Soap box time. Extracts are nice, they really are. They are cheap, convenient, and produce tasty flavors. On the flip side, they are rarely going to give you the delicious, natural flavor you want. Take blackberries for example. For this recipe I could’ve used blackberry extract and purple food dye in the pastry cream and everything would’ve turned out ay-okay. (And you have my blessing if you want to do just that). BUT GUYS! If you are wanting to get an incredible, authentic flavor here, you have got to try freeze dried fruit! For any of you who are unfamiliar with freeze drying, it’s basically this incredible process that takes out all the water from foods without using tons of heat and destroying flavors. They even retain their original size and shape. It’s pretty much the most amazing invention since sliced bread, and I’m super obsessed with it. You can find freeze dried foods in the food storage area of your local grocery store in bulk, or smaller packages in specialty food stores. I got a gallon-sized can of blackberries for $28, so they are a bit pricey (but so worth it.
As promised I have for you an eclair recipe. I stuck to some simple flavors for this one, because I really wanted you guys to enjoy the blackberry pastry cream. I topped them with ganache, then I decorated with fondant, icing, and powdered sugar. Decorating is optional; it honestly just adds a lot of sugar. Hope you enjoy these yummy pastries!
1 1/3 cups sugar (divided in half)
4 cups milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup corn starch
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
30 freeze dried blackberries
1. In a medium sauce pan combine milk and half of the sugar, heat to a boil.
2. While that is heating, whisk eggs in a large bowl. Once eggs are thoroughly whisked, stir in remaining sugar and corn starch until no lumps remain.
3. Once milk is boiling, take off heat and SLOWLY pour into egg mixture (about half a cup at a time), whisking constantly.
4. Pour eggs and milk back into the sauce pan and heat on medium to medium-high until it comes back to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes.
5. Take off the heat and allow to cool until you can touch it without getting burned. Stir in butter and vanilla.
6. Refrigerate for a couple hours, until set.
7. Put blackberries in a sealed plastic bag and crush until very fine with a rolling pin. Sift into prepared pastry cream to get the seeds out. Stir to combine
2 cups water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups bread flour
1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.
2. In a medium sauce pan boil water, butter and salt.
3. Take off heat and stir flour all at once.
4. Return to heat and cook for a few minutes.
5. Transfer dough to mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix on speed 2 until mixture has cooled and you can touch it.
6. Add eggs one at a time, waiting until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
7. Stop adding eggs once the mixture is shiny and slides off the paddle when you stop your mixer. You may have to occasionally scrape the sides.
8. Spoon dough into pastry bag fitted with any large tip of your choice.
9. Pipe at a 45 degree angle with your tip above (not touching) the parchment paper.
10. You should be able to make 15-20 eclairs at 4 inches.
11. Place cookie sheets in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. At the 10 minute mark turn your heat down to 350 F and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown
12. Remove and cool completely
5 oz dark chocolate chips
5 oz heavy cream
1. Microwave cream for 1 minute in microwave safe bowl.
2. Add chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
1. Dip the top of each eclair in ganache and allow to set for an hour.
2. Put pastry cream in a pastry bag and snip the tip
3. Poke three holes in the bottom of each eclair with a paring knife
4. Holding the eclair upside down, insert the tip of the pastry bag into the first hole and squeeze in cream until filled. Fill the other two holes
5. Repeat with all the other eclairs
6. Enjoy! Make sure you store eclairs in the fridge.