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.


  1. I am happy you enjoyed your eclairs!

  2. Mmm! Delightful eclairs!

  3. Your eclaires look really good. The step by step pics are great. Glad you enjoyed them.

  4. Hi Pook,

    I really enjoy reading ur blog and the most beautiful blog...the trouble you take to show us how the eclairs were done..steps by steps photos were indeed great! :)
    Thanks for sharing your kitchen experiences.

  5. Great job on the challenge! Your eclairs look perfect and delicious. Glad you could join us again this month.

  6. Thos look so beautiful!! Great job!

  7. Hi, dailydelicious, I just did this yesterday and it turned out great! My kids love it! Thank you for sharing.
    May I add to ask on the puff. After baking and splitting the puff into 2, I noticed the interior is...not totally dry or baked whereas the exterior is a beautiful golden. Is that the right texture? And the puff is quite hollow instead of dense, is that correct? Thanks.

  8. Yes, you did it right ^^, the inside of the puff should me hollow.
    But if you want it to be dry, bake in low temperature for 10-15 minutes more.

  9. Haha...No, no & no, I'm not gonna to change anything. My kids said your recipe far excel those big names! Wow! Thank you once again for sharing! Have a great day!

  10. Hi Pook!
    I was wondering if I did not add the chocolate and add vanilla at the beginning in this pastry cream recipe, would I be able to get the same texture pastry cream? I would like to use this pastry cream recipe for both chocolate and vanilla as I am always left with 5 egg yolks and this recipe seems very easy for me to follow!

    Thank you.

  11. Yes, you can left out the chocolate and use it as a plain pastry cream ^^.
    You can use this recipe "" as a guide for different flavours.



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