Saturday, August 30, 2008

Eclairs



Sometimes, too much of a good thing really can be a bad thing.

Think about it. Apples half the size of your head. Big fluffy pillow-like croissants instead of small, buttery, flaky ones. Slabs of banana bread pumped up to the equivalent size of 3 slices of bread stacked together. Now what they make up for in quantity, they fall short in quality.

I usually buy free range eggs and there was a substantial discount on some large 800g free-range ones. Well, money oftentimes speaks louder and so we thought, what the heck, how different can it possibly be? Oh trust me, when it comes to eclairs, it can take on catastrophic proportions.



The original recipe called for 5 large eggs, so I decided to halve it and go for 2.5 eggs. My first batch of eclairs looked more like a bunch of cooked tongues, all flat and spread out. Zut. Quel q'un se es assis sur les eclairs? Did someone sit on my eclairs? I thought I didn't do the recipe right, so this time I repeated the recipe, but decided to use just 2 eggs instead. The second batch struggled to rise and did so more than the first batch, but probably won by a nano-millimeter. Pffft.

I decided to do a bit of research and found that the problem might be too much egg. To make sure this was the case, I watched a video on Youtube to get a rough idea of what the consistency of the pate choux should be like.




So half stirring and half praying (as I was down to my last 2 eggs), I used 1.5 eggs and voila, the eclairs puffed up beautifully and obediently like mini corn cobs. Taking into mind that this was achieved with one whole egg less, I was a little gobsmacked. These 800g eggs were not just large eggs, they must be extra-large eggs. Shudder.




The creme patissiere on the other hand was a breeze to whip up. I love love LOVE coffee eclairs and substituted melted chocolate with a tbsp of instant coffee instead. It was rich, velvety and simply lovely. I piped the creme into the eclair instead of slicing it into half and spreading it in between. And since we had to keep a chocolate element in the eclairs, I dipped them in a simple dark chocolate ganache made with dark 74% chocolate and thickened cream. My, the combination was so very good.

Let's just say I'm glad I only have to do this once a month or I'll probably end up looking like a choux puff! Merci beaucoup Tony and Meeta for coming up with this splendid idea! You can find the recipe at their blogs.

7 comments:

breadchick said...

now those are some fantastic looking eclairs!

Aparna said...

Your eclairs look very nice and I've got to admire you trying a second time.
I didn't know less egg makes them puff up. I was just trying to get less "eggy" ones and cut down on eggs.

coco said...

The eclairs look brilliant! I think I'm going to convert from being an eclair hater (I haved my batch for this challenge lol).

Angela said...

Your eclairs look great! And well done for persevering with the choux pastry after your failures.

Y said...

Fabulous eclairs! Great job, with the trouble shooting :)

Erin said...

My eclairs ended up flat as well! I hadn't considered that the eggs might have been the problem though. Excellent detective work!

Anonymous said...

I love chocolate eclairs and made them twice at home but it was a disaster. All turned out to be flat. Thanks for uploading the reason behind flat eclairs.....shall try using less eggs.

Can you share the right amount of ingredients you used for making those perfect eclairs.