Archive for January, 2015

Eclairs

January 21, 2015

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As we all know, I wanted to make eclairs last week.  Very badly.  But my conscience got the best of me for my first January post, and decided to make some healthy instead.  So now, now that it is squarely in the middle of the month, and we have long forgotten about the holidays, and hopefully, the resolutions, and we have already fast forwarded to gamewatching and chocolatebased foods, we can move on to French pastries.  Please join me.

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Thank you for your time.

Eclairs (recipe from Food and Wine Magazine)

I probably should have pointed out that these are extremely easy to make.  Perhaps a little time intensive, but certainly nothing too difficult.  This could be your new game food!  Seriously, how popular would you be.

Also, important to note: I preferred the smaller cream puffs, over eclairs.  Mostly because they came out more hollow, allowing for more cream, and more goodness all around.  They were also easier to eat.  Alas, I will note – on the third day of eating these eclairs (still so fresh!), I ate these by tearing the pastry, and dipping it, first, directly into the vanilla pastry cream, and then straight into the chocolate.  Yes.  That is just fine with me.  That could be your new game food!  Really, how helpful am I with all of these ideas.

Choux Pastry

  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  3. 2 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  6. 4 large eggs

Pastry Cream

  1. 1 cup whole milk
  2. 1 vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 3 tablespoons cake flour
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1 large egg yolk
  8. 1/2 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Glaze

  1. 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  2. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.   Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes, until the dough comes together and a film forms on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the dough to a large bowl and beat at medium speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1-inch round tip. Pipe twelve 5-inch-long logs onto a baking sheet.  You can also do this with a ziplock bag, and just cut off the corner.  Or, you can scoop out tablespoon-fulls of the dough to make cream puffs.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Turn the oven down to 325° and bake the shells for 30 minutes longer, or until golden brown. Transfer the baking sheets to a rack and let cool completely.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, vanilla bean and seeds just to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the sugar with the cake flour and salt. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly. Continue to boil the pastry cream, whisking constantly, until thick, about 30 seconds longer. Immediately strain the pastry cream through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Whisk the pastry cream, then fold in the whipped cream into the chilled pastry cream until combined.
  5. Chop the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl.  In a medium pot, heat cream for the chocolate glaze until scalded – do not let it come to a boil.  Pour over  the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute.  Stir to combine, until it’s thick and silky.
  6. With a serrated knife, split the éclair shells lengthwise. Spoon a generous amount of the pastry cream into the bottom half of each shell. Dip the top half of each shell into the chocolate glaze, close the éclairs and serve.  If making cream puffs, poke a hole into the side of the cream puff, and pipe in pastry cream.  Dip the cream puff in chocolate.

Fosters Granola

January 5, 2015

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This week, my friends, I wanted to make eclairs.  Delicate pastries filled with a luscious vanilla cream and doused in rich chocolate sauce.  Mm, I wanted to make nothing more.

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And then I saw them: the commercials prompting me to lose the holiday weight I had gained.  The ones that told me that I actually may benefit from buying a treadmill that I would totally be able to make room for it in my apartment.  And the ones that told me that I should most definitely feel guilty about the delicious sweets I happily consumed throughout the duration of the last two weeks in December.

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Alas, here I am, practicing the art of restraint.  As it turns out, though, this is a perfect recipe for the new year!  There are a couple Fosters Market around my college town.  Without fail, whenever there we did anything important (“important” in that 19 year-old college sense), me and my roommate would get Fosters granola to pump ourselves up.  We would get it for a usual breakfast too, but we would get the full size before an interview, or a race or a school show.  So, in a way, this granola represents new adventures and beginnings!  Making connections!

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So, enjoy this.  This nostalgic breakfast treat is so crunchy and satisfying and perfect with some vanilla yogurt and berries.  The only thing that may be able to top this is…maybe…eclairs.

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Foster’s Granola (recipe from here)

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¼ cup canola
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup honey

Preheat the oven to 275°F.

Spread the oats, coconut, and almonds on a large baking sheet with sides. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are lightly toasted but not yet golden. Transfer the ingredients to a large bowl.

Increase the oven temperature to 350°F.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

Stir the maple syrup, oil, and honey together in a small bowl, pour over the oats, nuts, and coconut, and toss to coat evenly.  Spread the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the granola is just crispy and golden brown, stirring several times, about every 10 minutes, while baking.  Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheet, breaking up any large clumps while it is still warm.