Je suis enchanté avec eclairs!

Je suis enchanté avec eclairs!

There is nothing more heavenly than a light, flaky pastry filled with a rich vanilla cream sauce, topped off with a silky chocolate ganache.  Ironically, even though they seem so challenging to make, they are really quite simple - a custard, a pastry, and a two ingredient ganache.

For the cream sauce, first milk is simmered with a vanilla bean that has been cut open and the seeds scraped out (and also added to the milk).

In a bowl, sugar, flour, a pinch of salt, and a few eggs are mixed together:

Add a bit of the hot milk, and mix it in.  This brings up the temperature of the egg mixture slowly, without cooking the eggs.

(In the background, you can see another bowl set up with a strainer; that is to strain the final custard before chilling). Once all of the milk is added into the egg mixture, it all goes back in the pan, and back on the stove. After cooking for about a minute, it will be thick and rich and super yummy. Then it gets strained into a bowl.  I give it a stir every few minutes; once it's cool enough, I put plastic wrap on top of the custard, so the top doesn't get dry, and put it in the fridge. (The black and white checkered pot holder, by the way, has a cow on the other side. I have had the stupid pot holder longer than just about anything I own, and EVERY time I look at it, I think, I REALLY need to move out of the 80's and get a cooler potholder!!!)

After the pastry cream goes in the refrigerator, it's time to start the pastry dough. It's a french pate a choux, which uses steam to make it rise, instead of a leavening agent. The only ingredients in a pate a choux are water, butter, flour, salt, and eggs.  This, in fact, is how much butter goes into one batch:

In a pan, the water, butter, and salt is brought to a simmer:

And then the flour is vigorously stirred in, all at once, with a wooden spoon.  It turns into a dough that balls up around the spoon.

Eggs are beaten in, one at a time, until the dough is smooth and shiny and happy.

Into a pastry bag it goes, so that it can be piped onto baking sheets.

Once they are golden brown and delicious, take them out, cool them, then cut them in half and fill with the chilled pastry cream:

Top with the melted ganache, which is just heavy cream and chocolate:

And voila!  A happy, heavenly eclair. : )


that looks delicious! save me some!

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