It's the rainy season in Jakarta. With it so dark and stormy outside, I'd resolved to work from home this day. The dreaded Friday traffic jams, coupled with rain and flooding is a recipe for a sure case of car-cabin fever. But enough talk about those gloomy things, let's talk about pastry.
Well, the eclair is still one of my favorites. The "cream-puff" oftentimes is one's first exposure to the wonderful world of pastry. To me it brings back childhood joys of savoring the crispy, buttery shell and sweet creamy center of "kue sus" (Indonesian-style cream-puff) my grandma used to make. During my stay in Paris, a trip to the neighborhood boulangerie for the daily baguette would more often than not include a sneaky purchase of dark chocolate eclairs I'd bite into, as soon as I step out of the shop.
They're so simple, nostalgic, classic and beautiful. But so hard to get just right! The shell has to be crispy with just the right amount of salt to offset the sweet pastry cream. The cream has to be thick and gooey with a balanced milky richness. Eclairs are usually finished with a generous layer of fondant, but the recipe I'm going to share with you today omits this and puts in its place a "craquelin" crunchy crust. The "craquelin" popularized by Philippe Conticcini of Patisserie des Reves adds a gorgeous crunchy texture and "umami" element to these pastries. Made with flavorful sugar such as palm or muscovado sugar will make these eclairs dangerously addictive. Proceed to the recipe with caution, dear friends. You have been warned!
Milk Chocolate and Jasmine Tea Eclairs
55 g butter - room temperature
60 g white sugar
20 g palm sugar
80 g all-purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar with paddle attachment until soft but not too creamy
Add in flour and cinnamon powder and mix only until incorporated.
Roll out between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 2 mm.
Using a large knife, cut out rectangles and place onto the eclairs before baking
90 ml full-cream milk
90 ml water
3 g sugar
70 g butter
3 g salt
90 g bread flour
3 large eggs
Combine water, milk, salt and sugar in a saucepan
Add cubed butter and bring to vigorous boil
Off heat, quickly add the flour in one go and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate
Return saucepan to low heat and keep stirring to draw out moisture until the dough unsticks easily from the spatula and the sides of the pan
Place dough into a clean bowl, mix in the eggs 1 at a time with a wooden spoon (this step can also be done on a stand mixer with a paddle attachment).
Using a 12mm piping tip, pipe logs onto a baking sheet
Place a rectangle of frozen "craquelin" on top.
Bake at 175 degrees C for 15-20 minutes until golden, and cool completely on a rack.
Milk Chocolate and Jasmine Tea Pastry Cream
350 ml full cream milk
150 ml whipping cream
4 egg yolks
40 g sugar
45 g cornstarch
1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence
2 tsp jasmine tea leaves
1/2 tsp jasmine extract
- - -
150 g milk chocolate - cut into chunks
On medium heat, warm up milk and cream in a saucepan to a simmer
Add in the jasmine tea leaves, take off heat and infuse for 10 minutes
Strain out the tea, place back on the element and bring to a simmer once more
Using a whisk, whisk egg yolks and the sugar, then add custard powder and vanilla
Temper the egg mixture with half of the simmering milk to loosen, and pour the batter back into the saucepan
Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil and keep whisking for 2 minutes until dense
Move into a clean bowl, whisk in milk chocolate chunks until melted and incorporated
Cover with plastic wrap (in contact) so skin will not form, cool in fridge
Place into a piping bag with a small star tip
Baked and cooled eclairs
Chocolate and jasmine pastry cream
Fresh organic jasmine flowers and chocolate for decoration
Pierce three holes underneath the choux pastries
Fill choux pastries generously with a small pastry tip
Decorate with chocolates and jasmine flowers