For Day 2 of this week’s marathon, I have these cute little mini eclairs I made back in April for the Easter party at home. I was always under the impression that eclairs are very difficult to make, on the contrary these are quite easy to put together and are sure to impress the guests.
The first time I heard the word ‘Éclair‘, I thought it the Cadbury chocolate eclairs we used to eat as kids. But this one is actually a French pastry that is made with choux dough filled with a cream and topped with icing. It is very interesting to know that the word comes from French éclair ‘flash of lightning’, so named because it is eaten quickly in a flash.
Choux pastry used to make these éclairs is a light pastry dough that contains only butter, water, flour and eggs. These ingredients are first cooked unlike any other pastry dough where the ingredients are just mixed together. The cooked dough is then piped onto baking sheets and baked. There is no raising agent added but the high moisture content in the dough creates steam during baking to puff the pastry and create the typical eclair texture.
I found the recipe to this mini eclairs on Martha Stewart site. Here the eclairs are split and filled with lightly sweetened whipped cream and topped with some macerated strawberries. Other ides for eclair fillings are vanilla, chocolate or coffee flavored custard, fruit flavored custards or chestnut puree. Fondant or even caramel can be used as icing for these filled pastries.
1Vanilla bean seeds- scraped (or use 1tsp vanilla extract)
2cupsStrawberries- hulled & chopped
2tbspsMint- finely chopped
Make Éclair: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan, bring butter, milk, water and salt to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in flour.
Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 3~4 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixture or to a mixing bowl. Using a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, mix until the mixture is cool slightly, about 1 minute. With the machine running, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with a ½" round or star tip.
Pipe 20 2½" long eclairs onto the baking sheet.
Bake until the eclairs rise and are golden brown, about 20~25 minutes.
Transfer to wore rack to cool.
Make Vanilla Cream: Combine heavy cream, vanilla seeds and confectioners sugar in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Beat the cream until soft peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to use.
Macerate the Berries: Combine the berries with sugar and mint. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready o use.
To Serve: Split eclairs in half lengthwise and pipe vanilla cream onto the eclair bottoms. Spoon macerated berries on top of the cream and sandwich with eclair tops. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.