Do you know Fauchon’s eclairs? I have always wanted to learn to prepare them. For the last ten years, the Parisian gourmet food company Fauchon has been elevating the éclair to the status of objet d’art. And all thanks to chef Christophe Adam, who revolutionized éclair classic French pastries with decorations like a a printed chocolate shell that sits atop the éclair with the Mona Lisa’s eyes.
When I knew that Cristophe Adam had published his own book of éclairs “L’éclair genie” (in French), I ran swiftly to acquire it. Although it is a beautiful book, full of inspiration, I was very disappointed because:
1. The book does not explain how to make those éclairs with chocolate decorated shell above.
2. The recipe included in the book is the same I’ve been using for years: the one published in the book “Éclair” Marianne Magnier-Moreno (it only uses a slightly smaller amount of flour).
3. The ingredients of the decorations are almost impossible to find. And I mean, I have all kinds of weird ingredients in my pantry. But “NH pectin”, “edible gold leaf”, or “titanium oxide” I only use when I intend to make homemade bombs.
So I started researching. In France, they sell these chocolate shells to decorate eclairs. But besides the fact that they are very expensive they do not ship to Spain. Luckily a cheap eclair kit that I had at home came with a silicone stencil to make these shells at home (you can see it in the photos below). And maybe you can buy them where you live. Simply place the stencil on a chocolate transfer sheet, pour chocolate over, smooth with a spatula, remove the stencil and let it set. If you do not have this stencil (like normal people who do not pile up every single kitchen utensil in the world), you only have to make your own stencil. Another option is to extend the chocolate with a spatula on the transfer sheet, and then, using a template printed from internet and a sharp knife, cut the chocolate before it hardens completely.
Again I am using the éclairs recipe I published two years ago. It works perfectly every time I use it, and therefore I see no reason to change. Only, this time I added 2 and a half eggs and a half, as explained in the book, the amount of egg can vary. And also, I used a star shaped tip instead of a round one, as they do at Fauchon . Apparently this way éclairs turn out really perfect, the teeth create ridges in the dough that helps it expand without cracking.
Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 45 min
Yield: 8 éclairs
- 80 ml milk
- 80 ml water
- 70 g butter
- 1 pinch of salt
- 10 g sugar
- 100 g flour
- 2 eggs, medium size, beaten
- 3 egg yolks
- 250 ml milk
- 250 ml heavy cream
- 150 g sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 100 g white chocolate
- chocolate transfer sheet
- Place the milk, sugar, vanilla pod and heavy cream into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat. In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about a third of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod. Cover and store in the fridge until next day. Then, pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Use as is for (soft) for filling the eclairs
- To prepare the éclairs, preheat oven to 150º C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare and weight all ingredients for the choux pastry. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add 2/3 of the beaten eggs. Stop mixing and check the consistency of the dough. Dough should be smooth and glossy and thick. If it is too thick, add the remaining egg until incorporated.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain 2 cm nozzle. Position it at a 45 degree angle in relation to the baking tray and push out the mixture while moving the bag in one clean movement to give the éclair a nice straight shape; apply an even pressure to the piping bag so that the tube of mixture that comes out has the same diameter as the nozzle. When the éclair is 10-15 long, cut off the mixture with a smooth-bladed knife. If necessary, smooth the éclairs with some water. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Turn off the oven, lightly open the door, and let the eclairs rest for 10 minutes inside the hot oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Fill the eclairs with the soft icecream, and store in the freezer until ready to serve (better same day)
- Melt and temper chocolate.Place an eclair stencil on a chocolate transfer sheet, pour chocolate over, smooth with a spatula, remove the stencil and let it set. To get a curvy shape on your chocolate shell, use a homemade mold made with aluminium foil (see pics above). When the chocolate is completely set, carefully remove the chocolate transfer sheet, and attach the chocolate shell to the top of the éclair by using some melted chocolate
Decorated chocolate shell:
- Eclair recipe from the book “Éclair basics” by Marianne Magnier-Moreno. Icecream recipe from my book “Polos y helados”
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