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Need help with eclairs, please


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I would like to make eclairs for Mother's Day to take to my MIL.  I've made them before, but with limited success.  What I want to make is regular sized eclairs with the classic choux pastry.  I want to fill them with a pastry cream flavored with the Fiori di Sicilia that I just got.  I was thinking of using a poured fondant icing to ice them.  I've got a couple of issues:

 

1.  I'd love a recommendation for a really great choux pastry.  I haven't made them in a few years, but I've got pictures and they don't wow me.  

 

2.  I've got a couple of recipes for the pastry cream that I'm looking at:

          Serious Eats

          King Arthur

     Neither one is exactly what I want to do, but the Serious Eats one indicates that if I'm not infusing the milk, I don't need to I don't need to heat the milk before adding to the mixture, therefore no need to temper.  I figure that I can add the Fiori di Sicilia to taste at the end.  

 

So, does anyone have a good, dependable choux recipe for me and does anyone have any advice about my pastry cream idea?  Thank you so much!!!

 

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Yes, that recipe is the best ever choux I've ever  made.  I don't even use an egg wash and the color is beautiful (I'm also baking in a convection oven so you might need the egg wash).  I will eat the baked puffs without filling,  it's that good!

 

Chefpeon, years ago, posted Pichet Ong's recipe with her notes - she added one whole additional egg I think.  And her advice in trying to determine if you needed more egg, was to add just the white first, then the yolk if it was needed.

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10 minutes ago, JeanneCake said:

Yes, that recipe is the best ever choux I've ever  made.  I don't even use an egg wash and the color is beautiful (I'm also baking in a convection oven so you might need the egg wash).  I will eat the baked puffs without filling,  it's that good!

 

Chefpeon, years ago, posted Pichet Ong's recipe with her notes - she added one whole additional egg I think.  And her advice in trying to determine if you needed more egg, was to add just the white first, then the yolk if it was needed.

This one?

 

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2 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

I would like to make eclairs for Mother's Day to take to my MIL.  I've made them before, but with limited success.  What I want to make is regular sized eclairs with the classic choux pastry.  I want to fill them with a pastry cream flavored with the Fiori di Sicilia that I just got.  I was thinking of using a poured fondant icing to ice them.  I've got a couple of issues:

 

1.  I'd love a recommendation for a really great choux pastry.  I haven't made them in a few years, but I've got pictures and they don't wow me.  

 

2.  I've got a couple of recipes for the pastry cream that I'm looking at:

          Serious Eats

          King Arthur

     Neither one is exactly what I want to do, but the Serious Eats one indicates that if I'm not infusing the milk, I don't need to I don't need to heat the milk before adding to the mixture, therefore no need to temper.  I figure that I can add the Fiori di Sicilia to taste at the end.  

 

So, does anyone have a good, dependable choux recipe for me and does anyone have any advice about my pastry cream idea?  Thank you so much!!!

 

 

I used to make eclairs.  But not since I've lived here, and I've lived here more than forty years.

 

However I'm posting to caution you on the Fiori di Sicilia.  It is strong stuff and a little goes a long way.

 

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The Ong Choux dough looks remarkably similar to the Laiskonis If you want the recipe by weight, I'll post it. 

 

Pâte à Choux

Yield: approximately 800g
180g water
120g whole milk
120g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
30g sweetened condensed milk
2g salt
150g all purpose flour
4 large eggs
Place water, milk, butter, condensed milk, and salt into saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil.
2. Add the flour all at once to the boiling mixture. Stir with wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until a
smooth mass forms.
3. Keep cooking and stirring it around over moderate heat to dry out the dough as much as possible, about
2-3 minutes.
4. Transfer dough to mixer bowl. With the paddle attachment, beat at medium speed to release steam and
cool a bit for one minute.
5. At low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated between additions.
The dough should look smooth and glossy, stiff but not dry.
6. Transfer dough to a pastry bag with a plain tip and pipe out as desired.

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Thank you all SO much!  

 

So, regarding the pastry cream.  What do we think of this from Serious Eats:

"But you don't always need to temper when making pastry cream. It's only necessary if the milk needs to be heated first. For example, if you want to flavor the pastry cream by infusing the milk with something like the vanilla bean in this recipe, or the lemon zest in my lemon pastry cream, then tempering is necessary because the milk will have been heated during the infusion step.

However, if there’s no reason to preheat the milk, it’s perfectly okay to simply combine all of the pastry cream's ingredients while cold and heat them up together."

 

If I choose to do it the way I describe at the beginning - adding the extract at the end of the process - do you think it's ok to do the no-tempering method?

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Your question makes me realize I've never not heated the milk/sugar first any time I've made pastry cream.  I also take a page out of Roland Mesnier's book and put the eggs/sugar/cornstarch on a stand mixer on low speed with the whisk to mix while the milk heats.  Then I dribble in the milk while the mixer is still going (and usually I end up adding all the milk anyway, not just some of it) and then dump it all back in the pot, stirring like a mad woman while it thickens over low heat; then add the butter.  This is where I would add whatever extract I wanted to use (normally I am adding strips of orange zest to the milk while it heats the first time because we make our Boston Cream Pies with an orange-kissed pastry cream ;)).  Then I run it through a strainer into another container, cover the top with plastic wrap and done.

 

 

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You can add cold milk to your yolks+sugar+starch, it's not a problem. The only difference is that you will spend more time stirring on the pot.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, in spite of having a good, tried and true recipe and doing my best, my choux was a massive fail.  This was how the eclairs turned out after cooling:

IMG_5792.thumb.jpg.1c4b7905c03fbe416851eb827bf5a20c.jpg

I wouldn't have the slightest idea what was wrong - whether it was my method, my oven, etc., but we had another baking fail right after that, so I'm going to post a request for ideas.  I'll keep track of the recipe and try again later.  So discouraging! 

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

Well, in spite of having a good, tried and true recipe and doing my best, my choux was a massive fail.  This was how the eclairs turned out after cooling:

IMG_5792.thumb.jpg.1c4b7905c03fbe416851eb827bf5a20c.jpg

I wouldn't have the slightest idea what was wrong - whether it was my method, my oven, etc., but we had another baking fail right after that, so I'm going to post a request for ideas.  I'll keep track of the recipe and try again later.  So discouraging! 

Did they puff and then collapse or did they never puff at all?

 

Nevermind, I see you posted in another topic with more details and are getting some potential solutions.

 

Edited by curls (log)
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