Sunday, August 31, 2008

June 2008 Daring Bakers Challenge #21: Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

Last month, I was so weak from my illness so I had to skip the challenge. But this month, Pierre Hermé's Éclairs, how can I resist ? But, here is the fact, whenever I want to make some chocolate desserts, I have to prepare for that I may be the only one who have to eat it, or I have to make it less bitter or use less chocolate and I can find one or two people to have them with me. After I read the challenge of this month I feel thrilled, oh I love chocolate , don't get me wrong but if I have to make 24 Éclairs and eat them alone, it's too much for me.

So for the filling I have to make only half the recipe of it, so the rest of the cream puff will be filled with vanilla pastry cream. (But I write down the full recipe).

Pierre Hermé is famous for his work and for his books, but every time that I read his Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme I can't decide what to make and end up trying nothing from this well known book.

But this time I don't have to choose the recipe and it's a great recipe to introduce me to the intense flavor from this book.

I made them a week ago, and used all my 70% cocoa mass chocolate. After a long day of making it, I tasted the Éclairs and felt disappointed, the taste was unbearable, the chocolate was too pronounced. I had to put all of them in the fridge, and go to bed.

But the next day was a new story, I had an éclairs again and all the chocolate flavor that was too hash yesterday are gone the taste and texture were great I thought it's a temperature of the filling that made everything different. What I did next was I poured myself a cup of tea and enjoyed the éclairs and felt so happy that all of them (10 pieces) were mine.

Note: The recipe will begin with making the Cream puff, the Chocolate pastry cream and the Chocolate Glaze (which you have to make BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE SAUCE before making it.)

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

½ cup (125g)

whole milk

½ cup (125g)


1 stick (4 ounces; 115g)

unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

¼ teaspoon


¼ teaspoon


1 cup (140g)

all-purpose flour


large eggs, at room temperature

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the

3) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

4) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

5) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

6) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes. (I use more time about 25 minutes)

Notes: The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

2 cups (500g)

whole milk


large egg yolks

6 tbsp (75g)


3 tablespoons

cornstarch, sifted

7 oz (200g)

bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted

2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g)

unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavybottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an icewater bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the icewater bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the icewater bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

1) The pastry cream can be made 23 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

1/3 cup (80g)

heavy cream

3½ oz (100g)

bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, finely chopped

4 tsp (20 g)

unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

7 tbsp (110 g)

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE SAUCE warm or at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the éclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze
• Chocolate pastry cream

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled. (But I like them more when they are chill a bit.)
3) You can make BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE SAUCE ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Raspberry Buttercream Filling

I have a long week, or I feel it's longer than usual. Because I try to make this macaron, I heard about it before but someone told me that it's easier to make than using French meringue, and I believed (when there are new recipes or new way of making something, I just can't wait to try it). I made three batch of this recipe in a week and the two of them are disaster, the macarons cracked in front of my eyes (yes, I was there in front of the oven after 3 minutes all my lovely little macarons turned into nightmare, oh). But I never give up, and I didn't want to so the next day I just baked another batch and my life ruined again.

Why this always happen at that time I's confused, and a little mad (even the cracked top macarons are edible but just looking at them make me feel bad). As I made two batch of the macarons so I test everything that I can, rest or not (it's not necessary to rest for Italian Meringue Macarons) , the consistency after the macaronage or the temperature of the sugar syrup. So, this is the time to start reading, and it's so funny that I have a lot of books but I can't find more than one of the Italian Meringue Macarons recipe in my collection (I use the recipe from ............... this is the only recipe that I have, do I have to buy more ?, haha). All I had to do was typing "Italian Meringue Macaron" into Google, and the results are long and long. But I found my answer in this blog ; serious eats
And this is what I saw "propping the oven door open with a wooden spoon for the entire baking period or halfway through the baking period". How can I forgot this simple trick ? May be because all the time I can bake my macarons (French Meringue Method) without doing anything to my oven. So, I had to find more information to get me out of the blue and I saw the light from Fanny at foodbeam, the Italian Meringue Macarons, which I'd been looking for, and I have to admit that the only problem is my oven temperature.
All the time I followed the instruction from the book, without reconsidering the fact that my oven couldn't act the same, so when the book said that I should lower my temperature I did it but the heat still there. When open the oven door a little, the heat in the oven is lower faster and the drying process is better.
So, today this is my first Italian Meringue Macaron, which I want to share the recipe with you.

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Raspberry Buttercream Filling
Makes about 20

Vanilla Bean Italian Meringue Macaron

For the macaron base

65 g
almond powder
65 g
icing sugar
25 g
egg whites

Bean form ½ of the vanilla pod

Yellow food coloring (you can skip this but it will give the macaron a lovely color)

For Italian Meringue

120 g
caster sugar
30 g
60 g
egg whites

* You will use 90 g for the macaron and the rest will use for the buttercream
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Mix the macaron base:

Sift together almond powder and icing sugar into a bowl, put the color, vanilla bean and egg white into the bowl. Use a pastry scrap to bring everything together. Set aside.
Make the Italian meringue:

In a sauce pan, put the sugar and water and bring to boil over medium low heat.
When the syrup reaches 114°C, start whisking the egg whites.
The syrup is ready when it reaches 120°C; pour it over the egg whites and continue whisking until cold.

Make the macaron:

Mix together the base and 90g of Italian meringue.
The mixture should be softer and very glossy, a little stiffer then cake batter..
Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe or spoon mixture into 2.5cm rounds onto baking paper-lined (or Silpat) oven trays. When you’ve pipe out all the macarons lift each baking sheet with both hands and then bang it down on the counter (you need to get the air out of the batter).

Bake for 9 minutes to 15 minutes depend on your oven (oven door maintained open with a wooden spoon). Remove from oven and cool on trays. Slide a knife under each macaron to release.

Make the Raspberry Butter cream
First make the sweeten raspberry puree
(if you don’t want to make it, you can use seedless raspberry jam).
150 g
Frozen raspberry
30-35 g
Granulated sugar
1. Thaw frozen raspberry in a bowl. Do not strain the juice.
2. Put the raspberry in the blender and blend until smooth and strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl (you will get about 100g of the puree).
3. Place the raspberry purees in a small saucepan, add the sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat (add more or less sugar according to your taste) until all the sugar dissolves.

Make the raspberry buttercream

Italian meringue the rest from making the macaron
100 g
Unsalted butter
Sweeten raspberry puree

Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time into the meringue. Increase the mixer speed to high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated. Then add the puree and mix to combine.

Sandwich macarons with filling.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for filling to firm.

Vanilla Bean Macaron with Raspberry Buttercream Filling

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Milk chocolate ice cream with bittersweet chocolate chunks

Most of us love Ice cream and most of us love chocolate too. So this is the combination of both things, which always make us happy. But this ice cream is not the bitter one so anyone who don’t like bitter taste of chocolate still enjoy it (Ok, I have the real taster in my home, my sister always hate dark chocolate but she really love this one, without the sauce). When eating with the sauce the sweetness of the ice cream is contrast to the bitterness of the sauce, it’s so good.

Milk chocolate ice cream with bittersweet chocolate chunks

60 g
bittersweet chocolate, chopped
large egg yolks
70 g
⅛ teaspoon
kosher salt
1 cup/250 ml
1 cup/ 250 ml
heavy (whipping) cream
60 g
milk chocolate, finely chopped
To serve

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 20g of the sugar, and the salt. Cook the milk, cream, and remaining 50 g sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost simmering. Slowly pour the milk and cream into the egg-and-sugar mixture, whisking as you pour.

Whisk in the milk chocolate until it is completely melted.
Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant plastic or wooden spatula, until the custard reaches 175°F and lightly coats the spatula.
Strain the custard into a clean bowl and cool over an ice bath until room temperature. Refrigerate the custard for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Churn the ice cream in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fold the bittersweet chocolate chunks into the ice cream and freeze until scoop able.



This chocolate sauce is so tense, due to the high percentage of cocoa mass. But it’s very easy to make, you can use this sauce to pour over ice cream or etc. (or I just dip a piece of bread in it and taste a delicious sauce).

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
Makes about 1½ cups (525 grams)

4½ ounces (130 grams) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona Guanaja,(or any brands, which contain 70% of cocoa mass) finely chopped
1 cup (250 grams) Water
½ cup (125 grams) heavy cream
⅓ cup (70 grams) sugar

Place all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens very slightly and coats the back of the spoon. (Alternatively you can use the draw-a-line test: Dip the spoon into the sauce and draw your finger down the back of the spoon - if the sauce doesn’t run into the track created by your finger, it’s done.) This can take 10 to 15 minutes and shouldn’t be rushed. Use the sauce immediately, or allow it to cool, then chill until needed. Reheat the sauce in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water or in a microwave oven.

Monday, August 25, 2008


This is one of the special requests that I really want to make, a birthday cake. A friend of mine wants to make a birthday cake for her daughter, Pauleen, who will turn 1 year old in 2 weeks. She wants to make a special cake which is not too hard for the beginner. I try to find the recipe which taste is good, good appearance and not too difficult to make. I think this “White Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting” would be perfect. The cake is easy to make and requires no special skills. Actually, it's just a plain butter cake with a little twist. And the frosting is very easy. I choose the frosting recipe that use only simple ingredient and no egg (so, no need to use any sugar thermometer, just beating up everything).

The recipe is from one of my dearest cookbooks
This is the picture of the book (I bought it because of the drawing but end up using many recipes from it). The amount of the recipe is quite small, good for entertaining at home, and the pictures are so cute.
I hope that this recipe will make Pauleen’s birthday, a great and yummy day for her. Happy Birthday! Pauleen.


1¼ cups / 160g
cake flour
1½ tsp
baking powder

Pinch of salt
¼ cup
heavy cream
¼ cup
sour cream
3 oz / 85g
white chocolate
½ cup/ 115g
unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup/ 150g
½ tsp
vanilla extract
large eggs, separated

1 Grease and flour 8 or 9 inch pan. Sift the measured flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
2 Whisk the cream and sour cream together and set aside.
3 Melt the chocolate over simmering water. Set aside to let cool.

4 Cream the butter and ½ cup (100g) of the sugar together until light and fluffy.
5 Stir melted chocolate into butter mixture, beat to combine.
6 Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the vanilla.
7 Add half of the dry ingredients, then half of cream and sour cream, mixing well after each addition. Repeat with remaining half of ingredients.

8 Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup (50g) sugar, beating continuously until stiff but not dry.
9 Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, then turn into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. (If using 8 inch pan the baking time will be longer, about 40-45 minute, and you need to cover the top of the cake with aluminum foil after baking for 20 minutes).

6 oz / 170g
white chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp
heavy cream
1 cup/ 225g
unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup/ 150g
powdered sugar
½ tsp
vanilla extract

A dash of salt

1 Melt the chocolate in the cream over simmering water, stirring continuously. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
2 Cream the butter until light. Gradually beat in the cooled chocolate, then the sugar and salt beating until the frosting is smooth, light, and fluffy.

1 Cut the cake into two layers, and spread the butter cream on top of the first layer.
2 Place another layer on top, frost top and side of the cake.
3 Decorate as you like.

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blackberry and Lime Sorbet: Tangy Refreshing

Because I really love to bake so I can’t help have a lot of frozen berry in my freezer, “what can you do when you want to make something and you lack of the ingredient” that is my idea. And what happen next is I end up have too much of it, so I have to find the way to use it instead (what an ironic situation, I never run out of berry but I nearly run out of the recipe, haha). This situation happens to my friend, too, and she turn too me (in fact I really want to say that I still don’t know what to do with mine neither, oh mine!) Any way after a bit of flip and flap the cookbook pages, I find out that sorbet is the great way to end the frozen berry life. There are a lot of berry in the sorbet to give its texture, and you can have it with so little guilt, because it’s fat free. You can use other kind of berry in this recipe just remember to adjust the sugar amount to suit your ingredients. This sorbet is so tangy and fragrance. So let clear our freezer and replace it with the delicious sorbet.

Blackberry and Lime Sorbet

Serves 4-6

180g -200g

caster (superfine) sugar

250 ml



frozen blackberry (thawed)

60 ml

Lime juice

A pinch of salt

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat and stir without boiling until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to the boil for 1 minute. Set aside to cool.

Whizz the blackberry in a blender, and strain to remove the pit.

Combine the blackberry puree, lime juice, salt and the sugar syrup, refrigerate until cool (or put in the freezer for 1-2 hours).

Place the mixture in an ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to freeze.

Adaptation from: Simple Essentials Fruit (Simple Essentials) by Donna Hay

Blackberry and Lime Sorbet

Thursday, August 21, 2008

TARTELETTES AUX FRUITS: French Fruits Tartlets

The colorful fruit tarts on the pastry shops always catch my heart, and I dream about making it. I love the freshness and fragrance of the fruit, when come with the soft and lightly sweet cream filling, how can you ask for more. But make a colorful tart that taste good as its look is not easy; the big problem for me is the tart shell. I want the one that’s not too hard to cut with a dessert fork but not too soft that the tart can’t hold its shape. Do you think I want too much from a little tart?

After a bit of trying I come up with this recipe from ..............

I love this Pâte Brisée recipe, it’s the answer for me, it’s soft but still holds it shape, and it’s easy to make and roll (and re-roll, haha). The filling is quite good too; it’s a mixing of Crème Pâtissière and Crème Chantilly, which stay soft and dreamy when eating. Remember that these tarts can’t be keep longer than 1 day so plan to serve them on the day you make. (Ps. You can make the tart shell one day before making the filling).
Makes about 8-12 pieces (7x2 cm tart tin)

Pâte Brisée

Cake flour
Butter (cold and cut into small dice)
Egg yolks

A pinch of salt
Icing sugar

Crème Pâtissière

Granulated sugar
Egg yolks
Plain flour

Seed from vanilla bean (from ½ of the bean)
Cointreau (orange liqueur)

Crème Chantilly

200 cc
Whipping cream
Icing sugar

Apricot Glaze

Apricot preserve

Fruit of your choices
I use strawberry, kiwi, orange, cherry and persimmon.
You can use one type or mix to make your tart colorful.

Make the Pâte Brisée:

Sift the flour, icing sugar, and salt in the bowl.
Put the butter in the flour mixture and rub to form a little crumb.
Add the egg yolks and 1tbsp of water into the bowl, and mix by pushing (not kneading) until the ingredients start forming a ball (you can add more water if the dough seen dry).
Transfer the ball onto the work surface and knead it with the palm of your hand for a few seconds to obtain homogeneous dough. Do not overwork the dough. Wrap in plastic and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Lightly butter the tart tins.
Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap until it’s about 2 mm. thick.
Remove the top layer of plastic wrap from the dough, using fork stab all over the dough.
Using a 9cm pastry cutter cut discs out of the rolled out dough.
Place disc over the molds.
Using your fingers lightly floured or, preferably, a stuffing tool, press the dough inside each cavity, taking care not to tear the dough.
Wrap in plastic and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180º C
Line unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with pie weights, bake the tartlet shells in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until golden. (If your tartlets are still pale after 20 minutes, remove the weights and put them back in the oven for 5 minutes more.)
Turn out the tartlets onto a cooling rack, remove weights. Let them cool down to room temperature.
Make the Crème Pâtissière:

Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan.
Meanwhile whisk the egg yolk, sugar, seeds from vanilla bean, plain flour and cornstarch together in a bowl.
Whisk the boiling milk into this mixture and return the mixture into the saucepan.
Bring the mixture back to a boil and boil the cream for one minute whisking constantly to avoid scorching. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.
Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur. Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool.
Make the Crème Chantilly:

Pour the cream into a bowl and add the icing sugar. Using a balloon whisk or electric beaters, whip the cream until it just forms soft peaks.
Make the filling:

Fold the Crème Chantilly into the Crème Pâtissière, and spoon the filling into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle.
Make the Apricot Glaze:

Heat the apricot preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid. Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.


Prepare the fruit by cutting into desire shape and place the fruit on paper towel to absorb moisture.
Brush the tartlets with apricot glaze (wait for the tart to dry a bit), and pipe the filling in.
Top the tartlets with fruits and brush the fruit with the apricot glaze.
Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.



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