|Crepes image available at: http://tinyurl.com/ps3qeq2|
Éclairs image available at: http://tinyurl.com/248xqrm
One of the first food blogs I ever started following was Love and Olive Oil. Blogger Lindsay Landis does a monthly "Kitchen Challenge", which I think is a brilliant idea. She has covered everything from bagels to the finicky french macarons. This month her cooking challenge is éclair.
From reading Love and Olive Oil, I know Lindsay loves cookie dough (She did author "The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook" after all.) So I thought hmmm, "What if you filled the éclair with a brown sugar, vanilla pastry cream studded with little cookie dough bites?!?!" And that's exactly what I did.
While there are a lot of steps in this recipe, I don't think it is particularly difficult. Frankly, it was more difficult for me to write the recipe than to actually cook it. Don't skip the sifting steps for the flour and the powdered sugar. It really helps produce a smooth dough and glaze, respectively.
Also, people tend to discuss pastry creams, and the like, as if a great big scrambled egg monster is going to rear up out of your saucepan at any moment. I have never once scrambled the eggs in a pastry cream, lemon curd, or crème anglaise. That is not because I have some cooking super-power--I am just not intimidated by it and there is no reason you should be either. The key is to simply warm the eggs up slowly, also known as "tempering".
I have a few tips that may help:
1) Use a heavy bottomed sauce pan. (Mine is an all-clad stainless steel one.)
|Image available at: http://tinyurl.com/nql9fp5|
|Image available at: http://tinyurl.com/qgacwq2|
4) After the eggs have been warmed and poured back into the pot, stir constantly. Really, don't stop gently stirring all around the bottom of the pan.
5) Lastly, don't worry about making a mess. I always drip all over the counter and stove, but hey, that's what sponges are for.
Incidentally, the pâte à choux in this recipe can be used to make profiteroles, beignets, or gougères.
Thank you for the inspiration Lindsay. I can't wait to see what the May Kitchen Challenge is ...