Foodiva's Kitchen: Vanilla (Chocolate & Matcha) Éclairs - French Fridays with Dorie

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vanilla (Chocolate & Matcha) Éclairs - French Fridays with Dorie


Its only my second week of French Fridays with Dorie, and the complexity of the recipes has already risen up a notch. From leisurely steaming broccoli last week to this, making éclairs. I was slightly intimidated to start off with but then realized that I had no real reason to be. Despite common perception, éclairs are actually not that complicated to make especially when you've got Dorie's soothing words guiding you.

My arsenal of choice for this challenge consisted of a wooden spoon, different-sized ziplock bags, gigantic piping tips, an ice water bath and really strong arms. Okay, I cheated on the arms part and gave in to the convenience of an electric whisk. If you even have the slightest intention of conjuring up choux pastry and its accompanying custard cream filling one day, then this you should know, there's going to be some seriously heavy duty stirring/whisking involved! So be prepared and muscle up your strong arm.

My ridge fetish

I don't want to mislead you into thinking that this was the first time I've ever attempted éclairs, oh no....I have made these puff, puff babies before. Once. My last flavor combination was lavender and black sesame éclairs with dulce de leche pastry cream filling. Quite the adventurous little missy I was, and I won't even waste your time explaining the rationale behind that feat. In short, those flavors worked amazingly well. You'll probably be relieved to know that this time round, the recipe in Dorie's book, 'Around My French Table' stated simply Vanilla Éclairs. Sadly, I had no excuse to go too far off the plot.


Saying that, however, I couldn't claim the right to call mine an adventurer's kitchen if I didn't at least try to explore other possibilities. So here are some things I did a bit differently to my heart's calling:
1. I used a star tip to pipe out my choux pastry because I actually like the beauty of ridges on my éclairs.
2. I opted for a bitter-ish, dark chocolate ganache glaze instead of the tart, sugary version suggested in the recipe. The ganache made for easy glazing, especially on the ridges. I just dipped the tops of the éclairs in the soft ganache and it spread very readily over and in between the ridges.
3. Apart from the vanilla flavored pastry cream, I also made additional chocolate and matcha cream fillings. It was easy, I just divided the vanilla cream into 3 equal portions, added melted chocolate to one and a teaspoon of matcha powder to the other. The third portion was left plain.
4. As I was preparing to fill the choux fingers, I had a lightning (haha) moment. Wouldn't it be a great idea to pipe two flavors into each éclair? Chocolate-vanilla. Vanilla-Matcha. Matcha-Chocolate. You get the idea. The execution wasn't as simple - I had to engineer a large enough piping bag out of heavy duty plastic ziplock, and fitted two little baby ziplocks in there filled with the different flavored pastry creams. Not a pretty sight as you can see below, but it worked. You can't tell from these photos but I actually had bi-flavored éclairs. It's nice to have a little bit of something for everyone, you know.

My makeshift ziplock piping bag for dispensing the double-flavored pastry cream!

5. It was raining a typical rainforest thunderstorm the day I made these so I knew there would be trouble as far as maintaining the puffiness of the pastry was concerned. Luckily, I'd burnt my fingers from hot ovens too many times just so I could gain this knowledge... which is, the best strategy for combating humidity is to let the cooked choux pastry dry and cool in the oven well after the stated cooking time. I simply turned off the heat, lodged a wooden spoon in the oven door (to keep it ajar) and left it for an hour. Guess what, the choux fingers stayed proudly puffy....not a single one had deflated.

Chocolate, vanilla, matcha or me?

So there you have it, a recount of my fairly uneventful (but plenty messy!) éclair attempt. The verdict from The Clan was super-thumbs up! Oh, the kids didn't really notice the double flavors so I managed to get them to down some matcha which is a sizeable achievement. If you wish to learn the recipe, you'll likely have to buy the book. After which, you might as well join along and cook with us. Take your pick of éclairs from the other FFWD bloggers here.

51 comments:

the [sugar] apothecary said...

Double flavored pastry cream?! I have been craving eclairs like CRAZY lately! You are spot on with your lovely ridges, too. They came out beautiful!

Foodiva said...

Hiya, glad you liked these and hope you'll find a way to satisfy your craving soon. Bad thing I don't live in NYC, otherwise these eclairs will be at your doorstep in no time!

Culinarian said...

Yum!!!!!

Foodiva said...

@Culinarian. Thanks, killer fluffernutter creator! LOL.

Now Serving said...

Hi first time here - love all the pics on your home page!!!! YUM YUM and YUM

Joy said...

That looks wonderful.

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious eclairs
lovely picture on the header
regards

Sandra said...

Every time I visit you amaze me ..this looks so good Maya..Love the recipe and how you made it!!! Creative!!!

Roxana GreenGirl said...

I haven't visited you in a while :(
these eclairs look perfect like all your dishes. love your match twist on the filling, so creative. thanks for sharing Maya

A.W. said...

gorgeous! i have a tin of matcha tea powder lying around. will definitely try it again with your idea!

Lizzy said...

Totally fabulous! Beautiful in every way!

Steph said...

Your eclairs came out so beautifully! Wish I had read your post before making mine. Every single one of mine fell...twice!! I love the doubled piping idea too. Very creative! (And welcome to FFWD!!)

Foodiva said...

I'm loving everyone's experiences with eclair making over at FFWD! Thanks for coming by, guys.

Kris' Kitchen said...

You are so clever with your multi flavored piping bag...and your eclairs are beautiful...look perfect.

KarenP said...

Those are beautiful and look delicious!

Christina said...

These look perfect. I love the ridges.

Rosemary & Garlic said...

I like using the star to fill the eclairs. Beautiful

Cher said...

The matcha pastry cream has piqued my interest! Really lovely variations & clever engineering on the pastry bag.

Mary said...

I am bowing down before the double flavored pastry cream....nice work....I can't believe you made matcha...wow, that blows plain vanilla out of the water!

Kathy said...

Great pictures! You did a beautiful job on these. Love that you experimented!

yummychunklet said...

Your double pastry cream idea was so creative! And I like your star-tipped piped choux! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I've added yours to my Google Reader and look forward to reading your future ffwD posts!

Sis. Boom. said...

Wow. Loving it! These are great!

michelangelo in the kitchen said...

Maya, only you can come up with fabulous ideas like double pastry cream! Absolutely exquisite!!! I am amazed at the marvelous things you did for the past week! They all look stunning and delicious! I clearly see your passion for food and adventure shining through! I just love to see your posts that are always full of surprises and curiosity. You are one of a kind, I have to say!!!

chefpandita.com said...

I love matcha! So creative :)

Raji said...

Wonderful looking eclairs...lovely presentation.

Michael Toa said...

Fantastic Maya! I love the multi flavoured piping bag. I never made eclairs before. I don't know why. One of these days, I'll be sure to give it a go :)

Evan Thomas said...

Beautiful presentation and flavors!

amanda @ fake ginger said...

Lovely eclairs! I love that you had 2 flavors inside of them - brilliant idea!

Allison said...

Absolutely divine! Love all your process shots! I was too wrapped up in freak out mode to even look for my camera. Fabulous post!

Adriana said...

The ridges look fantastic... just like the bakeries! What an ingenious way to pipe in the mixed flavors. I also relied in the stand mixer while preparing the choux pastry dough!

Pacheco Patty said...

Wow, chocolate and matcha fillings, how wonderful!
I like the star tip for the ridges, now that's my idea of having a little fun with this recipe.
Great job and nice photos, I made too big of a mess in my kitchen, chocolate everywhere including all over me, to show off in photos;-)

Ms. Hobby said...

Those look amazing. I think it is great that you played around with this and piped in two flavors at once.

Betsy said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I love the ridgy eclairs.

Candy Girl said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

skip to malou said...

ooh lala, i love the double fillings, they are oozing with decadence... i so love it.
My first time here and I feel like i've known you long before haha. I love your happy space!

Here's to knowing you more through your posts...
cheers!
Malou

Elaine said...

I learned so much in reading your post! I love all your combinations and piping two flavors of pastry cream is a wonderful idea! I am going to remember your tip for combating humidity when I make these for my family the next time I visit Florida. All of your eclairs look gorgeous! I also like the ridge look.

Jenny (VintageSugarcube) said...

Maya- Those eclairs completely blow me away. You are superwoman!! Does you family know how incredibly lucky they are to have THE one and only Foodiva in the house? XOXO

Foodiva said...

Jenny, in answer to your question above....NO, they don't! But I will parade your comment under their noses to drive home the point. LOL. Thanks, babe. Really appreciate you popping by. Mwaahs!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Oh you were ambitious making them with ridges - it was all I could do to get the glaze on relatively smooth tops! A fabulous job with this week's FFWD - I love the idea of that matcha cream filling :)

gaaarp said...

Your eclairs look delicious! I didn't get around to making this recipe this week, but I definitely have to try it soon.

Candy (Dulce) said...

Your eclairs look wonderful! While I made them, they were plain vanilla (ok, that's not a bad thing), but knew I'd see plenty of great combinations from other Doristas! Excellent!

Diethood.com said...

Oh my...yours are seriously perfect!! And I love your choice of filling... delicious!

tricia s. said...

Wow- I am so seriously impressed ! This was Nana and my first attempt at eclairs and we were happy to make it through with the plain vanilla :) Great job and wonderful idea about the double filling. Very creative and inspiring.

Cake Duchess said...

Chocolate and matcha is a match made in heaven! (sorry,that was a little cheesy;)WOW! I'm so happy you joined FFwD.I hope to participate this week again :)have a lovely weekend my sweet friend.

onewetfoot said...

Your double-flavour solution is so impressive and the ridges on your eclairs really are beautiful.

Renee said...

I love the matcha idea and I will add matcha when I make these eclairs. (such a busy month for me so all I have time for is reading the posts) Where did you find the piping tips that work with ziplocks?

Foodiva said...

@Renee, the piping tip was from my actual regular piping bag. I just stuck it into the hole I cut in the ziplock bag :-).

luciacara said...

wow - your eclairs are shaped, filled, and iced perfectly - they look beautiful! I'm so glad you varied the recipe so much. Great ideas and the lavender and black sesame éclairs with dulce de leche sounds really intriguing (but involved :)).

Kudos Kitchen said...

Your eclairs are so pretty! I'm sure they tasted just as good!

Spicie Foodie said...

You had me at Matcha :) I love that you always change and tweak recipes to make them your own. Your eclairs sound so delicious and look mouthwatering. I've never made them but if I do my arms will be ready. Sadly it's the only tone muscles in my body, I know TMI :) hehe.

elle marie said...

I'm such a Matcha queen, but this matcha/latte eclairs is something I would dive right into! nom nom

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