|The little Eiffel Tower box is a keepsake from a friend in Japan that I met when I taught my 3-D flowers at a trade show. She said to me, "it's a Japanese souvenir!" We both laughed and hugged.|
These luscious little pastries are light as a feather with a vanilla pastry cream center and chocolate glaze and you will find these at any bakery on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, but don't be intimidated--this version is easy and will surprise your family and friends.
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Quick Pastry Cream:
1 3.4 oz. Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 425F-degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Measure the water, butter, and salt into a 1-quart sauce pan and over medium heat, bring to a boil. Immediately add the flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. Cook one minute more.
Bake for 15 minutes, then, lower the oven temperature to 375-F degrees and continue baking another 20-25 minutes. Resist opening the oven door while baking!
Remove from the oven and let cool completely while you mix up the pastry cream.
In a medium bowl, place the Jello pudding and 1 1/2 cups of milk, scrape a vanilla bean and add this paste to the mixture. Whisk together until it thickens slightly. In a separate bowl, place the one cup of heavy cream and using a hand held mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the cream until firm.
Add half of the whipped cream to the pudding mixture and stir to combine. Add the remaining cream and fold in. Attach tip #230 to the end of a pastry bag and fill with the pastry cream. Pipe the mixture into the side of the pate choux.
Heat the heavy cream, over medium heat, in a small sauce pan. Place the 4 oz. of bittersweet chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Let set a few minutes, then stir to combine. Pour the glaze into a shallow bowl. Dip the tops of the eclairs into the glaze and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the glaze.
When I was in Kentucky, Ari would tell me about the little train that never gave up--"Mimi, it said, I think I can...I think I can..." Tell yourself that and try this dessert. Enjoy!