Ok, choux pastry, you got me. You seem easy to make. When done right, you are delightful. You are light, crispy, buttery and oh so delicate. You are usually filled with a creamy flavoured concoction and if it were up to me, you’d always be drenched in chocolate. French pastry perfection!
Why am I waxing lyrical about choux pastry? I was contacted over a month ago by Stitch Craft Create, inquiring whether I’d be interested in a blog hop for author and blogger, Ruth Clemens’ new book, Creative Eclairs, which is being published later this month. Ruth was a finalist on the Great British Bake Off and she blogs at The Pink Whisk.
Isn’t the cover of her book beautiful?
Exciting news: the publisher, FW Media, is very generously providing one of you, dear readers, with a free copy of this lovely book (rules for the giveaway are at the bottom of this post). Since it’s called Creative Eclairs, the entire book revolves around Ruth’s recipe for choux pastry, for which there are wonderful and extremely helpful step by step photos. Once you get the pastry down, there’s an endless array of possibilities for yummy fillings. Check out these gorgeous photos from the book:
I’ve always wanted to make a croquembouche! They’re so fancy and impressive! And I barely know how to pronounce it, much less spell it, so obviously, it’s uber classy. And you know, dear readers, that I am a classy lady (I know – I barely typed those words out without laughing).
Since the choux pastry forms the foundation of the book, I’m not going to be sharing the recipe with you (but one lucky reader will get a chance to try it out!). I will say this. The ingredients are simple. You very likely already have everything you need in your kitchen. The steps are simple too and easy to follow.
This was my very first time making choux pastry and I just didn’t count on it to be so…finicky. And this is no fault of the book. It’s human error, fo’ sho’. I think my pastry was a bit too wet and when I piped it, I piped out too much at once.
This yielded wide, flat éclairs that didn’t puff up. No biggie.
I filled them with a delicious pastry cream and covered them in chocolate. That fixes everything.
Ok, I didn’t exactly use pastry cream. I made a cheaters version.
Cheaters Vanilla Pastry Cream
1 box Jello vanilla pudding mix (the small box with only 4 servings)
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
Make the pudding according to the box directions. Easy as pie, people: whip the pudding mix and 2 cups milk for about two minutes. Scrape into a bowl and palce in the fridge while you make the whipped cream.
Place 1 cup cold whipping cream into the bowl of your stand mixer with 1 tbsp icing sugar. Whip until you get medium firm peaks. Fold the whpping cream into the pudding. Heavenly.
For the chocolate glaze, I melted 6 ounces of rich milk chocolate and stirred in 2 tbsp of coconut oil to give it a beautiful, glossy shine.
These aren’t the most beautiful éclairs (they look like long john donuts!) but damn, did they ever taste good. Even my in-laws and the Husband loved these and they are NOT dessert people (how did I end up in this family?!?!?!?).
I am determined to make beautiful, perfect, puffed up profiteroles and éclairs. This just means I’ll be re-doing this recipe again and again until I get it right!
For an excellent blog post on how to make choux pastry, check out my friend Allie’s detailed post over at Baking a Moment. The girl has mad skills!
If you want to purchase a copy of Ruth’s book, you can do so by clicking here.
GIVEAWAY RULES: GIVEAWAY CLOSED I have one copy of Creative Eclairs to give away, worth £14.99. This giveaway is open worldwide. I am running this giveaway on behalf of FW Media, who will be responsible for sending the book to you by post. There is no cash alternative to the prize nor is the prize transferable.
Entry is simple: leave me a comment below and tell me what flavour of pastry filling is your favourite. Giveaway closes at 11:59 pacific standard time on April 9, 2014. I will notify the winner by email.
Good luck, everyone, with both the contest and choux-pastry-making!
Disclosure: I received a free PDF copy of Creative Eclairs. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions and comments are my own.