I missed last months Daring Bakers and was happy to see this months challenge chosen by MeetaK an Tony. Eclairs , pastry cream, and chocolate glazes from Pierre Herme. A running joke between some Daring Bakers is to call the famous Pierre Herme their Sugar Daddy. After all he is the master of all things sweet. My blogging hasn't been as productive this past month for a multitude of reasons , and the main one being that my real Sugar Daddy has been in Europe for work all month. You see I feel inspired to cook for him . So when its hot and I'm busy, wheres the inspiration? Just before Certain Someone left , we were at a cocktail party and he wanted to know if I could make a choux like pastry like the appetizer he had. I informed him Bien Sur. He wasn't around the last time a made them for a family event. So naturally I was sad he would miss this months challenge. Meta and Tony gave us a leeway. The only requirement was that at least one chocolate element remain. With that I immediately knew I would make a Butterscotch filling, because that's what my Sugar Daddy likes!See how he inspires me! Even though he couldn't be home to taste the eclairs. Another thought was my mother. She used to tell me how when she was pregnant with me all she she craved was Napoleons and eclairs! I wish she were alive to make them with me. It's surprisingly simple.
I divided my process into a few hours for two days. Make the pastry creams and choux pastry to freeze day one. And make the chocolate sauce and glaze the final day, along with baking. I followed Tartelettes suggestion on the forum to pipe and freeze. Great idea and that way I didn't have to cook it all once. I have some choux ready to pop into the oven when Certain Someone is ready. Please be sure to check out the global and ever expanding Daring Bakers. The recipes for all the Eclair elements follow in addition to my one modification. What did I do with the half batch I made? I took them to a family gathering.You know the family that looks with some unknown fear at new stuff to broaden their horizons.Pound cake people. The few that I saw tasted it loved it . I found it wasn't to sweet or rich and just a perfect dessert.
Glamah's Butterscotch Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 dram butterscotch extract or 2 tablespoons Scotch for flavor
Mix brown sugar and water , over flame. Mix to dissolve and let reach a boil.Approx 2 minutes. Add the 2 cups of milk and bring to another boil. Mixture may curdle and separate but that's OK. In a separate whisk together add egg yolks, sugar, and corn starch. Slowly temper the egg mixture into the hot milk/Brown sugar mixture . Strain to be sure any curdles bits are removed. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan whisk constantly until mixture starts to thicken and boil. ( Like the Chocolate pastry cream directions below). Remove from heat. Add butterscotch extract of Scotch and whisk in .
Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)•
Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm
1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.
Notes:1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.Assembling the éclairs:•
Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)
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 – 40degrees 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.
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.
Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
• ½ cup (125g) whole milk• ½ cup (125g) water• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces• ¼ teaspoon sugar• ¼ teaspoon salt• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour• 5 large eggs, at room temperature1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.Notes:1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.
Chocolate Pastry Cream Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
• 2 cups (500g) whole milk• 4 large egg yolks• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.
1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.
Chocolate Glaze Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 1 cup or 300g)
• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream • 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature 1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce. Notes: 1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.
Chocolate SauceRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé (makes 1½ cups or 525 g)
• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped • 1 cup (250 g) water• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream • 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar 1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.
A few weeks back I received a request to review a book that was about to be published in the paperback version from Penguin Books. The Sharper Your Knife The Less You Cry ...Love , Laughter and Tears in Paris at the Worlds Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn is in one word Outstanding!. I couldn't put this book down over the weekend because it hit home on so many levels. A short synopsis is of a American woman in her late thirties seemingly has it all. A high level job in London, and a wonderful love.Like most of us have or are about to go through, the realities of corporate life hit and she is layed off. Fine , she wasn't happy anyway. All her life she dreamed of studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, in part influenced by a relatives dream. But life gets in the way and dreams are put on hold. Do I know that story! I too got to study briefly in France but family duty and responsibility called me back home.Kathleen's love encourages her to use this time and follow her dream. He even decides to join her and what follows is a comical, loving, challenging time filled with all the highs and lows that go with studying in pressure cooker like Le Cordon Bleu, competitiveness, struggles with the French culture and language, being an American abroad in these perilous times, etc. The title comes from a line uttered in a lecture by a chef. As he explains how to chop a onion he advises on the use of sharp knives and cuts so the fumes aren't released that make you cry.But there is so much more to that sentence! The various chef instructors all have strong personalities and taskmasters that bring out the best and sometimes worst in the students. Kathleen closes each chapter with recipes from her studies, her family, her fellow students, Le Cordon Bleu, and her final exam. She even has a section at the end advising on menu ideas for a book club to discuss the book.
Kathleen Flinn reminds us that of the Ernest Hemingway quote that says "If your lucky enough to live in Paris when you're young, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." I loved this book because it brought back so many memories of my years in art school in Paris. I could totally relate to the tears, the neighborhoods, the characters, the house guests galore( which happens when you live in a great city),the whole American abroad experience. The author is motivated by Julia Child, who 'started late' and a obituary of a woman. What do you want your obituary to say? Are you happy, and is really to late to do what you love? What holds you back, will you die with regrets?And most important, are you surrounded by people who truly love and support you in your dreams, because that is essential to succeed. This author is writer by profession who also loves cuisine. Young old, mid career or just starting out, this book is for everyone.
The people at PENGUIN were kind enough to give me an extra copy.Just comment on what your dream is or what you would do if life threw you a curve ball and had the chance to do what you loved? I will leave the comments open until Friday August 29. and pick a winner randomly. Good Luck!
Well I told you I would be back with some inspiration from my new book La Bonne Cuisine De Madame E. Sant Ange...The Original Companion for French Home Cooking. Jessica's Biscuit offered this book a incredible sale price of $9.00. Its worth far more.Flicking through I see this book is not for the novice, or one who wants a recipe all spelled out for them. First published in 1927 by the folks who also published Laurousse Gastronomique, its been a indispensable guide to the common home cook and the great cooks and chefs like Madeline Kamman and our American Julia Child.Paul Aratow lovingly took on the task of translating this resource in the voice of Madame. Paul Aratow was one of the original founders of Chez Panisse along with Alice Waters, and used this book as his kitchen guide!So you are reading a cookbook for readers at the time of early twentieth century. Don't expect to find modern equipment mentioned, cooking temperatures, etc. Madame can go on about technique, exact measurements, equipment, utensils, and 'science' but this book calls on you to use your prior experience and basically figure it out. So don't expect a lot of exact instructions. I rather like this way of learning as its more challenging and in the end I learn more.
So today I chose something with cauliflower. I have an abundance of it . Certain Someone loves it , and I find it OK. Bland but OK. I'm challenged finding new ways to cook it.The book describes this vegetable as a basic one found mostly in home cooking. Not glamorous at all. Looking at this I had most of the ingredients and changed some others( which the Madame strongly cautions against). The components of the souffle called for a Bechamel, mashed cauliflower, egg whites, yolks,Parmesan,and butter. I didn't have Parmesan so I substituted a Colby( talk about Americanization!). Now I thought I knew Bechamel . I don't know Bechamel. I had to refer to her sauce chapter to find this classic component of a lot of meat free cooking. I went with the Bechamel Maigre( lean Bechamel) because it only requires milk, not heavy cream. It also requires a Mirepoix( carrots, onion, celery finely diced). I never knew. But I never claimed to to be a pro. I didn't have carrots or celery. I did have leeks, mace for nutmeg, and mushrooms. Some Becahmels can use the whites of leeks, mushroom trimmings, and even ham in the Mirepoix. So I used leek whites and mushrooms to give that Aromatic dimension to this white sauce. After slowly cooking the roux, milk, added sauteed mirepoix, you gently strain out the solids. I got what looked like a cream of mushroom soup with out the mushrooms bits. Nevertheless a good flavor for my souffle. The short recipe calls for you to combine the 87/8 OZ od mashed cauliflower , with 3/4 cup of Becahmel. Add 3 yolks, a walnut sized piece of butter,grated parmesan,fold into 4 whites that have been tuned into 'SNOW'. Cook for 20 -25 minutes.
Most Souffles I have made had a choux sort of base with flour. This didn't. I should have baked it in smaller dishes, It rose , but didn't rise past the top of my larger souffles dish. Nevertheless the outcome was good. A light nice lunch to serve alongside a salad. Great for your non meat eater friends. Is it outstanding. I wouldn't say that but a great recipe for when your perplexed as to what to do with that head if cauliflower. There are way more better and interesting recipes in this book. I'm just starting with with what I have on hand. That's what makes you a better cook Ne C'est Pas?
I will be announcing a Giveaway shortly related to an upcoming book review. Stay Tuned!
I have been awfully quiet this week. So many things are happening right now. Certain Someone returned Friday for a meeting on Saturday. He then flew back this afternoon to Sweden for work. Over 3 weeks he has been away! This weekend we were so exhausted as I had a major event to work , a funeral,and he was in his meeting.
I woke Saturday to attend my Aunt "B's" funeral. I think we all have an Aunt B in our family tree. Not to speak ill of the dead, but a somewhat lovable, gossipy, recluse who lives with family members for all her life.Her obituary summed up her life in her devotion to her nieces and nephews as she was childless. Aunt B was something in her day and I heard many a hair raising tale.One of those old southern African American belles that was so fair she could be mistaken for white. Get the picture?Well anyway the funeral was almost comical as there were some family feuds brewing ,as is common when sides divide over care of an elderly Alzheimer stricken relative. The trouble makers who did absolutely nothing in regards to care showed up very late and combative.The following scenes played out like the final scene in the movie". Imitation of Life". Fannie Hurst could not have written it better. Picture the long lost favored niece arriving and throwing herself on the coffin begging for forgiveness as she just didn't have it in her to be there for her. I felt very uncomfortable and knowing the niece as I do ,had to look into my purse to avoid laughing as she started reciting Aunt B -isms to the amazed crowd.She missed her calling for sure. The minister saved the day as he definitely picking up on the weird vibes.I have been going to way to many funerals lately but Aunt B had a very long life. If only I live so long!
I then went to work at the society event of the year in Chicago. A wedding for a heiress whose families products would be something indispensable to most Americans. To rich to comphrehend!Anyway it was spectacular all day affair I witnessed from the service side.Talk about long night. When I got home at 3pm Certain Someone was "up" on Swedish time. It didn't make sense to adjust as he was turning right back around. Sunday we were just slugs to exhausted to move. I attempted to cook , but it wasn't my finest hour.My marinade on the skirt steak was a little to tangy from to much lime. I didn't even take a picture.
I just got a great new cookbook that I promise to cook from to get motivated again. La Bonne Cusine ,The Original Companion to French Home Cooking by Madame St Ange( translated by Paul Aratow). This was the book that Julia Child leaned on and was originally published in 1927. So bear with me readers.
I got to playing around this weekend. While rummaging through my pantry I found a can of Pandan Leaves Extract I had purchased a while ago for a cake. It costs around 86 cents. In this heat I wasn't up to cake so I thought of a sorbet. Unfortunately my freezer bowl for the ice cream maker wasn't ready. I immediately put it in the freezer for some hours and started on the base to refrigerate in the interim. Basically I made simple syrup which I later combined with some Cream of Coconut, Coconut extract, and a bit of Matcha powder. The color was an algae green color, but the taste was good. I cranked it up in the ice cream maker but I didn't see it starting to freeze at all. So back in bowl over night with and occasional check and stir. In the morning it was frozen in that sugary slushy sort of way. Not as solid as I wanted but sorbet texture. I cranked it in the freezer bowl again (which I put back in overnight) and the color turned from algae green to frothy pale green. The aerating increased the volume by a third at least. Back in the freezer it went. As I tried to photograph it, it melted fast. But the taste was pretty good. Maybe I will cut back on the sugar to get a more clear taste. I also thought it would make a great base for a frozen cocktail. So I added a shot of vodka, and more ice with a few scoops of sorbet to the blender. What I got was Pandantini. Both the sorbet and the drink would be good chillers to relax in the heat. I cant find my recipe book with sorbets for the ice cream maker, so I'm trying to see what may I have missed to not get the consistency more firm. Sorbets are delicate. I’m wondering if it was the extract. Good thing I didn’t add rum to the original base as planned.
1(14 fl oz) can Pandan Leaves Extract
2 2/3 cups sugar
3 cups water
2/3 cup Cream of Coconut (The milky creamy type in a can used as a base for Pina Coladas/non alcoholic)
1 teaspoon Coconut Extract
1 teaspoon Matcha Powder
Boil water and sugar together to form a simple syrup( approx 10 min). Add Pandan Leaves extract, Cream of Cococnut, coconut extract, and matcha. Whisk until incorporated. Refrigerate until cool. Place in a bowl and freeze. Once it starts to freeze stir occasionally to mix. Freeze several hours until frozen. Place in a frozen freezer bowl from you ice cream maker. Churn to aerate and until color changes to a paler frothy color of green.
So I'm sending these creations to two events. First The lovely Dhanggit is celebrating her baby's 1st birthday and she wants some Perfect Party Dishes.I'm sure she can serve up both .(Drinks just for the grown ups!)
And then the Pandantini is going over to Diary of a Fantatic Foodie. She is having a Front Porch Cocktail event.
Party On everyone!