Makes 12 éclairs
1¼ cups (310 ml) all-purpose flour
9 tablespoons (135 ml) salted butter
½ cup (125 ml) water
½ cup (125 ml) milk
1½ cups (375 ml) whipping cream
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
¼ cup (60 ml) icing sugar
½ cup (125 ml) chopped dark chocolate
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon (15 ml) light corn syrup
For the choux pastry
1. On medium heat, place a pot with the milk, water, and butter and slowly bring to the boil.
2. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon, constantly stirring until mixture is smooth, and the flour has cooked out with no moisture left.
3. Return the pot on low heat and stir for a few minutes more, so the flour can cook out.
4. Spread dough onto a cookie sheet and cool.
5. When dough is fully cooled, transfer to an electric mixing bowl. Beat the dough for a few moments. Stir in egg one by one until fully incorporated. The texture of the dough should fall away loosely from the mixing attachment, to form a “v”. If it is too stiff, add a small amount of warm milk.
6. Preheat oven to 350°F (175 °C). Fill a piping bag with choux mixture. Pipe 5-inch lines of mixture with a large star tip on a greased baking tray, or silicone mat and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 325°F (160 °C) and bake for 20 more minutes. Remove choux from the oven. Using a skewer, poke holes in the bottom of the choux.
7. For the filling: To make the cream filling, whip cream until it forms soft peaks. Add vanilla and icing sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Pipe the cream into éclairs.
8. For the chocolate glaze: Warm cream over low heat. Remove from heat and scrape in chocolate and corn syrup until fully melted and shiny. Dip eclairs into the melted chocolate.
Essentials to get you through
1/ Valrhona Caraïbe 66%
This aromatic dark chocolate made from Grand Cru beans from small plantations is the ultimate indulgence. Delicate almond and roasted coffee are balanced with fruity acidity and the velvety texture is perfect for baking, or, snacking.
2/ Crate and Barrel Moderno Glass Bowl
If you’re a baking multi-tasker, these transparent bowls are essential to keep track of ingredients. Sturdy glass looks beautiful on countertops, make separating eggs a breeze and is ideal for small, kitchen helpers.
3/ Watkins Organic Vanilla Powder
A blend of vanilla beans and sugar, this versatile powder easily dissolves into milkshakes, or your cup of coffee. Sprinkle into baked goods like cookie, cake and pie recipes or into frostings, and icings to add that familiar warmth.
4/ Robin Hood Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
At this time of year there’s no doing without it, from squares, pies and plated desserts to sponges and choux buns, there’s no sifting required.
2.5kg, $5.67; robinhood.ca
5/ Carnation Evaporated Milk
With 60% of the water from fresh milk being removed, this luscious creamy milk makes a fantastic substitution for cream. Add to frosting, ganache, or cakes for richness.
Try French pastry chefs favourite chocolate pastry custard with Valrhona chocolate:
Chocolate Pastry Custard
220g whole milk
50g full fat liquid cream
2 egg yolks
85g Valrhona Guanaja 70%
Chop the chocolate and melt it down slowly in a bain-marie or in a micro wave oven set at medium power. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar and cornstarch. In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to boiling point and stir about a third in the previous mixture using a whisk. Bring the remaining liquid to the boil, pour in the thinned down mixture and cook over low heat whisking constantly until the pastry custard thickens. Cook the custard for about 1 minute making sure that the custard doesn’t stick at the bottom of the saucepan. Pour a third of the hot custard on the chocolate and stir the center with a rubber spatula in order to create a smooth, glossy and elastic core of emulsion. Pour in the second third of cream and repeat the same process. Then, finish with the last third making sure to keep the same texture all along. Smooth, cling wrap in contact of the custard and set aside in the refrigerator.
This original article first appeared in the Winter 2022/23 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.