Pierre Hermé’s chocolate éclairs were the August Daring Bakers’ challenge. The rules were to follow exactly the pâte à choux recipe and make at least one of the two chocolate components from the original recipe – rather the chocolate pastry cream for filling or chocolate glaze. As for the filling, I didn’t change it drastically. I just turned it into the mocha variation by infusing milk with French-roast coffee beans flavor. It was absolutely marvelous. I used a different recipe for the chocolate glaze (to be honest, I just recycled what had left from the previous challenge (it was about time :))
As for the pâte à choux… I was surprised to see that the recipe called for an exact number of eggs (5 – no more, no less…). Usually there’s a ratio given and a baker is advised to use the eggs judgmentally. The dough consistency is of particular importance here – thick but pliable, and not at all runny. I tried to be a rules follower – I broke all 5 eggs in a measuring cup, lightly whisked them and added them to the dough gradually. I ended up with a leftover about one egg-worth. With all my due respect to the maestro, the stated baking time, as well as the oven temperature, were not sufficient for successful baking and needed some adjustments. I started at the higher temperature and even baked longer than was suggested. You can see my step-by step photos below. I posted the pictures of the just baked éclairs as well as completely cooled ones. I didn’t have any problems with deflating of the éclairs or their eggy taste.
I filled them using a Bismarck tip. It allows to pack the éclairs generously with the pastry cream and makes the eating less messy and therefore more pleasureful.
To summarize… sure the éclairs were fabulous. The filling was smooth and creamy, and very much coffee-chocolaty. My big thanks to Meeta and Tony, this month DB hosts, for choosing a wonderful dessert appreciated by everyone.
Adapted from “Chocolate Desserts” by Pierre Hermé