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Strawberries & Cream Eclairs

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:ImageImage

Pate a Choux (makes about 20 mini eclairs):

1/4 Cup: Milk

1/4 Cup: Water

1/2 Stick (4 Tablespoons): Butter

Pinch: Salt

Pinch: Sugar

Pinch: Ground Nutmeg (optional)

1/2 Cup: Flour

2 Eggs

Directions: 

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. Image

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.Image

Macerated Strawberries:

About 1 cup of diced strawberries

1/4 Cup: Sugar

2 teaspoons: Fresh basil, chopped

2 teaspoons: Vanilla Extract

1) Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for 20 minutes until some of the juices are released from the strawberries. Image

Time to assemble!

1) Cut all the eclair shells in half using a serrated knife. *The shells should be very light and pretty much hollow on the inside. This is how you know you did something right!*Image

2) Fill the bottom shell with a dollop of whipped cream.Image

3) Add a few macerated strawberries on top.Image

4) Put the other eclair shell on top.

5) Dust with powdered sugar.

Done!Image

These were perfect! Light and not too sweet. This is how I plated my mom’s eclairs:Image

I had a delicious raspberry sauce leftover from when I made brownie sundaes. It looked beautiful and mama loved it!!

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