Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Daring Bakers: Eclairs

This month's challenge was hosted by Meeta of What's for Lunch, Honey? and Tony of A Warm Welcome. They chose to have us make eclairs this month. I was going away with my family for a vacation at the beginning of the month and thought it would be a great idea to make it while there since there would be more people to help eat them. Lee and I end up eating to many when I make the challenges at home.

I've never really been fond of eclairs, nor have I ever made them. My family was excited for eclairs, though. We were given the choice of flavoring, as long as we kept one chocolate element of the dish. My dad chose to have a vanilla flavored filling with the chocolate glaze instead of the chocolate pastry cream. I have heard other Daring Bakers say that the chocolate pastry cream was delicious, so part of me was disappointed that I didn't make it!

I made this while at my grandfather's cottage in New Hampshire. Since he rents out the cottage, they don't have the best cookware. People tend to take nice things in rental properties. I don't understand that, but it's a sad fact. Unfortunately, that meant I had to make these without modern conveniences such as my Kitchen Aid.

I was a bit nervous when I read the directions and it said you could make the batter for the eclairs by hand "if your arms aren't too tired" since I had no choice but to mix by hand, but it wasn't bad.

I didn't have any pastry tips with me. I had already left my house before the recipe was announced, so I didn't know I would want to bring them. I just used a plastic Ziploc bag with a hole clipped out.

My eclairs worked out ok, but one sheet of eclairs deflated. This was a pretty common problem with some Daring Bakers and I think it was due to steam.

Both my glaze and pastry cream turned out well. I wasn't able to spread my glaze with a spatula like the directions said, so I just used a spoon to pour it over the top of the eclairs.

The pastry cream ended up being a group effort! My grandfather's cottage didn't have any electric mixers, so I had to use a rotary beater. Actually, my dad and sister's boyfriend had to use a rotary beater to beat the whipped cream (Lee wasn't able to come up for the vacation). I thought we were going to have to use a whisk, so my dad and sister's boyfriend were happier to use the rotary beater that we found. It didn't actually take them all that long. I did chill the bowl down in the fridge for a while before whipping the cream, though.

Everyone loved the eclairs and I loved that I was able to be creative with my picture taking! I didn't take pictures of the process, but I did take a picture of the eclairs on a lily pad. I had been planning all week to take a picture of them on the lily pads. Unfortunately, none of the pink flowers close enough to shore were blooming when I took the picture, but I'm pretty pleased with this one. When I showed the picture to Lee, he started to ask if the picture was photoshopped before he realized he was looking at it in the camera!


Made by Lena