I am experiencing an Oprah moment. No, not one of those moments when she makes you realise you can solve all of life’s problems by reducing the number of wire hangers in your closet. Rather, I’ve bitten into a chocolate eclair and silence overwhelms me for a split second, before I moan, Oh, honey, hush! The audience roars in approval and in an instant, women are up from their seats, crying in joy when told they’re all getting free eclairs as well.
I recall at Tafe, when we were told that eclairs and profiteroles were good items to have on any menu because they were cheap to produce. Unfortunately a surfeit of cheap ingredients does not necessarily a good dessert make, which is what put me off eclairs to begin with. I’d tasted too many eclairs filled with imitation cream and compound chocolate, to ever consider the fact that they were worth making at home.
It wasn’t until a chance encounter with a slim finger of an eclair at Sadaharu Aoki’s patisserie in Tokyo, that I discovered how good these pastries can be, and how Oprah might approve of them too. Toothsome, silky, creamy and flavoursome; one bite alone reminded me of those TV ads featuring ladies who seem to do nothing all day but walk around langurously in expensive evening gowns, bathe in milk and eat Magnum ice-creams. Or Cadbury’s Milk Tray (“All because the lady loves…”)
So I was incredibly happy to have managed to find some time to complete this month’s DB Challenge (and all because I now love….) : Pierre Herme’s Chocolate Eclairs! Usually I like to put my own spin on a recipe but this time I decided to stick to what was given. Partly, because I don’t recall ever having made chocolate pastry cream before and was keen to give it a go. Otherwise it would have been too tempting to have a range of different fillings, such as green tea, raspberry or banana caramel!
These eclairs are indeed Oprah-worthy. It is the sum of their parts that makes the whole, well worth the effort. Choux pastry if eaten plain is a bit boring; chocolate pastry cream, licked from the spoon is a bit meh, although the chocolate glaze is lovely and bittersweet. Combine all three components together, and you have fireworks.. or a standing ovation.