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Éclairs Modernes

Spring 2015
201502041.jpg
food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

Several years ago, macarons underwent a transformation from old-school tea treat to modern palettes of flavour and colour. More recently, the stuffy old éclair has undergone a similar re-think. Salted caramel, tropical fruit, even tea is the name of the flavour-game for the modern éclair. Here are three variations on a theme. Pick your favourite or do as we did and make an assortment.

PASTRY
½ cup (125 mL) milk
½ cup (125 mL) water
2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter (1 stick)
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
1¼ cups (310 mL) all-purpose flour
4 eggs

BASIC PASTRY CREAM
3 egg yolks
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
1½ cups (375 mL) whole milk
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
2 tbsp (30 mL) icing sugar

1 Arrange oven racks in top and middle positions. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).

2 In a medium pot over medium heat, combine milk, water, sugar, salt and butter; bring to a boil. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour all at once and stir until mixture comes away from the side of the pot. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook mixture, stirring all the while, for 3 minutes longer.

3 Remove from heat and turn out into a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer). Beat with an electric mixer (or with the paddle attachment of stand mixer) for 3 minutes to cool some what. Continue to beat and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch (1-cm) round or French pastry tip. Twist bag to enclose batter and let rest for 20 minutes.

4 Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Pipe batter into two-dozen 4-inch-long (10-cm) batons, a scant ¾-inch (2-cm) wide, allowing for equal space between them. Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 350°F (180°C). Bake, switching racks midway through, for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden, puffed and crisp. Allow to cool on a rack.

5 To make basic pastry cream, mix egg and sugar together in a large heatproof bowl. Sift flour and corn starch together and add to egg mixture. Stir to form a smooth paste.

6 Heat milk to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from heat and whisk slowly into egg mixture. Return mixture to pot and set over medium-low heat. Whisking constantly, bring mixture back to a boil; cook 1 minute longer. Pour into a heatproof bowl, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

7 In a separate large bowl, whip cream to soft peaks. Add icing sugar and whip to stiff peaks.

8 Stir chilled pastry cream; fold in one-third of whipped cream. Fold in remaining whipped cream.

9 Cut éclairs in half to form a top and bottom. Decoratively pipe desired filling (recipes follow) onto bottoms. Decorate tops with appropriate glaze and place on top of pastry cream.

Makes 24


PASSION FRUIT & RASPBERRY ÉCLAIRS

1 Flavour basic pastry cream by adding ½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract to milk before scalding; increase cornstarch by 1 tsp (5 mL). Scoop the seeds and pulp from 5 passion fruit into a fine meshed sieve set over a bowl; using a spatula press mixture to release as much juice as possible. Discard seeds and measure out ⅓ cup (80 mL) juice. Whisk into boiled and thickened custard. Chill as directed and proceed to incorporate whipped cream.

2 For glaze, mash ¼ cup (60 mL) thawed frozen raspberries; add to 1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar. Stir to combine.


LAVENDER & LEMON ÉCLAIRS

1 Prior to beginning basic pastry cream, bring milk to a simmer in pot; add 2 tsp (10 mL) dried lavender and 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
extract. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain mixture, return milk to pot and proceed with basic pastry
cream recipe from the beginning using lavender-flavoured milk.

2 For glaze, combine 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated lemon zest, 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (15 mL plus 5 mL) lemon juice, and 1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar; stir.


PISTACHIO & ORANGE ÉCLAIRS

1 Begin by making a pistachio paste by blanching ¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted pistachios in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove with
a slotted spoon to a clean dish towel, enclose and rub nuts between towel to remove skins. Leave skins behind and place pistachios in a food processor along with 1 tbsp (15 mL) ground almonds, 1 tbsp (15 mL) icing sugar, 3 drops almond extract and 1 drop green food colouring (optional); process to a smooth paste. Whisk pistachio paste into chilled custard before folding in whipped cream.

2 For glaze, combine 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated orange zest, 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (15 mL plus 5 mL) orange juice, 1 tsp (5 mL) orange blossom water (optional) and 1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar; stir.

201502041.jpg
food and drink

Éclairs Modernes

Spring 2015

BY: Christopher St. Onge

Several years ago, macarons underwent a transformation from old-school tea treat to modern palettes of flavour and colour. More recently, the stuffy old éclair has undergone a similar re-think. Salted caramel, tropical fruit, even tea is the name of the flavour-game for the modern éclair. Here are three variations on a theme. Pick your favourite or do as we did and make an assortment.

PASTRY
½ cup (125 mL) milk
½ cup (125 mL) water
2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter (1 stick)
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
1¼ cups (310 mL) all-purpose flour
4 eggs

BASIC PASTRY CREAM
3 egg yolks
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
1½ cups (375 mL) whole milk
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
2 tbsp (30 mL) icing sugar

1 Arrange oven racks in top and middle positions. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).

2 In a medium pot over medium heat, combine milk, water, sugar, salt and butter; bring to a boil. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour all at once and stir until mixture comes away from the side of the pot. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook mixture, stirring all the while, for 3 minutes longer.

3 Remove from heat and turn out into a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer). Beat with an electric mixer (or with the paddle attachment of stand mixer) for 3 minutes to cool some what. Continue to beat and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch (1-cm) round or French pastry tip. Twist bag to enclose batter and let rest for 20 minutes.

4 Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Pipe batter into two-dozen 4-inch-long (10-cm) batons, a scant ¾-inch (2-cm) wide, allowing for equal space between them. Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 350°F (180°C). Bake, switching racks midway through, for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden, puffed and crisp. Allow to cool on a rack.

5 To make basic pastry cream, mix egg and sugar together in a large heatproof bowl. Sift flour and corn starch together and add to egg mixture. Stir to form a smooth paste.

6 Heat milk to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from heat and whisk slowly into egg mixture. Return mixture to pot and set over medium-low heat. Whisking constantly, bring mixture back to a boil; cook 1 minute longer. Pour into a heatproof bowl, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

7 In a separate large bowl, whip cream to soft peaks. Add icing sugar and whip to stiff peaks.

8 Stir chilled pastry cream; fold in one-third of whipped cream. Fold in remaining whipped cream.

9 Cut éclairs in half to form a top and bottom. Decoratively pipe desired filling (recipes follow) onto bottoms. Decorate tops with appropriate glaze and place on top of pastry cream.

Makes 24


PASSION FRUIT & RASPBERRY ÉCLAIRS

1 Flavour basic pastry cream by adding ½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract to milk before scalding; increase cornstarch by 1 tsp (5 mL). Scoop the seeds and pulp from 5 passion fruit into a fine meshed sieve set over a bowl; using a spatula press mixture to release as much juice as possible. Discard seeds and measure out ⅓ cup (80 mL) juice. Whisk into boiled and thickened custard. Chill as directed and proceed to incorporate whipped cream.

2 For glaze, mash ¼ cup (60 mL) thawed frozen raspberries; add to 1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar. Stir to combine.


LAVENDER & LEMON ÉCLAIRS

1 Prior to beginning basic pastry cream, bring milk to a simmer in pot; add 2 tsp (10 mL) dried lavender and 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
extract. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain mixture, return milk to pot and proceed with basic pastry
cream recipe from the beginning using lavender-flavoured milk.

2 For glaze, combine 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated lemon zest, 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (15 mL plus 5 mL) lemon juice, and 1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar; stir.


PISTACHIO & ORANGE ÉCLAIRS

1 Begin by making a pistachio paste by blanching ¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted pistachios in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove with
a slotted spoon to a clean dish towel, enclose and rub nuts between towel to remove skins. Leave skins behind and place pistachios in a food processor along with 1 tbsp (15 mL) ground almonds, 1 tbsp (15 mL) icing sugar, 3 drops almond extract and 1 drop green food colouring (optional); process to a smooth paste. Whisk pistachio paste into chilled custard before folding in whipped cream.

2 For glaze, combine 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated orange zest, 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (15 mL plus 5 mL) orange juice, 1 tsp (5 mL) orange blossom water (optional) and 1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar; stir.

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