A Taste of Summer: Chocolate Covered Eclairs with Berry Pastry Cream

I can’t quite admit to myself that I’m already halfway into the Fall semester. Hockey season is also upon us. What better way to bring back summer than enjoy some lovely berries. I also had a lot of eggs, and I think two things – custard and choux pastry. I thought the richness of the choux and the chocolate would provide a nice contrast to the tartness of the berries; the flavors are reminiscent of another classic dessert, chocolate covered strawberries. Although seemingly daunting, these little pastries are very easy to make and provide a lovely foundation for many desserts. The elegance in its simplicity is what makes it so wonderful.

There are multiple parts, and I recommend you change the flavors depending on what you like and if you want to make it savory or sweet.

Materials:

Whisk

Spatula

Plastic Bag/Pastry Bag

Saucepan

Choux Pastry (adapted from Joy of Baking)

1 cup of all purpose flour

1 tsp of white sugar

½ tsp of salt

½ cup of butter

1 cup of milk

4 eggs

Berry Pastry Cream

½ cup of mashed berries

2 egg yolks

1 cups of milk

1/3 cup of sugar

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp cornstarch

Chocolate

1 lb white chocolate

4 oz dark chocolate

Step 1:

You are going to cook the pastry before baking it, thus making it one of the baked pastries that actually require you to cook beforehand. First, you’ll need to heat up the milk and the butter in a saucepan on medium (do not let the milk burn). When that is happening, combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

20141007_192810

Step 2:

Once the butter/milk mixture looks all warmed up, add all of the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula (a whisk would get too messy). You want it to form a dough.

20141007_193505

Continue mixing until the dough clumps together and forms a thin layer of dough on the bottom of the saucepan when mixed. This will take around 5-10 minutes. You’re drying out some of the water, so you get a nice and crisp pastry.

Step 3:

Take saucepan off the flame. Mix an egg in a ramekin or a small bowl and place into the saucepan. Mix and continue mixing until it is all incorporated. There will be a point where it looks like your dough broke -continue mixing and it will work out. After you incorporate one egg, incorporate the other eggs one by one.

Just continue mixing!

Just continue mixing!

Step 4:

You know you’re done when your dough looks like this:20141007_195154

Step 5:

Pipe using a pastry bag/gallon bag onto parchment in circles (if you want to make cream puffs/profiteroles) or long tubes if you want eclairs. Once done, use a wet finger and smooth out any edges. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes, and turn the oven down to 350 F and cook until the pastry is brown and dried. Open the oven door to let steam out once in awhile. This step takes around 30 to 45 minutes. Be vigilant. While this is baking, move onto making the pastry cream.

Once done, they will look something like this:

20141007_205744 20141007_205734

They should be hollow on the inside and crisp on the outside. A good way to tell is give it a little knock using a fork and you’ll hear the crispness/hollowness. Proceed to step 6.

Step 5A (Adjust according to your recipe):

Whisk the egg yolks and dry ingredients in a saucepan. Once all incorporated, add in the milk and berries. Whisk until all combined. Place onto a burner on medium and continue whisking until thick. Once done, place into a container with plastic wrap touching the surface. Cool.

Step 6 (Adjust according to your recipe):

Melt white chocolate on a Bain-marie/double-boiler or in a microwave. Dip or spread white chocolate over your pastries. Melt the dark chocolate and using a spoon, lightly drizzle the tops of the pastries.

Step 7:

Cut in half or using a piping bag, take the chilled pastry cream and fill the pastries. The final product could look something like this. If you don’t like chocolate, you could always use caramel. If you don’t like berries, you could leave it plain or flavor it using something that matches the topping.You could even stop at making the dough and fry them for a nice treat. You could always go the savory route, make a salmon mousse and fill the puffs with that, and it would make a great hors d’oeuvre.

20141007_220001

Step 8: Eat!

Overall, not a bad effort. These were quickly consumed, but you could freeze them and eat at a later time. I think the berry flavor was too subtle, so I might double the berry amount. You can adjust the milk to match the liquid, but you can always wait a little longer and the pectin should aid in setting the cream.

I hope you enjoy this different take on the classic chocolate covered strawberries! Enjoy the fall weather and the hockey season.

David

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