Vanilla Eclairs

Editor’s Note: This is yet another post from a food blog I had started, and which went by the wayside when I started my new assignment. It’s about some vanilla eclairs I had made, using Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table”. They are awesome, and everyone should make them at least once in their life, if not many, many, many times more. S’amusez-vous!

delicious  eclairs
Delicious Eclairs

My food blog has turned into a “French Fridays with Dorie” blog, which is hardly a bad thing. Some priorities changed, some new projects arose, and I’ve been preoccupied with some other websites and various issues…

And that distraction is very evident in my eclairs here. The taste is light as air, subtle and fresh as could be, and I love the lemon in the glaze.

But the glazing work is a bit random and je ne sais quois. They are looking , well, not as wonderful as they might.

eclair dough in the making

Pate a choux is an interesting dough. I’ve worked with it several times before so I could learn about it, and even made a Gateau St. Honore which came out amazingly wonderful and beautiful. So how were eclairs to propose a problem for me in all my splendid magnificence?

eclairs

I was definitely non confident in piping out these eclairs.

Deflated Eclairs

Gaah!

The first batch took a disastrous turn for the worse by cooking too early on the outside and being raw on the inside. I’m still secretly struggling with it.

On the bright side, the ducks at the park loved them.

A flock of seagulls terrorized me trying to get in on the flattened eclair scene. Their aggression is completely amazing. I guess they don’t get pate a choux everyday.

Poor things. Someone should start a conservancy for them.

Be that as it may, I’m tempted to take a bag of bread along with my camera just to watch their in flight feeding antics. (Never flick a piece of flattened eclair inadvertently straight up over your head when a flock of seagulls is hovering about squawking madly. It isn’t pretty.)

Back to the drawing board.

Eclairs

These came out better. Still… I could use some practice with this dough. (And, I could stand to unpack all of my belongings and find my other cooling rack.)

I’ll have to make them a few more times and get the technique down. I read through La Bonne Cuisine de Madame Ste. Ange after my deflated eclair catastrophe, and used a bit of her advice as well. I ended up baking them at a steady 375, for a longer period of time (until they were done).

Eclairs

These are really very lovely desserts, despite my incredible and inexplicable lack of focus in glazing them. That eclair on the bottom right is almost glazed on its side.

But they are hardly complex to put together. I’m looking forward to making a few more batches after Easter and getting the hang of things.

Also I no longer have a southern and western light in the kitchen, but a much softer, and bluer, northern light.

That’s taking a bit of getting used to.

Cheers, all.

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