Monday, September 8, 2008


Hey! I can't believe it...I'm posting and it's not just for the Daring Bakers Challenge...hoooray! Anyway, I HAD to share this recipe! The picture above isn't the best but it did taste good and I should have left it in the oven a bit longer to allow the top to brown a bit more but it was 8:30 on a work night and I think my husband was going to absolutely die!!! :) Next time will be better - hey maybe I'll swap the picture then :) Anyway, I was at Borders convincing myself I do NOT need another cookbook until I start making things in the ones I already bought. (I just love looking through them though!!!) Anyway, this one was on the clearance section for $ how can you pass that up...I looked in it and saw a baklava recipe (me and my mom love Baklava) anyway...had to get it! It's called 500 Best-Ever Recipes Mediterranean and this recipe just caught my eye...I defiantly recommend you make it, me and my daughter was eating just the meat in the pan that wouldn't fit in the cannelloni's. Well here is how I made it with some changes to the original recipe:

Bring a pot of water to a boil and make cannelloni (or I used mancotti) and make to box directions.

Heat 4 TBS of olive oil in pan, add 1 onion finely chopped, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 2 ripe Italian plum tomatoes peeled and finely chopped. Cook over low heat, stirring for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add 4 1/2 oz of ground beef, 4 1/2 oz of ground pork and 9 oz of ground chicken. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to break up. Then add 2 Tbsp of butter and 6 Tbsp heavy cream and cook gently stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

To make white sauce, melt 1/4 cup of butter in medium saucepan, add 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add 3 3/4 cups of milk slowly while whisking vigorously. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper and whisk well. Remove from heat.

Spoon a little of the white sauce into a baking dish. Fill the tubes with the meat mixture and place in a single layer in the dish, Pour the remaining white sauce over them, then sprinkle with Parmesan. (recipe calls for 1 cup...I used a bit more because I love it). Bake for 35-40 minutes until heated through. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Monday, September 1, 2008

August 2008 - Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate E'clairs by Pierre Herme'

Hello! I know I'm really on a roll with my blog eh? Well stayed tuned I'm going to get going on it...I promised myself :) AND I'm a day late posting but I guess better late than never? I started making the eclairs yesterday and I don't know what was going through my mind but I wasn't thinking that was the "day" I'm like duh tomorrow is Labor Day the 1st...I guess I knew I had another day off work and in my mind today is Sunday :) Anyway, it was fun making the eclairs and I would do it again....except I'm used to the custard filling and I would go with that. Well today is my grandpa's birthday and were going over there for a birthday/Labor Day party so I'm bringing my elcairs with me. The only thing I'm worried about is where it says serve them immediately...I hope their not too soggy since a few hours will be going by before serving them. Anyway here is how it goes:


Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

Sheltie Girl of and Helen of have been kind enough to help us out with queries and problems that might arise during this challenge - from both Tony and myself, we'd like to thank both of you.

So folks, the official éclair month has just begun on the Daring Bakers forum. Please keep in mind whatever you do or make of this recipe - it's supposed to be fun .... and a secret till posting day!

All the best and have fun!


Tony & Meeta

Eclair Porn on Flickr:

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