Thursday, April 14, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - vanilla eclairs


This recipe was my first official Dorie disaster...twice!  That's right...I failed at making beautiful, light, airy eclairs with smooth, delicate pastry cream.  Instead, I ended up with flat, eggy, doughy things, stuffed with slightly lumpy (but oh, so damn delicious) chocolate pastry cream and lemon curd whipped with cream.

While my eclairs will win absolutely no beauty awards, they were actually quite delicious.  I had wanted to use Dorie's tip and pipe my eclairs with a star tip.  However, I accidentally used a ribbon tip...leading to my first batch of eclairs being a complete disaster.


I also piped some in a creme puff shape...however these puppies fell the second they came out of the over.  So I ended up with flat cigars and smooshed frisbee shapes (actually I think they look like partially melted hershey kisses...because I left a little curly cue on the top when I piped these).


On my second batch, I decided to just follow the easy way and pipe smooth cylinders.  As they went into the oven, they looked beautiful.  I was sure I had a winner this time.  They did puff up as they were baking and looked terrific; however they started to deflate as I removed them from the oven and I had more flat cigars.  Not quite as flat as the first batch, so I was able to slice through them and create two layers to "stuff" with filling.  I decided to make chocolate pastry cream and then lemon curd (my Meyer lemon tree has finally started producing lemons after a two year hiatus).  I folded the amazing lemon curd into whipped cream and then pipe the fillings into my sorry, oh so sorry, eclairs.  Some of the eclairs were so flat, I just used one for the top and one for the bottom.


I decided not to glaze the eclairs...given the inordinate amount of time I had dedicated to getting a good batch (and still failing).  Maybe a glaze would have made them more lovely (but I really doubt it).

I didn't do any research on why my eclairs failed me.  I've made grougeres several times with this recipe and never had an issue.  I know my fellow Doristas will have the answer for me.  Oh well...we were all still very happy with the tasty results...if not appearance of these eclairs.

PS...for all those wondering...the sugar cleanse went great last week and I feel so much better.  I will be watching my sugar intake going forward (so only one eclair a day, thank you very much)...and now I just found out I have high cholesterol...goodness it couldn't be all the butter and bacon...could it???

PPS...did I mention that I cut the recipe in half so we wouldn't have 20 eclairs...then had to make them again, so we still ended up with 20+ eclairs.

PPPS...maybe the reason my eclairs fell is because I shouldn't have really been making eclairs at all...but some lovely, healthy vegetable concoction.

25 comments:

Kris' Kitchen said...

You are so funny...loved your post. Well, I would say that using 1/2 milk in this recipe makes a softer dough than using all water...and I think they need to bake in a hotter oven for at least the 1st half of the baking time...and maybe for 5 minutes longer. I guess you have an excuse to make these again. Yum!

Foodiva said...

Steph, your experience is a total hoot! You did well just by putting this post up, we all have something to learn from each other. Great idea to use two eclair pieces to make a sandwiched one, why not? Btw, I've done that previously too!

Christina said...

This exact same thing happened to me. On the third go around I looked at some other recipes and ended up doubling my baking time, with a hotter oven at the beginning and they turned out beautiful.

Annie said...

These look familiar....mine were flat, too!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Perhaps you overbeat the dough? Or didn't pipe them big enough? My first batch were flat too but because I tried to make mini ones and used a tiny piping tip. I have also had ones fail in the past when the batter was overmixed, just by a smidge. In any case, I love the idea of the lemon curd filling - so springy!

Anne Marie said...

Steph, I laughed at you cutting the recipe in half and making it twice! Oh well. You were far braver than I. I skipped it altogether. They actually don't look that bad!

Cher said...

Oh, Steph. The things we do!

Way to give it a second shot. It doesn't matter how pretty it is - it just has to taste good, right?

Thanks for the early morning smile.

yummychunklet said...

I can empathize with your ENTIRE post. My dough also looked deflated and with two "strips", I had to use them as a top and bottom because there was no way I was able to slice either in half. Kudos to you for trying this twice!

Mary said...

I would rather have a delicious disaster than a pretty blah tasting treat. I am so envious that you have your own Meyer Lemon tree!

Kathy said...

Steph, Good news is that they tasted great! You are too funny! I think it's great that you posted this and also that you did a second batch!! Way to go!!

chefpandita.com said...

At least they were edible :) I don't know why this happened but maybe overbeating or oven time had something to do with it. You talked about sugar cleanse and I am currently on day 12 of the CLEAN detox program, I made these and didn't even lick my finger from the pastry cream or chocolate ganache. Making these was like a test... Torturous test.

Christina said...

The exact same thing happened to me. At least they still tasted good!

susan said...

so sorry you had a disaster. it is no fun whenever that happens! keep on trying - it could have been the weather!

Lizzy said...

Gosh, I wonder what happened? You are a good sport for making them again...and so glad they were still tasty!

Allison said...

Of course! If you'd made a lovely veggie dish all would have gone well! Love the idea of mixing lemon curd and whipped cream to pipe inside the eclair. Heaven. Might have to tell my Mom she won't have chocolate eclairs for Easter....

Nana said...

Do not fret, we only took photos of the ones that
looked good. Some of ours did not cook evenly
inside. Tricia and I still had fun and a lot of
laughs doing the recipe. As long as they taste
good, that's all the matters.

Ms. Hobby said...

I'm sorry your eclairs fell. At least the cream was good, right?

Candy Girl said...

My eclairs didn't puff as much as I expected and browned more quickly than the recipe indicated so I had a few doughy ones too.

They still look great!

Betsy said...

Well, I don't have any insight for you. Mine weren't so successful. Flat eclairs and extra thick pastry cream. I applaud your spirit by trying a second time, even if that didn't work either. I am so jealous of your Meyer lemon tree. They are so amazing.

Adriana said...

My first batch also went caput. I think it was because I baked two pans at the same time and rotated them per the directions in the Cream Puff Dough recipe, instead of just lowering the temperature and leaving the baking sheets unrotated. Second try was half a batch, following the baking instructions from the actual eclair recipe to a T, and those puffed up nicely. I hope this helps for next time!

Sis. Boom. said...

At least you tried. This Dorista didn't. :( I was out of town for the week. I'm glad you shared. (I'm not sure I would give it a second go, however.)

Candy (Dulce) said...

Your resolve is oh-so-impressive! I didn't just love this either. I thought the oven temperature was suspect (I'm guessing that was the main problem with the puffiness, or lack thereof), and mine didn't turn out that great either.

Good for you for posting - makes the rest of us feel better! We're not alone!!!

Glad you're feeling better! On to the batons! (which are surprisingly good, and super easy)

onewetfoot said...

Good for you for keeping at it. I bet they still tasted good, even if they were flat. I'm glad you made the lemon curd version, I was hoping to see someone post about that. Lucky you to have a Meyer lemon tree!

luciacara said...

Too bad about the ribbon tip ! Your your finished eclair does look great! I didn't open my oven at all to rotate the pan (I only baked one pan at a time) so maybe that helps with avoiding deflation?

The lemon curd filling sounds nice.

Kudos Kitchen said...

I'm loving your honesty here and your photos! I have no clue what could have went wrong but the fact that they tasted "damn" good is pretty damn cool! That's really all that matters if you ask me ;)