Yesterday for Mother’s Day I made a very simple and elegant dessert for my mama: eclairs filled with vanilla bean whipped cream and macerated strawberries.
First, I started by making the eclair shells. This dough is called Pate a Choux. Fancy, huh? Well, this is an extremely easy dough to make and can be used for savory or sweet applications. This is the same dough used for making cream puffs, profiteroles, gougeres, etc. Here’s how I made it:
Pate a Choux (makes about 20 mini eclairs):
1/4 Cup: Milk
1/4 Cup: Water
1/2 Stick (4 Tablespoons): Butter
Pinch: Ground Nutmeg (optional)
1/2 Cup: Flour
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with nonstick paper. In a small pot, bring the water, milk, butter, salt, sugar and nutmeg to a simmer. Add in the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a film on the bottom of the pot and pulls away from the sides. This takes about 2 minutes.
2) Remove from the heat and add eggs one at a time mixing well after each egg. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (you could also use a round tip, but I like the way they look with a star tip). Pipe the eclairs about 2 inches long onto the sheet pan. Lightly press down on the end of the dough by dipping your finger in water. Bake the eclairs for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely.
While the eclairs were baking, I made both fillings. They can be kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the dessert.
P.S. I love this dough because after the eclairs are baked, they can be stored in a plastic baggie and kept in the freezer for whenever you need them. Love that!
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream:
1 Cup: Heavy Cream, cold
3 Tablespoons: Sugar
1/2 Vanilla Bean-split and seeds scraped *Don’t throw away the empty vanilla bean! Put it into your sugar container.*
1 teaspoon: Vanilla Extract
1) In a bowl whip the heavy cream using a whisk or in a mixer until it thickens slightly. Add in the sugar, vanilla seeds and vanilla extract and whip until it forms medium peaks. Cover and let it chill in the refrigerator.
About 1 cup of diced strawberries
1/4 Cup: Sugar
2 teaspoons: Fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons: Vanilla Extract
Time to assemble!
4) Put the other eclair shell on top.
5) Dust with powdered sugar.
I had a delicious raspberry sauce leftover from when I made brownie sundaes. It looked beautiful and mama loved it!!