Another example of how to use the custards I’ve been talking about.
Come to think of it, most of the posts this advent have been short, simple introductions to basic pastry preparations: whipped cream, for instance, and ganache. Now we can start combining some of those building blocks to make more elaborate preparations.
Take éclairs. Éclairs are long choux pastries filled with whipped cream or pastry cream, glazed with chocolate.
I ate my fair share of éclairs growing up. My dad often brought them home on Saturday mornings from the doughnut shop in the mall. These homemade éclairs are a bit different from the ones that have to sit in a glass display case for a few hours before consumption. The pastry stays delicate and crisp. The pastry cream filling with all the egg yolks and butter is much, much richer than any filling you would find at a typical doughnut shop. And the glaze is simple, dark chocolate ganache, so it is soft, without the crystalline texture of commercial fondant.
A formal recipe, of sorts.
1. Transfer the choux pastry to a piping bag. Pipe the batter onto a sheet pan lined with a silicon mat into pieces roughly 1″ wide by 3″ long.
2. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake further until the pastry is golden brown, crisp, and hollow, roughly another 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the pastry cream to a piping bag. Once the pastries have cooled to room temperature, roughly 20 minutes, make a small hole in one end of each pastry by partially inserting a paring knife and twisting. Pipe pastry cream into each pastry.
4. Dip the top of each pastry in warm, medium ganache. Consume immediately.