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My Eclair Filling


Grub
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Tried making some eclairs the other day (never done this before) and while the eclairs themselves came out just great, the filling was way too thin. I've never actually had an eclair before, so I didn't quite realize it until I tried eating one of the suckers, and the filling just dripped and drooled and drained out everywhere...

I whisked it plenty, so I suspect my problem is that I didn't heat the filling enough when I made it. This double-boiler I use just doesn't get hot enough -- I've given up on it when making hollandaise sauce, and am just using a regular pan instead. I'm thinking, this is what I need to do with the eclair filling as well.

An egg-based mixture needs heat to thicken up properly, right?

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Tried making some eclairs the other day (never done this before) and while the eclairs themselves came out just great, the filling was way too thin. I've never actually had an eclair before, so I didn't quite realize it until I tried eating one of the suckers, and the filling just dripped and drooled and drained out everywhere...

I whisked it plenty, so I suspect my problem is that I didn't heat the filling enough when I made it. This double-boiler I use just doesn't get hot enough -- I've given up on it when making hollandaise sauce, and am just using a regular pan instead. I'm thinking, this is what I need to do with the eclair filling as well.

An egg-based mixture needs heat to thicken up properly, right?

That and time, assuming you are doing a custard, and that's the best filling for eclairs in my opinion.

I know I have run out of patience waiting for the custard to thicken a time or two, even though the recipe was perfectly good. Custards stick and scorch under direct heat. Maybe you can use one of those metal thingys (can't remember what they are called at the moment) and direct heat? Are you using gas or electric?

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I made eclairs a couple weeks ago with Martha Stewarts recipe. I really like how she does her filling. She makes a pastry cream, but then she lightens it with half whipped cream.

Since I 'm not huge on custards I really love it. I don't know if it would help your thickness problem though.

-

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Okay cornstarch has to come to a boil to thicken, correct? Then why do the recipes tell you to bring the temp to 170-190 degrees?

I made pastry cream the other day with my thermopen. It got to the required temp. and was still completly liquid. Why do they do that when 212 is boiliing?

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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I do not know whose recipe you are following that says to cook it to that temperature, but pastry cream requires to be boiled in order to a) thicken it, and b) cook the starch out. I wouldn't bother with a thermometer. Let your eyes and the feel of the cream guide you on the thickening, and your tongue guide you as to whether the starch is cooked out or not.

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I made an interesting discovery about pastry cream and thickening over the holidays. I had made a batch of pastry cream and frozen it. When I thawed it, it had thinned out considerably. In a (rare) flash of inspiration, I reheated the cream to the boiling point and it re-thickened beautifully.

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If you're gonna eat them fresh, use fresh cream and enjoy. If they are going to stand in a shop window for a week, use custard.

Sweeten the cream with a little icing sugar and flavour it with a spirit / liqueur. I like Cointreau.

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If you're gonna eat them fresh, use fresh cream and enjoy. If they are going to stand in a shop window for a week, use custard.

Um... I really wouldn't advise someone to put a custard filled eclair in the window for a week!! :shock:

Creme patissiere is something that is very susceptible to bacteria, and it has a refridgerated life of about 4-5 days..... I really wouldn't advise you to keep it longer than that.

Don't waste your time or time will waste you - Muse

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If you're gonna eat them fresh, use fresh cream and enjoy. If they are going to stand in a shop window for a week, use custard.

Um... I really wouldn't advise someone to put a custard filled eclair in the window for a week!! :shock:

Creme patissiere is something that is very susceptible to bacteria, and it has a refridgerated life of about 4-5 days..... I really wouldn't advise you to keep it longer than that.

sorry, my humour is a little dry

Edited by fatmat (log)
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An egg-based mixture needs heat to thicken up properly, right?

Harold McGee points out that egg-thickened mixtures need to be cooked at least a couple of minutes, otherwise an enzyme will cause the mixture to thin out considerably over hours to days. I've noticed this myself and was glad to know why.

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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An egg-based mixture needs heat to thicken up properly, right?

Harold McGee points out that egg-thickened mixtures need to be cooked at least a couple of minutes, otherwise an enzyme will cause the mixture to thin out considerably over hours to days. I've noticed this myself and was glad to know why.

Interesting -- I wonder whether that's why my frozen pastry cream thinned out? Perhaps I should let it cook high for a few more minutes? (I'm always worried about scorching.)

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iam testing eclairs for the opening of our small bakery early next month, my two cents are that a pastrycream needs to be cooked very well or else it tastes horrible. we use an induction cooktop and set the temp to 101 c which boils it without scorching (and therefor the need to sieve it afterwards ;-) when it comes to the choux itself i found out that one egg under and your eclair will not rise well, one egg over you eclair will rise but fall... i also discovered that limp eclairs from two days ago can be beautyfull recrisped at 2 mins / 180 c / convection

my favourite recipe when it comes to the filling is a praline pastrycream piped in the lower half of the eclair, and then cover it with a slightly enforced chantilly cream. since a few months there is this new instant gelatine on the market, sprinkle a teaspoon or so into the half whipped cream continue whipping cool and pipe... its really nice and smooth

cheers

t.

toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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iam testing eclairs for the opening of our small bakery early next month

I hope you take the time to post pictures of your new bakery when it opens. I'm sure others would also be interested.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Grub,

I'm assuming you are making these at home and not for sale? If that's the case, I've a filling you might like that's super easy, yet tasty, it's just not what the general public would think of as an eclair filling. Take cream cheese and whip it with your flavoring (jams work great for fruit, you can do straight vanilla, or chocolate). Then whip some cream and fold them together. This filling holds great and is quite versatile.

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Excellent -- I'm really grateful for all the help, and feel pretty confident that I'll get it right the next time, with your advice.

The recipe is from an old collection of cooking books called "Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cooking." Although the filling is just referred to as "filling," I believe it is pastry cream, and not custard, since it does contain corn starch (what exactly is the difference between the two anyhow, except for the cornstarch?). And yes of course, corn starch needs to be heated properly to thicken -- I didn't think of that. I'm using an electric burner, and as I said, the double-boiler arrangement I set up was insufficient to work with a hollandaise, so I'm going to just use a pan instead. I've since seen pastry cream recipes that does without a double boiler, so I should be set.

The recipe (scaled down to half) is: 1.5 cups water, 6 Tbsp sugar, 3 Tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, 1.5 beaten eggs (I used 1), 1/2 Tbsp butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Thanks for the help!

Edited by Grub (log)
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I believe it is pastry cream, and not custard, since it does contain corn starch (what exactly is the difference between the two anyhow, except for the cornstarch?)

My understanding, which may be incorrect, is that any mixture of sweetened milk/cream and eggs is a custard, and pastry cream is just a custard thickened with corn starch.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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My favorite cream puff filling is called a cornstarch custard. You stir in a double boiler until it starts to thicken, then cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the (tempered) eggs/egg yolks for the last 5 minutes. The recipe says to cut the milk if you are going to mold the custard. Perhaps all you might need to do--assuming you like your custard anyway--is to cut the liquid. Personally, I can't imagine this filling made with water.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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I've since seen pastry cream recipes that does without a double boiler, so I should be set.

Yes, no need for a double broiler. Just pay attention and keep whisking all the time once it starts to thicken.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Excellent -- I'm really grateful for all the help, and feel pretty confident that I'll get it right the next time, with your advice.

The recipe is from an old collection of cooking books called "Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cooking." Although the filling is just referred to as "filling," I believe it is pastry cream, and not custard, since it does contain corn starch (what exactly is the difference between the two anyhow, except for the cornstarch?). And yes of course, corn starch needs to be heated properly to thicken -- I didn't think of that. I'm using an electric burner, and as I said, the double-boiler arrangement I set up was insufficient to work with a hollandaise, so I'm going to just use a pan instead. I've since seen pastry cream recipes that does without a double boiler, so I should be set.

The recipe (scaled down to half) is: 1.5 cups water, 6 Tbsp sugar, 3 Tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, 1.5 beaten eggs (I used 1), 1/2 Tbsp butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Thanks for the help!

This is the first time I've seen water used. Unless your really working with this recipe for the fun of exploring it, I'd suggest trying a different recipe all together. I don't know of anyone using a water based pastry cream. Water isn't going to give you any richness/flavor.

Also a double boiler should have been fine for making hollandaise. Eggs with-out starch (hollandiase) set up thick at 180F, scramble at 190F. Where as a pastry cream needs to boil at 212F.

I also have never heard of anyone using a double boiler to make pastry cream. It's common to do it dirrectly in a pan.

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...

This is the first time I've seen water used. Unless your really working with this recipe for the fun of exploring it, I'd suggest trying a different recipe all together. I don't know of anyone using a water based pastry cream. Water isn't going to give you any richness/flavor.

...

You're quite right -- I apologize! D'oh... It DOES use milk, and not water (and I did use milk, not water -- I made a mistake when posting the recipe). This set off an alarm bell in my head, because that Woman's Day Encyclopedia has generally proven itself to be a really good source for recipes -- especially classics like that.

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ye gods, if we had to use a double boiler for our pastry cream at work (where we do batches starting with 4 gallons of milk every day, at the very least), it would never get done! :blink:

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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That old encyclopedia of cooking has been a family favorite since it was new.

I have had bad luck with only one recipe in the set. (Although I haven't made all of them.) Gave it to my daughter several years ago.

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