After a hectic summer I'm back for the August DARING BAKERS CHALLENGE; a challenge I really enjoyed making and eating! The assignment this month was Pierre Hermé's chocolate éclairs from the book Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé. Hermé is considered to be France's premier pastry chef. I find making any of Hermé's pastries to be a bit intimidating. If you have ever looked at his cookbooks or better yet, been to his shop on rue Bonaparte in Paris, you will understand. His creations are absolute perfection. And as I've said before, my baking style is more rustic. Although my éclairs do not have the exacting uniformity of Pierre Hermé's, I can't believe his could taste any better than mine did. My éclairs were delicious!
The guidelines for this challenge were 1) The dough used for the éclairs must be Pierre Hermé's recipe for pâte à choux 2) There were two chocolate elements in the recipe--a chocolate glaze and a chocolate pastry cream. Only one was required. I chose to substitue a vanilla pastry cream isntead, to avoid chocolate overload. I did, however, use Pierre Hermé's recipe for vanilla pastry cream. I had just recently roasted hazelnuts and sprinkled the chopped nuts on my freshly iced éclairs.
Pâte à choux has always been a favorite of mine. No matter how often I make it, it is still a delight to see it transform from a shiny, smooth dough to crisp, golden-brown puffs. The one thing I did change in my baking of Pierre Hermé's éclairs was to not wedge a wooden spoon inside the oven door after 7 minutes. I always end up baking choux pastry longer than a recipe calls for, and I saw no need to let hot air escape my oven. Also, I have never frozen piped choux dough before and doing this made last minute assembly extremely easy. I plan to make this again and keep the piped éclairs in my freezer for expected and unexpected house guests.
8/31/2008 01:50:13 pm
Great job on the challege Eileen! They turned out perfect!
8/31/2008 05:46:55 pm
Wow, they look perfect and I love the very classy decoration !
9/2/2008 04:50:42 am
No need to go to France any more if you are around, Eileen
9/2/2008 07:48:23 am
that's it! I need to run out and buy an eclair now...this is the third post I have come across today regarding this challenge and I am dying! Yours are so beautiful!
9/3/2008 12:17:54 am
What an elegant presentation of these beautiful eclairs!
9/3/2008 09:37:40 pm
Even though i've just had my lunch these pictures of you look yummy!!!!
9/13/2008 02:30:23 am
These were indeed better tasting than the ones we ate in Paris...and as your photos show they were so beautiful!!!
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