Colozza's. My family and I would head over there almost every Sunday after church and my brother and I would get to pick out our special treat. I varied between a lemon pastry or a jumbo eclair, but mostly picked eclairs. I love the airy crust, the smooth custard and the chocolate on top. It's the perfect dessert to me.
A while ago, I wanted to make B something to take into work for his coworkers. I had planned on a lemon cake, but after I had already separated the eggs, I changed my mind. I had stumbled upon a recipe for eclairs. I was all sorts of ill-equiped to make this, as I didn't have a piping tip in the correct size, and only one piping bag left, screwing up my plans to pipe frosting later that week. I had never made this type of dough before, but I love a baking challenge so I decided to go for it.
The dough was 100% what I remember my favorite eclairs tasting like. Light and airy, simply delicious. The pastry cream was a little different, but close enough that I was taken back to the days of looking forward to church because of the eclair that was sure to follow.
Makes about 30 mini eclairs.
WARNING: This dough likes to hide inside of engagement or wedding rings. Three days later and I'm still picking bits out of mine, so remove any rings first!
Also, you can make this recipe a little easier on yourself by making vanilla pudding for the filling, but in my opinion, nothing beats custard.
Ganache recipe listed after the eclair recipe
1 c. water
1/2 c. butter
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 1/2 c. whole milk
2 egg yolks, barely whisked
1 T. butter
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. almond extract
Preheat the oven to 400 F
Bring water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil over medium heat in medium saucepan. Add flour all at one time and stir until a smooth ball forms. This will happen quickly. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Move dough to an electric mixer's mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Using a 3/4 in round tip in a pastry bag or a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, pipe dough into about 30 strips (will take 2 sheets), between 1 1/2 and 2 inches long, onto GREASED baking sheets. I used a silicon mat and greased it, and had no problems with sticking or cleaning up. Bake for 22-26 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and immediately cut a slit in each for steam to escape and allow to cool completely.
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan and gradually stir in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. And I mean constantly! Reduce heat, cook and stir 2 minutes longer.
Slowly add 1 c. of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking the entire time. Add the eggs with the 1 c. of milk mixture back into the pan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and pass through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Stir in butter, vanilla and almond extract. Place plastic wrap DIRECTLY over the custard and move into the fridge to cool.
Split eclairs open and fill just before serving. After filled, spoon ganache over top, or top with a sprinking of powdered sugar
This may be my new favorite recipe because it's possibly the easiest thing I've ever made.
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 oz. heavy whipping cream (1 c.)
Place the chocolate in a food processor.
Heat the whipping cream in a microwavable bowl on high for 3 to 4 minutes or until simmering. Add to chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Pulse a few times until combined.
Spread over eclairs and enjoy the decadence!
Eclair and cream recipes adapted from The Taste of Home Baking Book
Ganache recipe from foodnetwork.com