French Baking Recipe

Baking is one of the primary cooking procedures in French cuisine. Several French pastries, breads and cakes are prepared by baking them. And one such classic French dessert that is prepared by baking it is the éclair.

Éclairs are oblong shaped French pastries that are filled with a pastry or whipped cream filling and topped off with a layer of chocolate ganache.

French Baking

Other than custard and whipped cream filling, sometimes chocolate, fruits or coffee flavored fillings are also used to fill up the éclairs. The name éclair actually means “flash of lightning” in French, but that doesn’t seem to have any relation to the French pastry éclairs. It is believed that éclairs originated in France during the nineteenth century and since then, have  gained huge popularity throughout the world.

Difficulty Level: Easy
Yields Per Recipe: 9-10
Preparation Time Required: 15-20 minutes
Cooking Time Required: 50-60 minutes

Required Appliances

2 saucepans
1 cookie sheet
1 glass
Parchment paper
1 sieve
1 large bowl
1 handheld electric mixer
1 heatproof bowl
1 wooden spoon
2 piping bags

Required Ingredients

1 cup of plain all-purpose flour
1 cup of milk, at room temperature
½ cup + 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons of white granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
1 cup of water, at room temperature

For The Cream Filling

600 ml of cream
275 grams of white granulated sugar

For The Chocolate Ganache

½ cup + 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate
½ teaspoon of vegetable cooking oil
1/4th cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature

Method Of Preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare the cookie sheet by lining it with a parchment paper. Once done, set aside the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and then take a saucepan. Place the saucepan on the stove and light up the flame. Set the flame on medium and let the saucepan heat up.

Once the saucepan heats up, pour the water and the milk in it. Add 2/3rd cup of unsalted butter to the milk and water mixture and then bring the mixture to a boil. Stir the mixture to melt the butter quickly. Once the mixture starts boiling, add-in the salt and the sugar. Let the mixture boil for 2-3 minutes or until it comes to a rapid boil.

2. While the mixture is boiling, take a large bowl and place a sieve over it. Tip the flour into the sieve and then shake the sieve lightly to sift the flour into the bowl. Once done, reduce the flame to medium low and add the flour to the butter and milk mixture.

Stir the mixture immediately to combine the flour with the rest of the ingredients and then try to form smooth dough. Cook the dough until it starts to pull away from the walls of the saucepan. Once that happens, remove the saucepan from the heat and turn off the flame.

3. Transfer the dough to a bowl of electric mixer and let it cool down a bit. Now crack open the eggs one by one and transfer their contents to the saucepan. Break and stir the dough to immediately combine the eggs with it and make sure that you combine one egg at a time.

Add the eggs until the dough turns into a thinner paste. Once that happens, take a pastry bag and insert it tip side-down into a glass. Then fill up the pastry bag with the choux pastry paste. Now fetch the prepared cookie sheet and pipe out strips of pastry on it, which should be about 4-inch long and 1 ½-inch wide. Arrange the pastries by maintaining some distance between each because they will expand and swell up on baking.

4. Once the entire cookie sheet is filled, pop it into the preheated oven and bake the éclairs for 10-15 minutes or until they turn firm and golden-brown in color. Then lower down the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the éclairs for another 15-20 minutes.

Once done, take out the éclairs from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool them down. While the éclairs are cooling, take a large bowl and pour the cream in it. Add 275 grams of white granulated sugar to the cream and then whisk the mixture until you get stiff peaks.

French Baking Recipe

5. Once done, cover the bowl with plastic cling film and pop it into the refrigerator until it is ready to be used. Next, take a saucepan and fill it halfway up with water. Place the saucepan on the stove and light up the flame. Set the flame on medium low and wait for the water to heat up.

While the water is heating up, take a heatproof bowl and put the chocolate and 1/4th cup of butter in it. Once the water in the saucepan starts forming vapors, place the heatproof bowl over it and stir the butter and chocolate together to melt them. Stir the mixture continuously to prevent the chocolate and butter from burning and to incorporate them nicely.

6. Once you get a smooth mixture, add the vegetable oil to it and stir to combine. Once done, remove the saucepan and the heatproof bowl from the heat. Now take out the cream filling from the refrigerator and fill that into a piping bag.

Next, take the éclairs and slit open one of the sides in half vertically. Slit all the éclairs in the same way to create room for the filling. Now take the cream filling and pipe out the filling to fill each éclair with the filling. Finally, spread the melted chocolate mixture over the top of each éclair to serve.

Tips    

1. You can also fill up the éclairs without slitting them. For that, just pipe-in the filling through the holes of the éclairs.
2. You can also use a chocolate or coffee filling to fill up the éclairs.
3. Adding a little vegetable oil to the chocolate ganache helps to make it very shiny.