Saturday, January 30, 2010

Eclairs with Blood Orange Cream and Cognac Ganache

Dear Megs,

Today I had several new accoutrements to put to use, and I decided that, since I didn't sleep too well last night, I did not have the wherewithal for actual work. So, I decided to try making ├ęclairs, which seem so fabulous that I thought they'd be hard. They aren't!

You don't need these:

Or this:

to make ├ęclairs, but they do make things easier. And kitchen toys are fun.

Eclairs with Blood Orange Cream and Cognac Ganache

1/4 c unsalted butter
1 c water
1/2 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1 c flour
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 400. In a medium saucepan, bring butter, salt, and water to a boil over med-high heat. Reduce heat to med, and add flour and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir well with a wooden spoon, smushing the flour mixture against the sides of the pan to break up lumps. It will seem like it doesn't need more cooking, but do this for 2 minutes anyway. It's ok if some sticks to the bottom.
Remove pan from heat and scrape dough into a different bowl (like, say, the bowl of your new stand mixer, with the paddle attachment) and add eggs at room temp one at a time. Beat continuously as dough separates and then comes back together.
If you want that eclair shape, you'll need a plastic bag or pastry bag fitted with a jumbo star tip. Otherwise just put some dollops of dough on a heavy baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake 45 minutes or so, until dough is light and poofy and golden brown (if desired, brush with lightly beaten egg for shine).

Cognac Ganache
4 square bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c heavy cream
1 t light corn syrup
1 T cognac
Scald cream without allowing it to boil. Remove from heat, and add chopped chocolate, corn syrup, and cognac. Wait a few moments, then stir until smooth.

Blood Orange Cream
1 c whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
zest of 1 blood orange
1 c heavy cream
1 T powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
Scald the milk without allowing to boil. At the same time, whisk yolks and sugar until pale. Add cornstarch and salt, continuing to whisk. Pour the hot milk into egg mixture slowly, continuing to whisk. Return to saucepan, ever whisking, for several minutes, or until cream thickens considerably.
Remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl; whisk in vanilla and orange zest. Chill in fridge for about an hour.
Beat cream, powdered sugar, and remaining vanilla until stiff. Remove pastry cream from fridge and whisk to smooth. Beat about 1/3 of whipped cream into the pastry cream, then fold the rest in to lighten the cream.

Assemble by gently cutting pastry in half, plopping filling in the middle, and spooning warm ganache over the top. Refrigerate.

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