When trees are shaped like hearts; and breakfast means just-brewed coffee slash bike ride slash jonchée eaten as soon as I’ve taken my gum boots off.
And we run barefoot in fields of frost. And the grass glows to the moonlight in a way only gems can. With la grande ourse [the great bear] and a feral cat as our only companions for this aimless journey.
We breathe the cold air and feel alive. We kiss and feel warmer. It’s the very instant that matters.
Yes, at times, it’s ok to loose track. Of time, of purpose…
Days are long. And nights too.
Crossing off to-dos like there is no tomorrow, because, after all, holidays are made of no-tomorrows.
Today, we made éclairs, à la Fauchon. It was fun, and messy. The kitchen ended up looking à la Fauchon too. Stripped with white and black fondants.
It’s fine, really. It is.
We licked our fingers. And ate an éclair, of the à la minute kind. Then scrubbed the counter until it no longer felt sticky. Just our mouths did. And that is a good sign, by all accounts.
Éclairs au chocolat
Inspired by Fauchon.
If you can make choux paste and crème pâtissière, then it really all gets down to glazing an éclair with fondant, then piping straight lines of a coloured fondant. This can be made with either a piping bag or a paper cornet (the latter being my favourite, some things will never change, trust me).
The only trick to know is to make sure both fondant have the same temperature and texture.
For the chocolate fondant, I simply added a bit of cacao powder until it looked dark enough. Then mixed in 30°B syrup until the texture seemed just right.
I guess it’s a bit of a trial and error at first. But it’s ok. We love sticky fingers around here.
And since I’m at it, fondant is a kind of crystallised sugar that can be found in fancy shops. In case it’s nowhere to be found, try mixing icing sugar and a tiny bit of water…
Both the choux paste and crème pâtissière can be made in advance. Since the paste is frozen, you can make it up to a week before. And the cream can stay in the fridge for a couple of days.
However, once the éclairs are filled, they’re best eaten in the day.
Éclairs au chocolat
makes 12 éclairs
for the choux paste
one recipe of choux paste
one egg, for eggwash
butter, to grease the baking tray
Make the choux paste according to the recipe.
Pipe it onto a baking tray lined with baking paper into logs using a 15mm nozzle; then freeze. Cut into 13cm-long éclairs and arrange on a buttered tray. And bake until golden brown (tips on how to bake choux paste here).
For the crème pâtissière
2 egg yolks
30g caster sugar
100g dark chocolate
Bring the milk and cream to the boil. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour. Pour the boiling liquids over the yolks, whisking as you go. Then place back into the pan and cook – whisking at all times – until boiling.
Transfer to a bowl and add the chocolate. Handblend and clingfilm to the touch. Chill.
Using a small nozzle, fill the eclairs. And set aside.
For the glaze
30°B syrup (100g caster sugar + 100g water, brought to the boil, then chilled)
Melt the fondant over a bain-marie or in the microwave. Divide into two heatproof bowls. Add cacao powder to colour one of the batches into a dark brown fondant.
Reheat both fondant over a bain-marie or in the microwave, until it reaches 30-35°C. Adding a little syrup to make it runny enough. Then using a small spatula or your finger, glaze the top of the éclair.
Immediately pipe straight lines of dark fondant, making sure the tip of your bag or cornet is cut small enough (perhaps 2mm, the fondant will spread). Then run your finger along the éclair to clean up it sides and twirl the end of the piped lines.
Repeat with the remaining éclairs. They will keep in the fridge overnight, although they’re best eaten on the same day.