Caramelized Almond Vanilla Eclair

by - Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Pâte à Choux or Choux Pastry is one of those classic recipes that I think you should always have in your repertoire. The Choux pastry for me is a recipe that is so diverse and a lot of fun to experiment around with in shape and flavor.

The Eclair which is one of the classic french pastries that has definitely made a comeback over the past few years. It has become modernized a lot and very up to date in regards to flavor and design.  The best example for this is of course France. "Eclair de Genie" is just one example of the eclair that has been so to speak pimp up and turned into a very modern pastry.


There are hundreds of different recipes for Pâte à Choux  and every pastry chef has their own favorite one. I am often still testing new recipes to find the best one which gives me the same perfect results every time, which can be a bit of a challenge.
There are many factors which can influence the outcome of your Pâte à Choux  one of them being your oven. It takes quite a bit of experimenting around with to find the best temperature at which they bake and if you need to add steam or not. 

Getting the perfect Choux pastry can be quite frustrating at times and you might have to go through some trial and errors, but that's what makes you learn and eventually you'll get the dough which bakes just right.

Caramelized Vanilla Almond Eclairs

Pâte à Choux:

200g water
50g milk
125g butter
3g salt
3g vanilla extract
155g flour
250g eggs

Directions:

Bring the water, milk, butter, salt and vanilla to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the stove and add the flour all at once and mix with a spatula till you have a combined dough.
Put back on medium heat and vigorously keep mixing until it forms into a ball and doesn't stick to the bottom of your pot. Keep mixing for a about a minute to remove the left over water in the dough.
Transfer the dough into another bowl or your standing mixer. On low speed with the paddle attachment mix the dough until it has cooled down a little.
Add the eggs one at a time. Once you add the eggs your batter might split, but just keep mixing on higher speed until it becomes a smooth and glossy dough.
(Make sure your dough isn't too hot before you add your eggs otherwise they will scramble)
Fill the batter into a piping bag fitted with a round tip (I use a 13mm nozzle) and pipe either rounds or eclairs onto your silpat mat leaving at least 4 cm in between.
First bake at 200°C until the eclairs have risen to their maximum size. Open the oven door just slightly to remove the steam. Turn to oven temperature to 170°C and bake them until they are golden brown and dry from the bottom.

Craquelin: (optional)

200g flour
200g brown sugar
200g butter
1g vanilla, salt

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients with a spatula until combined and lump-free. Put the mixture onto baking paper and add another piece of baking paper on top and roll it till about 2mm thin.
Freeze to craquelin until solid. Cut into rectangles that are slightly bigger than your eclairs and when still frozen lay over the eclairs. (You will have to work quite fast since the craquelin tends to soften very fast)

The Craquelin is like a crumble that will melt over the eclairs, covering them in a coat which will add crunchy texture and also help them keep their shape.

You can fill the eclairs with any filling at you prefer. The choices are endless.
For these I made a simple vanilla cream lightened with whipped cream and glazed with a milk vanilla glaze. Lastly I added some caramelized almonds on top decorated with leave gold. 

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