Thursday, June 05, 2008

HHDD #20: Double Chocolate Choux

After all that white chocolate used in my L’Opera, I was craving for something dark and bittersweet. Dark and bittersweet are, after all, how I like my chocolate. I love the sophisticated yet sinful taste it has, the exquisitely long time it takes to melt, and the little tug it leaves at the back of your mouth when it’s all but gone.

And now it’s supposed to be a Super Food! It is loaded with antioxidants that can improve health. Flavonoids, the antioxidant found in dark chocolate (and tea!), can help lower blood pressure and keep your arteries from clogging. The more cocoa solids the better, so check your label and look for the stuff that’s 70% and up! I always knew dark chocolate was super...flavonoids or no :)

So as not to wait too long to get a dark chocolate fix, I decided I would incorporate it into my very next baking project lined up (Donna Day!). Ok, that was a sneaky would have been quicker just to buy a bar of it! But humor me and my whims, and let me bake when I want to (even if there is hardly anyone around to eat what comes out of my oven!**).

I had already been eyeing the double chocolate éclairs in Donna Hay’s Simple Essentials Chocolate when Suzana from Home Gourmets (delicious food, gorgeous photos...oh my!), winner of the last round of Hay Hay It’s Donna Day, announced this round’s theme to be choux. Hooray! I love it when a plan comes together...especially if it results in chocolate confections for me to eat :)

Double Chocolate Éclairs
(from Donna Hay’s
Simple Essentials Chocolate, page 50)
  • 1 cup water
  • 100 grams butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 quantity chocolate crème pâtissière
  • Melted dark chocolate, for topping

- Place the butter and water in a saucepan and cook until butter is melted and mixture starts to simmer.
- Add flour to the saucepan and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Keep stirring over low heat until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
- Remove from heat and place the mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add eggs one by one, beating well in between each egg (make sure the one is incorporated before adding the next!).
- Spoon mixture into a piping bag with a 1/2 plain nozzle. Pipe onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet: in 3-inch lengths for the éclairs and 1-inch in diameter mounds for the puffs.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 180C (350F) oven until golden and puffed up (mine stayed in for longer than 25 minutes).
- Cool on wire racks.
- Halve éclairs and puffs and fill bases with chocolate crème pâtissière. Dip the top halves in the melted chocolate and let set (I took the photo above before the chocolate set). Sandwich tops to bottoms.

Chocolate Crème Pâtissière
(from Donna Hay’s
Simple Essentials Chocolate, page 88)

  • 2 cups/500 ml milk
  • 200 grams chopped dark chocolate (I used Valrhona 70%)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornflour/cornstartch

- Place milk, chocolate, and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a boil (be watchful that it doesn’t burn!).
- Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Add the cornflour and whisk to combine.
- Slowly pour in the hot milk, whisking continuously.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and simmer rapidly while whisking continuously for 5 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat.
- Place a piece of parchment paper directly on top of the pastry cream and set aside to cool.

I have made choux only one other time in my life so I was not that confident. It ’s really not that difficult though...considering the puffy and proud results! Definitely a case of maximum bang for minimal buck. I did encounter a spot (or two) of trouble. The two things Suzana specifically warned us about! Sigh...why do I not listen when I’m supposed to?

The first thing she mentioned was that she had to add more flour because the mixture was looking too soft even before adding the eggs. I should have taken note! And I live in a place that is chock-full of you can just imagine! Next time I am definitely adding a bit more flour. The second tip was to make sure not to under bake the choux. Although I gave it a few more minutes in the oven, my first batch came out undercooked and deflated slightly after a while. (insert good cry here) I baked my second batch longer (longer than the recommended 20-25 minutes) and they came out nice and puffed and stayed that way...yay! I may even bake it slightly longer next time. I decided to make a combination of éclairs and puffs because, although I like the filling to pastry ratio of éclairs more, puffs are more fun to watch rise in the oven!

The chocolate crème pâtissière was lovely! Rich, creamy, not too sweet...and I have some extra! Suggestions on what to do with it (aside from eat with a spoon because I’ve already done that) are welcome :)

For the glaze I just melted a bar of dark chocolate and it worked fine. The combination of dark chocolate on dark chocolate was least for me. I’m the type of girl that likes chocolate ice cream on her brownie a la mode you see. I will definitely make this again...I need to perfect my choux! And get my share of super foods ;)

HHDD Update: Barbara of, the brilliant creator of Hay Hay It's Donna Day has decided, after building HHDD into the fabulous blog event that it has become, that it is time to let her spread her wings and leave home :) HHDD is now continuing to blossom under the caring eye of Bron, her new gaurdian :)

On another note: I am loving Simple Essentials Chocolate! I may be horribly biased, being such a Donna Hay fan, I know. Normally, I am no proof against Donna’s beautiful styling and temptingly simple recipes. But all in Chocolate? I am lost (sigh of bliss)...totally and irrevocably. Now, don’t think I only want to stick to what looks simple! I also have this book (another sigh of bliss)...and I mean to use it (soon)!

**I am happy to report that all the éclairs found good homes with friends!


Franco said...

Joey. Your Eclairs look amazing! My mouth is watering right now as I write this.

Manggy said...

Joey!! Why didn't you tell me in advance?! I could've benefited from such tasty morsels, hahaha :) Actually choux pastry is dangerous... It feels so light, you pop one after the other in your mouth till you realize your pants don't fit anymore :P You can use the creme patissiere any way you would use nutella... And no, I don't mean eating it by the spoonful! I mean filling crepes with it, or make chocolate napoleons with puff pastry (leftovers?), make donuts and fill them. Or make a half-batch of choux and do it all over :)

If you find the choux is runny you can cut back on the eggs. The stage you are looking for is that it should take about 5-10 seconds to fall from the beaters, where it will form a "V". If after the 3rd/4th egg it's still too stiff, add in a yolk first and see if it works. If it's still too stiff, add in the egg white. (baka makatipid pa sa isang itlog :)

Jen Tan said...

I agree with everything you said about dark chocolates...I love them too! the darker the better!!! hahaha Maybe we like dark chocolates because we love bitter taste! hahaha rich and bitter with a tinge of sweeteness...aaaahhh

your choux looks delish! how I wish I can taste them!!!! hahaha

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, I love Choux Pastry and Eclairs! Really delicious! I'm drooling...

I love all kinds of chocolates, as long as it's good quality chocolate...



Barbara said...

Gorgeous Joey. They look perfect. The mixture is hard to get right. I add my eggs very cautiously.

katrina said...

I can attest to the utter scrumptiousness of these eclairs! THANK YOU again, Joey! It was such a delightful surprise. I don't think I'd ever had eclairs/cream puffs/profiteroles with dark chocolate creme patissiere before (the ones I've tried have all been too milky), so I can say that yours was the best choux pastry I've tasted. Ever! :-) (And no, I'm not just trying to butter you up so I can get more of your creations. Well...maybe a little. ;-))

I like Manggy's suggestion of chocolate Napoloeons or filled doughnuts. Actually, I'd like pretty much any suggestion that had that chocolate creme in it. :-D

Bron said...

aaawwww YUM!! Those look soooo good Joey! Well done!

Dhanggit said...

wow as always your HHDD entries are mouth-watering. choux are always best in chocolates :-) my entry though i used some home-made ice-cream

Patricia Scarpin said...

Well, my dear Joey, being a Donna recipe made by you... All I can say is "yay!!!" :)

mtan said...

I am grateful to the dessert gods that you are a friend. Those chouxs (sic) were such a delight, and I didn't want to eat them up too quickly, I would like to die in a vat of that chocolate cream. Thank you again!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Franco! Thank you! The first batch of choux was a bit tragic though...

Hi Manggy! Thank you for the (as always) comprehensive and most helpful diagnosis and recommendations Dr. Pastryandcakes!!! You certainly leave no room for errors! The suggestions are perfect and I do have some puff pastry in the freezer :) The tip on adding fewer eggs make perfect sense! Thanks...I will definitely do this next time!

Hi Jen! Yes, chocolate and coffee definitely top my list too :)

Hi Rosa! I know what you mean...even if I have to save up a bit, I will willingly splurge on good chocolate :)

Thanks Barbara! :) Noted on the eggs! Thanks for the tip :)

Hi Katrina! Thanks so much!!! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! :) I really liked like the chocolate cream too. Consider me buttered up good and proper! :)

Hi Bron! Thank you! :) Can’t go wrong with good chocolate!

Hi Dhanggit! Aw, thanks! Everything you make is always gorgeous...which is why I’m heading over there right now for some of that ice-cream filled choux!

Hi Patricia! Haha :) You know I’m a “yay!” for Donna! ;)

Hi M! Ah, another of my choux’s (sic) adoptive mothers! You are very welcome and I’m so happy you enjoyed them :) Thanks for putting them to good use :)

mamma3 said...

Dark chocolate is my favourite therapy!! Your choux looks gorgeus! Elga

Suzana said...

Joey, great entry! These are really good looking profiteroles - I want one of these right now! Thanks submitting these to HHDD. ;)

PheMom said...

These look crazy good! LOL - I keep reminding my husband that dark chocolate is good for you now to make up for how much I eat! If we stick to our story, they can't complain right!?

coffeepot said...

Joey you are making it hard for me to stay away from sweets as I have pledged for a small while.

carine said...

wow - you make this sound so easy! i've always abeen a bit (a lot) scared of choux but i think i might just give this a go. beautiful photo too! x

Kelly-Jane said...

They look so delicious and I think I do need some chocolate right now!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Elga! And what a divine therapy it is!

Hi Suzana! Thanks for being a fantastic host! And for picking this wonderful theme :)

Hi Phemom! Thanks! You bet...synchronize stories! Haha :)

Hi Coffeepot! A little bite maybe? ;)

Hi Carine! Try it! It’s not as hard as it looks at all :)

Hi Kelly-jane! I’m always wanting chocolate...heehee :)

LyB said...

They look so cute and perfect! And double chocolate? I'm so there! :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

My dad always made these when I was growing up. Wonder if I could get him to make them again. . . .

Maryann said...

Joe..these are just plain evil :)

Joy the Baker said...

Beautiful puffs! Just lovely! And I love that dark chocolate is a superfood! Inever needed an excuse to eat it, but it's always nice to have one!

Hillary said...

Those look like little tasty cream puffs! Yum!

kosenrufu mama said...

they are just fantastic!!!!!!!!

Tartelette said...

Oh! My favorite pastry to make and eat :)
You did a fantastic job as always!

BrotherChiffonade said...

Man I love eclairs but can't usually afford to buy them at the Whole Foods.

I will try to get my sister "chiffOnade" to make some.

She used to be a professional pastry chef (before she got fired) so she should be able to do it.


Peabody said...

Gorgeous puffs and eclairs.

Cindy. Lo. said...

Seemed like a lot of work,
But the end results look awesome!

Bordeaux said...

Wish I was your neighbor. I would have offered a very good home for these eclairs too.

Gattina said...

oh my gosh!!! They are adorable!!!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

You always make everything look so exquisite. I love eclairs and profiteroles.

Stella (Sweet Temptations) said...

These choux make me smile.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Lyb! Thanks! Right there with you :)

Hi Tanna! Lucky you!

Hi Maryann! Heehee :) I am doing my evil laugh right now ;)

Hi Joy! I love that it’s a superfood too...I knew that tingle when I ate it wasn’t just my imagination ;)

Thanks Hillary! :)

Hi Ester! Thank you!

Hi Helene! Thank you :) I really enjoyed making these :)

Hi Brother Choffonade! You are lucky to have a professional pastry chef sister! Hope you guys enjoy a batch :)

Thanks Peabody!

Hi Cindy Lo! The work is less than what it looks like! :)

Hi Bordeaux! I wish you were too! Then I could have some of your Thai inspired ones in exchange :)

My éclairs and puffs thank you Gattina :)

Aw Amanda! Thanks for such a sweet comment :) Love these guys too!

I’m glad they did Stella! :)

Fran Z said...

I'd love to dive in these!

Marketman said...

These look superb. And just the right size for popping into your mouth whole... :)

zlamushka said...

Glad to see you posting again, Joey. Missed your beautiful cooking. Ever considered submitting 80 breakfasts to my Tried And Tasted event as Blog of The Month? I am sure we all would greatly enjoy cooking from you :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Fran Z! I know what you mean :)

Hi Marketman! Thank you! It's actually a bit bigger than that...I know because I tried :)

Hi Zlamushka! Aw, thank you! :) Oooh, I don't know if I have enough recipes for that but I'm so flattered to be asked! I'll check it out :)

Helen said...

WOW! Those look so perfect. I can just imagine biting into one right now, creamy and chocolatey - YUM!

talida said...

Double the choux and chocolate? Those are some lucky friends you have :)

Pam said...

Joey, these look just beautiful. Now that I'm over my choux fear, double chocolate choux is going to be the next "treat" for my family.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

If chocolate is a super food guess we have to have it! What what a great way of doing it, dobling it!

Y said...

How fab. Love the glossy chocolate tops.

aria said...

oh what are these darling little treats you've made? mmm, i'd like to pop these like bon bons right now. wow, yum!!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Helen! I think I am a chocolate filling convert now :)

Hi Talida! They are great friends and deserve lots of chocolate :)

Hi Pam! Thank you! These are really delicious...the filling alone is already so good :)

Hello Clumbsy Cookie! Yes, for sure...must have our super foods! ;)

Thanks Y! The glaze wasn't set yet when I took the photo :)

Hi Aria! Wish I could send you a couple! :)