20 éclair shells out of the recipe. Bake the éclair shells for 15 minutes.
  • Then reduce temperature to 350°F and bake it for an additional 25 minutes, until medium golden brown.

  • Remove from oven and make a slit in the top of each, and return to the oven to bake for 5 more minutes.
  • This will allow any steam to escape from the shells. Let the shells rest till they are cool enough to handle.

  • If you plan on filling and finishing them right away, split each shell in half to make top and bottom pieces.
  • For the dark chocolate filling, combine the sugar and cornstarch in mixing bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks.

  • Mixture will look like scrambled eggs. Bring milk and cocoa to simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Pour about a quarter of the hot milk and chocolate into the egg yolk mixture, whisking till incorporated.

  • Return the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan and put the saucepan back on the burner over medium heat.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes very thick and just starts to boil. Remove pan from heat.

  • Add the baking chocolate and butter, stirring until it is melted and smooth. Transfer the filling to a bowl.
  • Cover it with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap right down onto the filling and cool it to room temperature.

  • Refrigerate the filling for at least 2 hours. For the glaze, combine the semisweet chocolate and corn syrup.
  •  Heat heavy cream to simmering, then pour it over chocolate. Sit for about a minute then stir until smooth.

  • To assemble the éclairs, pipe or spoon about 1 ounce (30g) of the chocolate filling into the pastry shells.
  • Set the éclair tops over the filled bottoms and drizzle the glaze over top. Makes 20 dark chocolate éclairs.

KAF February 2017 Challenge

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