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 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's from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme, so check it out when in need of some chocolate goodness.


Dragon said...

I had the same problem with my choux pastry. The first batch fell flat. For the second batch I added a pie plate full of water at the bottom of the oven as it preheated. This created the steam that allows the pastry to rise. This worked perfectly for me.

I love your photo!

Anne said...

I must have been lucky - I see so many posts about these deflating. I did mist mine with water though, both at the start and somewhere in the middle of the baking time. Great job on yours anyway - flat or not! :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Your Eclairs look great!



Leonor said...

Despite your "bad luck" in this DB challenge your ├ęclairs seems delicious!!

Leslie said...

Puffy or flat..they still look good to me!

Emiline said...

I wonder why they didn't stay puffed? I'm not a DB so I don't know.
They still look good, though!

Good job on getting all of the wedding stuff sorted out. Keep us updated!

Sophie said...

Hi Laura,

Great job on this month's Daring Bakers challenge :).

We'd like to invite you to participate in our September apple and peach recipe contest. All competitors will be eligible to win one of three prizes :)! Please email me,, if you're interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details:
Thanks :),

KI Chief Blogger

Laura said...

Thanks all!

I love the water trick, maybe that's what I was missing, will have to try that next time. Oh what I continue to learn :)

(and, whew! Good thing I'm marrying a photographer, great pictures definitely help spruce up a blog post!)