INGREDIENTS (choux pastry for both Eclairs and Cream Puffs)
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cups water
2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
whipped cream or pastry cream (recipe follows)
1. In a saucepan, combine butter and water. Bring to a full boil.
2. Reduce heat to low. Add the sifted flour and salt all at once. Stir quickly until mixture leaves sides of pan and forms a firm ball as seen below. Remove from heat.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition with a mixer.
4. Form cream puffs with teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. For the eclairs use a cookie press with a large star tip or use a pastry bag.
5. Bake in a preheated 450deg. F (190deg. C) oven for 15 minutes then at 325deg F (160deg C) for 15-20 minutes.
6. Remove to a cooling rack and pierce each puff or eclair with the tip of a knife to release steam.
7. When cool fill each pastry as desired. Dust tops with powdered sugar or frost with chocolate ganache.
Pastry syringe makes filling cream puffs easy.
PASTRY CREAM RECIPE
1/3 cup sugar
4 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold milk (part almond milk ok)
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
2 or 3 egg yolks beaten with 2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Optional: 1 cup whipping cream (whipped)
1. In a double boiler mix together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Blend in the 1/2 cup cold milk.
2. Gradually mix in the scalded milk. Cook over hot water stirring constantly until thick.
3. Cover and cook 10-12 minutes.
4. Combine egg yolks and 2 tbsp. milk. Stir a little of the hot mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then stir back into the pastry cream.
5. Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to fill pastries. Enough to fill about 20 pastries.
6. If desired fold in 1 cup of whipped cream to make vanilla cream filling.
50 gr. (1 and 2/3 oz.) dark chocolate
1 tsp. butter
2 tbsp. water
85 gr. (2/3 cup) powdered sugar
1. Melt first three ingredients over hot water. Mix until smooth.
2. Beat in the powdered sugar until icing is glossy. Cool slightly and frost eclairs or puffs.
TIP: There’s a pastry shop in Milan, “L’Eclair de Genie” in Corso Garibaldi, that I would call the Tiffany equivalent in the pastry world. Each eclair is a jewell in itself. Here are just a few examples.