French pastries look and tastes amazing and now, you can easily make them at home with the help of Renee Kohlman's new book, All the Sweet Things. The founder of sweetsugarbean.com showcases some of her favourite cakes, cookies, pastries and desserts that you can create in your own kitchen. She will be having her book release party with treats and wine at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon on Monday, April 24th.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring once or twice. Once the butter melts and the mixture is bubbling, turn down the heat to low and add the flour all at once. Stir immediately with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Keep stirring until the mixture is thick and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan, about 5 minutes. This allows the moisture to evaporate and allows more fat to be absorbed when the eggs are added. When the dough steams a little and smells kinda nutty, you know you’re doing great!
Immediately transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute to cool the dough. Add 4 eggs, one at a time and beating each one until it’s thoroughly incorporated. Be sure to stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl after each addition. After you’ve beaten in the last egg, the mixture should be glossy and thick, but still pourable. When scooped into a spoon, the dough should slowly pour off the spoon. If it doesn’t fall off, or it comes off in one big lump, beat in the fifth egg.
Congratulations! You’ve just made choux paste!
Scoop the dough into a piping bag with a large, round tip, or use a resealable plastic bag and cut a corner off. Pipe the éclairs onto the prepared baking sheets so they are approximately finger length and width. I have huge hands, so my éclairs are about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. Bake the éclairs for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from bottom shelf to top and turn down the heat to 350°F. Bake for another 15–20 minutes, until they’re a medium golden brown and dry to the touch. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool. Immediately poke a few holes on top of the éclairs using a toothpick.
This lets the steam out so they don’t go soggy inside. Let the éclairs cool completely before filling with cream.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla on high speed until medium peaks form.
Place the chocolate and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, until it just starts to bubble. Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate mixture. Let it sit for 2 minutes, then stir until it’s completely smooth. Pour the glaze into a long, shallow bowl.
To assemble the éclairs, cut each éclair in half using a serrated knife. Fit a piping bag with a star tip and fill it with the whipped cream filling. Pipe the cream over the bottom of each éclair. Arrange 5 raspberries on top of the cream. Dip the top of each éclair into the chocolate glaze and gently set it on top of the raspberries. Repeat until all of the éclairs are assembled. Garnish with fresh, edible flowers, if you like. (Only use flowers, from reliable sources, that have not been treated with pesticides or toxins.)
Éclairs are best eaten the day they are made, but you can freeze them after they’ve been baked and before they’ve been filled or glazed for up to 1 month. Just thaw completely and proceed with the recipe as above.