Daring Bakers Challenge: All because we love.. Chocolate Eclairs

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.

Thank you to Tony and Meeta who picked this month’s challenge. Check out their blogs for the recipe and don’t forget to look at what other fellow Daring Bakers came up with!

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61 Comments »

  1. Gabriela said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 7:13 am

    I’m way too scared to come near a Pierre Herme recipe at the moment, but hopefully in the future. These look friggin’ divine though.

  2. clumbsycookie said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 7:31 am

    The first ones I see this month! Lovely black out eclairs, so pretty with the cocoa and nibs(?) You would sure get a standing ovation from me!

  3. Hannah said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 7:38 am

    Great description, you’re so right! I would never eat plain pate choux, but it’s so integral to a good eclair… Truly a dessert who’s sum is greater than its parts.

  4. Courtney said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 7:51 am

    looked your opening, too funny! the eclairs were a great pick, got to love them. I actually liked the choux pastry plain i kept eating them while the other stuff was cooking!

  5. magnus said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 8:50 am

    HI,
    it looks lovely.When I lived in Paris I could hardly live one day without an eclair. I tried to find the recepie at the sites you link to but was not able to find any. Could you please forward the recepie.

    magnus

  6. Aran said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 9:03 am

    oh yes, hush, hush… delicious!

  7. steph (whisk/spoon) said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 10:15 am

    i think oprah would totally approve! they look great!

  8. Lorraine E said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 10:25 am

    Haha Oprah moment! I bet her friend Gail would love these too, she’s the food obsessed one of the pair. And yes I watch too much Oprah….

    I agree that there are too many bad eclairs (and profiteroles) that put me off the concept until I tried a Religeuse at Laduree. I would bet that these are as good as the Laduree ones, and it’s not just because of the generous amount of chocolate on them! ;)

  9. Christie @ fig&cherry said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 10:46 am

    Wooden hangers really do help your clothes last longer… ;)

    Your presentation, again, is inspiring! Gorgeous.

  10. Vera said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 10:48 am

    Y, I so agree with you – they are fantastic!

  11. Marija said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 11:07 am

    Wonderful! Your eclairs are perfect!

  12. Caitlin said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 11:17 am

    Wow – I was momentarily stopped in my tracks by the flavor ideas. Banana caramel? That sounds fabulous! I love the Oprah moment thought too. So funny, I have the perfect image in my head of Oprah biting into one of these now. I think I’d be jumping out of my chair for one too though – awesome job!

  13. pea and pear said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 11:47 am

    Oh they really teach you some wonders at tafe don’t they..hehehehehe.
    Well your eclairs looks delicious , of course. I may have to try chocolate filling on my second attempt!

  14. rainbowbrown said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

    Good golly. Those look dark and luscious to say the very least. So, so glad you got to eat and make really good éclairs.

  15. maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

    delicious. I can’t believe a month has gone by since your cute little green flowers and nut cake from last months DB.

  16. Michelle said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

    Well done! I didn’t have such great results… but yours look wonderful! :)

  17. cookemila said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

    delicious, totally chocolate for chocoholicos like me …. uhm

  18. cyn said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 3:32 pm

    well i’ll say, the choc creme looks all dark and seductive. love the way you decorated your eclairs! :)

  19. courtney said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

    Before I even read the post I was struck at how rich and decadent these looked. I know what you mean about cheap ecliars. These are to die for.

  20. Naama said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

    I don`t think that I looked at a more tempting Chocolate Eclair picture before! They looks so rich and full of lovely chocolate flavor, well done!

  21. Duncan | Syrup&Tang said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

    A great description of the ups and downs of the éclair experience. Yours look beautiful, as always, Y.

  22. Deeba said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 6:55 pm

    Toothsome, silky, creamy and flavoursome…& SEDUCTIVE!!! Best I’ve seen today! Hush indeed, these are YUM!!

  23. ELRA said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 6:56 pm

    Your eclaires look very chocolaty, I’m sure Oprah would love them!

  24. Christy said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

    I wish mine looked half as snazzy as yours!! But my glaze refused to cooperate and I ended up in a bad mood—read: not wanting to waste time on decorating them. Now I wish that I had!! Beautiful job!!

  25. cakebrain said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 1:33 am

    I have PH’s book and have been eyeing his recipes for a while…but I’m scared! Your eclairs look so delicious! You can’t go wrong with chocolate in my mind!

  26. grace said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 4:39 am

    i would gladly stuff my face with one of these and proudly walk around with chocolate and cream smeared all over my face. nicely done. :)

  27. Rosa said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 5:55 am

    Your Eclairs look very beautiful! Great job!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  28. Tarah said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 6:20 am

    Oh wow! Great job! They look fantastic!!

  29. Alexa said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 8:19 am

    I wish I could share your Oprah moment and bite into these… I too would be silent and then… Your eclairs look gorgeous, rich, decadent and everything that a great eclair should be.

  30. Leonor said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 8:25 am

    I love the exquisite touch of cocoa and the contrast with white chocolate…

    Amazing!!

  31. Cakelaw said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 10:34 am

    I am so with you – there are so many bakeries that murder the concept of an eclair by filling a dry old piece of leather with mock cream and topping it with melted coooking chocolate – ewwww. Luckily, I had grown up knowing what a good choux bun tasted like because my Mum made them every so often. Your look marvellous – that chocolate on chocolate is decadence itself.

  32. Katie B. said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

    Whoa – your eclairs look so so sooooooo good! No wonder everyone jumped out of their seats! ;-)

  33. morgana said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

    Chocolate, chocolate, cholate… I love your chocéclairs… And now I think I musto go and shopping come chocolate. I wonder why… ;-) Congratulations, very very good job.

  34. linda said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

    Love the look of the eclairs! I’m glad you liked them so much, I didn’t too much but that had more to do with me than the eclair itself ;)

  35. breadchick said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

    OH look at all that cocoa goodness!

  36. Tarah said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

    Wow. Beautiful… just… beautiful.

  37. Zoë François said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 1:53 am

    luscious is what comes to mind. Beautiful eclairs!

  38. Zita said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 4:29 am

    mmmph…emmm.. chocolate de la chocolate…got to make it again…*run to the kitchen *

  39. snookydoodle said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 5:52 am

    Wow just discovered your blog. And the photos are great and everything is so sensational. Really like your blog :-)

  40. Jude said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 2:47 pm

    Yum. Nice touch with the chocolate powder on the glaze. Looks so nice with the piped pastry cream.

  41. Aparna said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 7:16 pm

    Your eclairs look fantastic, with the dusting of cocoa on the top. I’m having an Oprah moment myself- one of the audience who’s giving you a standing ovation.

  42. Tartelette said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

    *speaking real low*: they are absolutely scrumptious! I love how you decorated them and how choco-chocolate they are! Well done!!

  43. Anita said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 3:19 am

    I love finding all these other Sadaharu Aoki fans – I think he’s genius! Your eclairs look great, and I agree PH has a way of making the classics even better!

  44. Sophie said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 7:19 am

    I’m glad you had time to make these too, as I always love to see what you’re making…and your challenges always come out beautifully! Though I’m not an eclairs fan, I’d definitely eat these b/c of all that chocolate!! YUM! Oh if only it were gluten-free :D !

  45. Natashya said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 11:43 am

    Yes! Yes! Yes!
    Thunderous applause and free eclairs for everyone! How wonderful.
    I love your write up and your photos, just beautiful.

  46. Lisa said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 11:48 am

    Wow..your eclairs look so beautiful and ‘chocolatey’. However, I can’t stop looking at your macarons and macaron cupcakes, among all of your other yummy creations and photos. Fantastic blog!

    BTW…talk about being on the same wavelength with the caramel bananas and raspberries!!

  47. noble pig said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

    Your eclairs are beautiful! I swear seeing all these has pushed me into finally making some myself!

  48. sunita said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

    Your eclairs do scream ‘eat me’ quite loud…very scrumptious :-)

  49. Erik said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

    Your eclairs look wonderful. The dusting of cocoa is a nice touch that just adds another level of class and sophistication.

  50. Ellie said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 3:27 am

    Wow, daring! I’ve never dabble in eclairs before, but I’m thinking of trying croissants, any experience?, And yes lots and lots of heart on the baguettes, the next batch should be ready tomorrow morning

  51. Indigo said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 6:49 am

    You’re so right; I never consider myself a big fan of eclairs cause so often you come across the nasty ones with fake cream and cheap chocolate. Whereas these look so sophisticated and classy! Count me in the audience, cheering XD.

  52. Mae said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 9:48 am

    They look divine! Choux pastry is kind of next to my list of ‘must try’ however i could only hope that they would look as good as these beauties…

  53. leslie said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

    These are probably the most beautiful Eclairs I have seen yet!!! I love the contrast with the different textures of Chocolate on top!! BRAVO

  54. Mari said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 3:23 am

    I wish I could just reach into my monitor and pull out one of your gorgeous eclairs!!! You did a beautiful job!

  55. prettytastycakes said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 10:05 am

    these look sooo decadent and delicious. really lovely…

  56. Amber said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 10:31 am

    I love the simplicity and beauty of the 3 toppings. You have a great eye for style.

  57. lauren said,

    September 7, 2008 @ 1:55 am

    your eclairs look great! i like the dusted cocoa powder on top.

  58. Adam said,

    September 7, 2008 @ 3:32 am

    Hey, thanks for stopping by my site, Y. I really like what you’ve done here, and it’s always nice to meet another cool baker :)

  59. Miri said,

    September 9, 2008 @ 10:03 pm

    Wonderful looking eclairs, Y, they are so tempting!

  60. matt wright said,

    September 10, 2008 @ 2:51 am

    Bloody, bloody hell. These look awesome. I haven’t had one in years, and now you might actually have convinced me to put down my hatred of baking, and make them. Darn you!

  61. Shari said,

    September 10, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

    I agree…it is an Oprah moment biting into a homemade eclair, and yours (with the cocoa sprinkles and glaze) looks amazing!

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