Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lemon Eclairs

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Eclairs are just one of those foods that I had never tried before until this past summer, but once I did, I was so hooked. Mostly just because they are fun to make, but also because of the endless flavors and fillings that can jazz up the simple dough.

For these particular eclairs, I decided to fill them with whipped cream and lemon curd. I think that a strawberry whipped cream or a caramel pastry cream would also be super delicious. If you want a vanilla and chocolate recipe, you could adapt these cream puffs.

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We'll start by making the lemon curd. It's a combination of sugar, lemon zest and delicious.

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Since the lemon curd has a bit of a zing to it, these eclairs are not too sweet.

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While that cools, we can make the pate a choux.

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Beating the flour into the dough is one of my new favorite things.

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Once the flour is well incorporated, you can transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and add the eggs. You may need slightly more or slightly less than four, but four is usually a great number.

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Magic!

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While the dough bakes and cools, make the whipped cream. Then, you are ready to fill them.

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One side is yellow, and the other is white.

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Smash together, sprinkle with powdered sugar and you have your eclairs.

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Lemon Eclairs
from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook

Ingredients:
for the lemon curd filling:
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks

for the pate a choux:
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup flour
4 large eggs

for the whipped cream filling:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

powdered sugar, for dusting the eclairs

Directions:
To make the lemon curd filling, place the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk briefly. Set aside.
Place the lemon juice, zest, sugar, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until butter is melted. Whisk half of the hot lemon mixture into the egg mixture, then slowly whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining lemon mixture. Cook the lemon and egg mixtures over low heat, scraping the bottom constantly, until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Then, pour the thickened lemon curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Refrigerate the curd until firm and cold.
To make the pate a choux, preheat oven to 425F. Place the water, butter, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the flour and stir quickly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cook for another minute and transfer to a bowl of an electric mixer.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Place the dough in a pastry bag and pipe the eclairs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, and then lower the oven to 350F. Continue to bake for 20 minutes, until the eclairs are golden and dry.
To make the whipped cream filling, whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla to soft peaks.
To assemble the eclairs, cut the eclairs in half lengthwise to separate the tops and bottoms. Fill the bottom half with lemon curd and pipe whipped cream into the tops. Place the tops and bottoms together, then dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

5 comments:

  1. I still haven't tried to make eclairs! I'm still a bit nervous around pastry! I love your flavour combination

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  2. I've never made eclairs - but if they are as easy as you say, I need to make them stat! :)

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  3. These sound amazing. I've never made choux pastry before, I must try it soon.

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  4. it's super easy! and, with a very satisfying product at the end :)

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  5. These look gorgeous! I've attempted cream puffs before but not eclairs yet. Might try this flavour combination the next time, maybe with marshmallow fluff instead of cream. Yum! :)

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