Sunday, August 31, 2008
Try, try again...
I entered this month's Daring Bakers challenge with some trepidation...last month's challenge was a rocky road for me as I struggled to make something that in some way, somehow resembled a delicious dessert that others would want to eat.
When the August challenge was announced, I thought how wonderful this challenge would be. Who doesn't love eclairs? And even if only one of the two dozen turns out well, I can still have a picture perfect baking moment. Things started off smoothly until my perfect puffed eclairs came out of the oven and...de-puffed. Yep. Completely flat and unappetizing, slightly eggy smelling and soft in the center. I hadn't gotten a start on the chocolate pastry cream or the chocolate glaze, so I tossed the flopped desserts into the garbage and stayed away from the kitchen for a week.
I did my research before my next attempt and learned that if your eclairs fall after being removed from the oven, they weren't baked long enough, and it's almost impossible to over bake them. So on my second attempt I left them in as long as I possibly could, certain that my careful and meticulous efforts this time around would ensure that the puffs would stay puffed.
Yet again, almost all of these deflated within moments of being removed from the oven. So I cut my losses and moved forward, whipping together the yummy chocolate pastry cream, the laborious chocolate glaze, and put the whole mess together into a dozen or so chocolate eclairs.
The result? A somewhat picture perfect chocolate-filled moment and a fabulous sugar high Sunday. This time around I confirmed that it is always better to have plenty of extra ingredients on hand, to step away from the oven when verging on insanity, and that there's absolutely nothing better than chocolate pastry cream.
I'd include the recipe, however, it is rather long...it's from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme, so check it out when in need of some chocolate goodness.