I hate to fail with something - especially when it comes to the cooking realm.
I remember my vain attempt at making a piece montee
for my sister's birthday. I had to face the truth - i utterly failed. I tried again and again (making pate a choux at least twice in one afternoon), but the result was always the same: the choux rose in the oven then fell flat. It was what i can now call a disaster
Something like a month ago i decided i should try again. So i did. And though it wasn't as successful as i expected, the choux weren't flat at all and tasted great.
But this time, the problem was the icing; can you imagine i used cold water to bind the icing sugar? This resulted in an awful grainy icing.Eclairs a la vanille
makes 12 eclairsI like the way Pierre Herme cooks his eclairs - with the open oven door so that they don't get soggy or flat at all.
As for the creme patissiere, i must say i am addicted to Christophe Felder's. It's so light and creamy.For the pate a choux
2 pinches of caster sugar
4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 200C and line two baking sheets with parchement paper or better still silicon baking mat.
Put the water, milk, salt, sugar and butter in a large sauce pan and heat until the butter is melted and the water has just begun to boil. Take the pan off the heat and add all the flour in one go.
Beat with a wooden spoon and put the pan back to the heat for 2-3 minutes; you should get a smooth ball. Turn off the heat.
Now beat in the eggs, one at a time. The dough should be stiff enough to hold its shape.
Pipe 10cm long tubes leaving a space of 5cm between each tube.
Turn down the oven to 180C. And bake for 15 minutes. Then, to let the steam out, maintain your oven's door open with a wooden spoon and bake for a further 8 minutes.
Remove to a cooling rack.For the creme patissiere
2 vanilla pods
100g caster sugar
40g flour (preferably tipo 00)
4 egg yolks
In a large pan, put the milk, butter, vanilla seeds, split vanilla pods and half of the sugar. Bring to the boil.
In a large bowl, sieve the flours and beat in the egg yolks. Add the sugar and whisk until light-yellow.
Remove the vanilla pods from the pan and pour a laddle of milk over the eggy mixture. Whisk well and put back into the pan.
On a medium heat, bring this mixture to the boil while stirring constantly.
When thick, remove from the heat and put the creme patissiere into a bowl. Allow to cool and keep in the frigde until ready.
Now you can fill the eclairs with the creme patissiere and top them with a simple icing made of icing sugar and water.