I have another new book! My collection of patisserie books is rapidly expanding and the list of things I want to bake is increasing faster than I can make them.
This new book is Patisserie Maison by Richard Bertinet, a well known French chef that is highly regarded for the bread and patisserie that he produces. Richard Bertinet runs his own cookery school in Bath, called the Bertinet Kitchen and I have been told by Annemarie Barrett from Miele, that the Patisserie Course he runs is definitely worth attending. Something else for me to save up for!
The layout and design of Patisserie Maison is visually appealing and the collection of recipes is exceptionally well thought out. There are basic recipes that would wow guests, and can be made quickly or prepared in advance, along with more technical recipes that are made up of a number of components. The base recipes for things like genoise, creams etc all feature a number of suggestions for different flavour combinations, inviting you to create your own recipes.
Why did I choose eclairs? Well, it’s been a while since I attempted choux, I’m always happy to try another chef’s recipe for my nemesis and I was also inspired by the eclairs produced at Fauchon.
Fauchon is a French Patisserie known for their eclairs, every year they have an eclair week at their flagship store in Paris where they produce one off eclairs made to their exacting standards.
I decided to use Fauchon’s styling as the inspiration to decorate my eclairs, as you can see, they’re not as elegant as those made by Fauchon, but I did try my best.
This eclair recipe is the first thing I have attempted from Patisserie Maison, but I also have my eye on the blackcurrant mousse on the front cover. After struggling to get hold of any blackcurrants, I have managed to acquire some and I will be featuring the recipe soon on my blog.
The word eclair means ‘Flash of lightening’ in French which apparently is a reference to how quickly they are eaten, because they are gone in a flash. This choux recipe is one of the best I’ve used, it provided the perfect consistency and gave me plenty of pastry, the texture was very thick and it made the pastry much easier to pipe. Patisserie Maison has lots of pictures to accompany each stage of making the choux pastry and the other pastries featured in the book, so you can be sure that you have the correct texture, the pictures are very reassuring especially if you are new to any of these techniques.
The recipe in Patisserie Maison suggested filling the eclairs with chantilly cream, I added a little French brandy to the cream (this was a deviation from Bertinet’s recipe) to make it even more luxurious. The eclair is then topped with fondant icing that has been heated and had food colouring added.
I decided to decorate these eclairs further and a day before making the eclairs I used these daisy cutters to stamp out 24 medium and 24 small daisies from the leftover white royal icing. I used a mix of yellow powdered food colouring and alcohol (gin) to paint a dot inside the larger daisy. I left these to air dry overnight so that they would harden. I also glazed some raspberries and blueberries with apricot jam, so that they would shine on top of the eclair.
If you feel like making these eclairs yourself, here’s the recipe:
- CHOUX PASTRY
- 225 ml Water
- 125 g Flour
- 4 Eggs
- 60 g Unsalted Butter
- CHANTILLY CREAM
- 300 ml Whipping Cream
- 4 Tbsp Icing Sugar
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tsp Rum
- FONDANT TOPPING
- 300 g Royal/Fondant Icing
- 2 Tbsp Water
- Red Food Colouring
- TO DECORATE
- 100 g Apricot Jam/Puree
- 2 Tbsp Water
- Raspberries and Blueberries to decorate
- Begin by making the choux pastry, combine the water and butter in a pan and bring to a boil.
- Sift the flour into a bowl and tip this into the boiling water and butter.
- Take the pan off the heat and beat the flour, until it resembles scrambled eggs.
- Place the pan back on the heat and beat the paste for 2-3 minutes until the dough dries out.
- Tip the mixture into a food mixer and using the paddle attachment, add the eggs one at a time, until they are fully incorporated.
- The dough should be thick and sticky, this means it is ready for piping.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. To aid with the piping of the eclairs, you can draw 12 lines 8cm long on the greaseproof paper on each tray, make sure they are spaced well apart, turn the paper over and pipe on the reverse.
- Using a piping bag with a 1cm tip, fill it with the pastry and pipe 12 lines on each sheet of paper.
- Put the eclairs in the oven for 20 mins, then for a further 4 mins cook the eclairs with the door open a little to let out the moisture.
- The eclairs are done when they are a golden colour and feel hard to the touch.
- To make the chantilly cream, sift the icing sugar into the cream, add the vanilla extract and whip the cream until stiff enough to pipe it, then add the rum and give it a final whip. Place the cream in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
- Next combine the apricot jam and water in a pan and heat until the jam thins. Using a pastry brush, glaze 24 raspberries and 24 blueberries and lay them on a piece of greaseproof paper.
- Cut all of the eclairs in half lengthways and using a star shaped piping nozzle, pipe cream on to the bottom half of the eclairs.
- Add the fondant icing and water to a pan and heat gently, beat the mixture so that the icing and the water become mixed together. Then add some food colouring and stir so that the fondant becomes a nice shade of pink.
- Dip the tops of the eclair in the fondant icing and then place them on top of the cream. Sit a raspberry and a blueberry on top of each eclair.
- If the fondant in the pan starts to set, return it to the heat to loosen it again.
- The eclairs can be stored in the fridge, but they should be eaten as soon as possible because the cream will soften them.
I will be featuring more recipes from Patisserie Maison on the blog over the coming weeks, but if you’re looking to try patisserie using recipes that aren’t too daunting, I suggest you give this book a try and what better way to do that, than by entering my giveaway to win a copy of Patisserie Maison. This competition is open to entrants from outside of the UK.
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Thanks for reading.