4.15.2011

Our First French Friday with Dorie: Eclairs

Around Christmas, using some deep-discount coupon plus book rewards points, and justified as a present to "A Couple in the Kitchen," Amy bought the gorgeous then-new cookbook by author Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table.  And are we ever glad she did. This is perhaps the most well-written, instructive, helpful and simply beautiful cookbook we own, bar none. A feast for the eyes and the foodie soul, this book, not only offers recipes, but hints, advice, and variations or suggestions for making the author's recipes your own, all with the expertise that comes from her many years of living in France. 


About a month after buying the book, we learned of the bloggers' group "French Fridays with Dorie," in which food blog enthusiasts vote on and make one recipe from the book each week and then blog about it on "French Fridays." This week is the first time we've had the time/means/energy to participate and boy did we choose a "doozie."  For this week's recipe is not just one recipe, but three recipes in one! To make eclairs, one must make the pastry itself, the pastry cream, and the glaze for the top. And it's a dessert, which means we have to bake!  (And we're not really known for our baking skills).



 Pate 
de
choux


To wit, it took us two evenings to make our eclairs. Not because of lack of time, but because the first night, we experienced Pastry Cream Fail. Yeah...we didn't boil the pastry cream quite long enough, so when we went to fill the eclairs, we had cream that was runny, loose, and tasted like corn starch. Not good. A bit frustrated, we stored our not-perfect-but-tasty pastries in an air-tight container and left the project for the next evening.


Pastry
cream






Meanwhile, Chris spoke to one of the chefs at his school, which has an amazing culinary program. He told Chris where we went wrong, and that night, we were back on task. We even did a little innovating with our recipe, adding a couple of teaspoons of Grand Marnier to our pastry cream, and making a chocolate ganache instead of the usual confectionary-sugar glaze for the top. Who doesn't love orange and chocolate?!?

Gan-
ache







The recipe (page 473 - buy the book. Really!) makes 20 eclairs, which the two of us certainly have no business eating. So we shared - a couple went to D and J, a couple went across the street to the "Bagel Fairy" who puts bagels in our mailbox on Sunday mornings, a bunch went to Amy's school (shhh...don't tell about the Grand Marnier!), and of course, one went to Chef. The response was overwhelmingly positive and we were quite proud of ourselves for (finally...) making a successful pastry from scratch. Thanks, Dorie!

19 comments:

jck said...

A+ pastry if you ask me...It was delicious!

Rosemary & Garlic said...

Great that you were rewarded for your perseverance. The fillings sound tasty.

Christina said...

Nice touch adding Grand Marnier! Lovely eclairs and I'm glad your pastry cream turned out in the end... that's the best part!

Mary said...

You have a bagel fairy? I am so jealous. We loved these too.

Foodiva said...

Welcome to FFWD! What a week to join in, when we're baking eclairs. Yours look really perfect and it was a good thing you asked the chef for tips. Hope to see you guys again next Friday!

chefpandita.com said...

Welcome to FFwD and hope to see you every Friday! You did a great job with the ├ęclairs :)

Cher said...

Welcome aboard. It looks like the team approach worked out well! Nice job.

Kate@Diethood said...

Welcome to FFwD! And what a great way to start it...with Eclairs! They look delicious!

Lizzy said...

Welcome to FFwD! Beautiful eclairs!!!

Adriana said...

Glad to see you guys made it! Lucky you to have a chef to consult about some of these things. The eclair halves with the pastry cream and the ganache pictures are droolworthy.

Parsley Sage said...

Nice teamwork! I think they turned out incredibly well. Nice pairing with the orange and the chocolate. Big thumbs way up :)

TheChocolatePriestess said...

It's good when I hear about a well-written cookbook when I see and hear about so many poor ones lately.

onewetfoot said...

Welcome to the group! You certainly did pick a great/challenging week to join. Your final product looks and sounds amazing.

Our Eyes Eat First said...

Win! thanks for the step by step - Ive heard of the book and now inspired to get it : j

Tiffany said...

Congrats on your first French Fridays!

Torviewtoronto said...

yuumy looking eclairs

Lo-mo said...

Oh Wow! Looks fabulous! Too bad about the pastry cream fail..but that is why we keep trying! Turned out great the second time!

sheryl said...

I'm glad to get the info about that book by Dorie Greenspan. I love to make french pastry. I've never tried eclairs, but these look gorgeous!

Cristina said...

Your eclairs turned out perfect and congrats on a successful first French Friday with Dorie! =) I'm looking fwd to adding that cookbook to my library.