Blackberry Eclairs

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.

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This color is all natural folks!  And yeah, that’s a freeze dried berry

Rant over.

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!

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Blackberry Eclairs

Pastry Cream

1 1/3 cups sugar (divided in half)

4 cups milk

3 eggs

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

Eclair Dough

2 cups water

1/2 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups bread flour

6-8 eggs

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 IMG_1435.JPG

Ganache

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.

3. Stir

Assembling:

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.

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GF Coconut Chocolate Crepes

My second semester of college I decided to give up on school and work 80 hours a week instead.  I know, I know, it was a stupid thing to do.  I didn’t even need the money!  I was just bored of school haha.  I had three jobs and one of them was a crepe diner.  All they made were crepes.  I’ve worked in a lot of places, but this one is still my favorite.  We had huge circle burners (probably a foot in diameter) that we would cook crepes on, and then we would fill them with toppings like cheesecake and Nutella.  Oh baby, those were some delicious days.

Flash forward to these heavenly morsels.IMG_1338 (2)

This recipe came to me when I bought my very first coconut.

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Did you know if you shake a coconut next to your ear you can hear the water sloshing around?

I named him Manny, and we got along swell until I had to drill into his skull and put him in a 400°F oven.

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I miss you Manny

These crepes are so good!  The coconut panna cotta filling is so refreshing, the chocolate gives it a touch of richness, and the crepes themselves are so tender and flavorful!

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Gluten Free Coconut Chocolate Crepes

Gluten Free Coconut Chocolate Crepes↓↓↓

For the panna cotta filling:

1 can coconut milk

1 package gelatin

½ cup sugar

½ to 1 cup chopped dark chocolate

  1. Evenly distribute the gelatin over ¼ cup of very cold water and let sit until gelatinized (about 5 minutes)
  2. While your gelatin sits, heat the coconut milk and sugar over medium-high heat until it starts to simmer. Make sure you stir constantly.
  3. As soon as your mixture starts to simmer take it off the heat and whisk in the gelatin until it is completely dissolved
  4. Refrigerate at least 4 hours

For the crepes:

¾ cup coconut flour

¾ cup tapioca flour

½ cup sugar

½ tsp salt

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

¾ cup water

1 cup milk

¼ cup oil or melted butter

  1. Sift the first 4 ingredients into a medium bowl, set aside.
  2. Whisk all the eggs together in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk in water and milk
  4. Slowly whisk your dry ingredients
  5. Stir in the oil
  6. Let the mixture chill for at least 30 minutes
  7. Heat a medium pan with a small amount of oil on medium high heat
  8. Pour in just enough crepe batter to coat the bottom of the pan (2-3 TBSP)
  9. Cook for 15-30 seconds on one side. Flip carefully with a spatula and cook the other side for 5-10 seconds
  10. Once all your crepes are cooked you can either keep them in the fridge for a few days or go ahead and assemble.
  11. To assemble, take your coconut panna cotta out of the fridge and give it a stir.
  12. Spoon coconut into the middle and top with some chocolate. Fold crepe however your heart desires.  I find that rolling is easiest.  Only assemble ready to eat crepes.

recipes adapted from the “Professional Baking” textbook


Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

Once upon a time there was a young girl whose mom had a KILLER brownie recipe (seriously, so friggin’ good).  After a while, the girl decided to change things up.  She started adding cheesecake, which was delicious, but still kinda boring.  One day the girl stood in her pantry for 20 minutes trying to brain storm yummy combinations to these brownies and all of a sudden it came to her… add pie filling!  Thus, cherry cheesecake brownies.

If you don’t die of a sugar high, try them a la mode!

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Cherry Cheesecake Brownies↓↓↓↓

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

For the brownies

1 cup butter or margarine, room temp

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3 eggs

1 ½ cup flour

2 tsp. vanilla

For the cheesecake (adapted from Good Housekeeping)

16 oz. cream cheese, room temp

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

½ tsp. vanilla

21 oz. can cherry pie filling

 

Brownies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add cocoa powder and mix on medium until just incorporated.
  3. Add eggs one at a time on medium
  4. Still on medium speed, slowly pour in flour and mix until fully absorbed
  5. Carefully stir in vanilla
  6. Set aside

Cheesecake

  1. Put cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl and mix on medium speed until smooth
  2. Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated
  3. Stir in vanilla
  4. Carefully fold in pie filling. I like streaks of pie filling and cheesecake, but you can fully stir in if you want.

Cheesecake Brownies

  1. In a 9×13 greased and floured pan, spoon in brownie mixture to fill the whole pan.
  2. Carefully pour cheesecake on top
  3. With a butter knife, make swirls in the brownies to create a marbled effect. Be careful not to stir cheesecake into the brownie because you won’t get the cheesecake on top.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  5. Cool for 1 hour and store in the refrigerator