Thanks again for attending my workshop on Eclairs and Puffs at Daheim Manufaktur.
Below, you'll find the recipes, the utensils and the techniques used during the workshop. That's now your time to go and bake some wonderful choux-based desserts!
For 4 éclairs and ~20 puffs
Pâte à choux
125 g water
50 g margarine
2 g salt
75 g flour (type 550)
100 to 125 g eggs
Chocolate Patissière Cream
300 g milk
30 g cornstarch
30-50 g sugar (depending on your taste)
20-50 g bitter cocoa powder (depending on your taste)
Optional: 25 g dark chocolate
300 g caster sugar
100 g water
optional: 30 g glucose
Pâte à choux
1 spatula either wooden or, better, polyglass
Chocolate Patissière Cream
White "Fondant Patissier"
1 electric whisk or stand mixer
How to do the Pâte à Choux
Put the margarine, salt and water in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. All the margarine should melt before the next step.
Add the flour and mix with a wooden or polyglass spatula until all the flour is incorporated.
Keep on mixing it on low/medium heat. If pieces get attached to the bottom of the pan, scrap them gently and bring them back into the ball of dough. Do this for about 2-3 minutes. The result is called panada: a puff dough without the eggs.
Transfer the panada into a bowl (preferably cold) and wait until it cools down a bit. Tip: spread the panada onto the side of the bowl to help it cold down faster.
Now time to add the eggs. Depending on how much you dried up the panada in the pan, you may need more or less eggs, so add them step by step, mixing each time until fully incorporated. The mixture will first look curdled before the eggs starts incorporating. Do not use a whisk for this, but your spatula.
Stop adding eggs when your pâte à choux has reached a shiny, thick and smooth texture - something like a chewing-gum. You can test the consistency by pulling your spoon out: the dough should form a flexible beak at the end.
If you added too much eggs, do NOT add flour. Just make another small batch of panada and add it step by step to the runny dough until you get the right consistency.
Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.
How to pipe éclairs and puffs
Put the choux pastry in a pastry bag with a tip n8 or n10.
Preferably use a non-sticky baking tray.
Eclairs: put your bag a few inches above the baking tray and in one go, while pushing consistently with your hand on the bag, lay down the dough on 10 to 12 cm. At the end, stop pushing and pull your tip away in a rapid gesture
Puff: put your bag a few inches above the tray and push on the bag. Do not move your tip. The dough will spread evenly in a round shape. When you reached the desired size, stop pushing and pull your tip away in a rapide gesture.
Using a water moistened finger, smooth down the unwanted peaks and lightly brush each with egg wash. You can also add a craquelin on top. It make the dough rise more evenly and bring an extra crush.
For more (visual) details, have a look at this video
How to bake puffs and eclairs
The rule is: 180 C° for 45 to 60 min, without opening the door. In really, a lot of factors will impact the baking: the humidity, the quantity of eggs, the heat repartition in your oven and more. You have to test what works best for your oven. Here are some tips to guide you.
Temperature: what works best for me is to start at 180°C and after 10 min, put it down at 150°C to avoid the risk of the outside cooking too much while the inside stays too raw. You can also let your choux in the oven after you turned it off instead of bringing them out, to let them slowly finish baking. You'll have to try and see what works best for you.
Number of trays in the oven: I recommend you bake a maximum of 2 tray at once that you put well in the middle of the oven to get an even baking of all your choux.
How long? Until it's baked :) It depends mostly on the size of your choux, that's why I recommend you bake only same-sized choux at once. Usually, for standard size, it's about 45 min.
How to tell if your choux are done baking? When you think it's done, it probably needs an extra 10 min. The outside needs to be golden colored and the shells must have well expand.
Opening the door: do not open the oven door, at least until the choux pastry shells have set properly. For domestic ovens, I actually recommend to open the door quickly once or twice to help the steam escape and release the pressure in the oven. This will help avoid deflation once out.
My puffs deflated once outside of the oven, what happened? There are 2 main reason sthat can explain this: 1. the dough was too runny or 2. you let your choux out too early.
My choux have too many cracks, or have risen irregularly, what happened? Here are a couple of reasons: 1. You dough had undissolved solids or was not smooth 2. The temperature was too high and the steam escaped too fast and too furious, breaking the dough in the process 3. You piped irregularly - and that can be corrected with a craquelin #lazy
How to do the Chocolate Patissière Cream
Put the milk and the sugar in a saucepan and the starch and the chocolate powder in a bowl.
Bring the milk to a boil.
Pour half the boiling milk onto the starch and mix with a whisk.
Transfer the preparation back into the saucepan on medium heat. Stir constantly with a whisk and make sure the cream does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
The crème pâtissière is ready when it has a thick consistency.
Transfer into a receptacle.
Optional: add the melted chocolate and stir until smooth.
To prevent the formation of a crust, place some cling film in direct contact with the surface of the cream before storing in the fridge.
Set aside in a fridge until ready to use. Do not use straight away. The cream need to cold down (to avoid burn while using it) but also it thickens while cooling down.
If too stiff, whisk it before use.
How to fill up your éclairs and puffs?
Put your cream in a pastry bag. You can use a small tip or just cut a small hole.
Eclairs: do 3 holes, once on each end and one in the middle. Start filling the extremities. Then start from the middle until a little cream is going out of the holes from the extremities. That mean the whole eclair is now properly filled up.
Choux: do just one hole. Fill with the pastry bag. When you remove the bag, a little cream should get out.
Always fill up your éclairs before applying decorations on top.
How to do the Fondant Patissier
Put the sugar, the glucose and the water into a saucepan.
Cook the sugar and water until it reaches 121°C
Directly pour in a cold bowl. Let it cool until approx. 75°C
Whip it until it get the right white semi-solid consistency. It can take a while up to 30 min, so don't give up ;)
Store in a cool dry place for 10 to 12 months