This is the first Daring Bakers Challenge I have done solo. I told my sisters that I wanted to do it since I love eclairs so much. Little did I know what I was getting myself into! After spending the last few days and countless hours making them, I have a new respect for any eclair I may eat in the future! They are very time consuming (at least for a novice) but I learned a lot and had a bunch of fun. If I ever decide to do it again, I know exactly what I would change or do to make it faster and easier for me. So here are my tips… 1. Make sure you bake the pastry long enough (took 28 min for me, not 20) or they will fall into little lumps of dough – ick. Yes, this took me two times of making that elaborate dough and piping each “chubby finger” – I wanted to shoot myself! 2. I would try a vanilla custard filling…the chocolate is delicious but not sweet enough for me, especially paired with the bittersweet chocolate glaze. 3. I may try a different glaze. It was pretty but rather bitter. 4. If I would have had time, I would have added a dollop of sweetened whipped cream to each eclair or folded whipped cream into the chocolate custard filling. For any of you non-Daring Bakers that are willing to rise to the challenge…here is the recipe. You better love chocolate…especially dark chocolate!
Assembling the éclairs:
1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95–104 degrees F or 35–40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.
3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.
Notes: 1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water, stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create bubbles. 2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.