I spent one entire day playing in my kitchen... just the way I like it. It all started with the pastry cream. Lavender pastry cream. That's what made these pastel-hued éclairs so delightful, and delicious! Oh, the possibilities. Think lavender cream tarts... with chocolate, lemon, or berries... I am!
After heating the milk, add the dried lavender and vanilla bean to steep.
... oh no! I've used more of my pastel, sugar pearl sprinkles. Soon, I'll need more. (Easy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Frosting... and sprinkles)
Crème Pâtissière (pastry cream)
an adapted recipe from French Tarts by Linda Dannenberg
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk
• 1/2 vanilla bean, split
• 1 tablespoon dried lavender
• 3 large egg yolks
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 generous tablespoon cornstarch
• 1 generous tablespoon flour
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the vanilla bean and dried lavender. Cover pan and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk mixture until thick and pale yellow, approximately 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch and flour; whisk to blend. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk. Strain the milk mixture to remove the dried lavender, then slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking until blended and smooth.
3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until thick, smooth, and yellow... approximately 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer thickened cream to a clean bowl. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly onto the surface of the cream. This will prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour; overnight would be ideal.
adapted recipe | Pierre Hermés
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
• 1/4 teaspoon sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature
1. In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
2. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough will come together very quickly. You need to carry on stirring for an additional 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
3. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, before adding another egg to the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate. Do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back together by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4. Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Divide the oven into thirds by positioning racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Fill a large pastry bag, fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip nozzle, with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in 4-inch lengths. Leave about 2 inches between each dough strip to allow room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 18 éclairs.
6. Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 12 minutes; rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for another 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden, and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes (After 20 minutes I turned my oven off, but left the éclairs in the oven for another 5 minutes). Remove from oven and pierce each pastry with the toothpick to let steam escape. The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.
1. Fill a medium, shallow dish with CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR. Whisk in MILK or LIGHT CREAM, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the glaze is the consistency of honey. Add food color at this time and whisk until incorporated.
1. Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator and resist all desire to stir! This will break down the cream.
2. Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion.
Dip the tops of the éclairs into the glaze and transfer to a wire rack. Decorate with sprinkles, dried lavender buds, or Boules Argentées (silver dragées) at this time.
Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream.
• Refrigerate éclairs until ready to serve.
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