After having to skip a month, I am back with the story of the Daring Bakers' challenge. This time I have no tragic tales of disaster to tell. I read the recipe, I followed it, and things worked out fine, in the sense that the end result of my efforts was appreciated at the table, the usual ultimate test of success.
First of all, many thanks to this month's hosts, Meeta of What's for Lunch Honey? and Tony Tahhan. Their choice for the challenge, chocolate éclairs, was a little less intimidating than usual for me, because I had recently made cream puff dough for bignè con la crema (cream puffs). The chocolate part was welcome, considering my lifelong affection for cioccolato.
According to my Italian dictionary, éclair is a "specie di bigné di forma allungata ripieno di crema e glassato" (a sort of cream puff of elongated shape filled with pastry cream and glazed). Éclairs and bigné are referred to generically as paste, pastries. On Sunday, my father would often say: Vado a comprare le paste (I am going to buy some pastries) a sweet-sounding sentence that translated into the appearance, at the end of the Sunday lunch, of a tray (vassoio) of tempting delicacies. As far as favorite pastry, I would go through phases and it was important to communicate the results of my shifting taste to my father, so he could make an informed purchase. Making pastries brings me back to my emotions as a child. Hence, it was particularly nice for me that the evening I served my éclairs al cioccolato there was also a young person at the table: the sparkle in his eyes was my best reward.
My éclairs were not very innovative. I halved the original recipe (using 2 whole eggs and one egg yolk) and obtained 11 éclairs. For the filling, I made half of my recipe for crema, then added to it, when it was still warm, 50 g of extra-dark chocolate (70%), broken in small pieces (half of a 3.5 oz. bar). For the glaze, I melted the other half of the chocolate bar and added to it a tablespoon of my home-made mascarpone.
There was a small glitch, actually: I took no photographs. There was too much going on in my kitchen that day, plus my éclairs were not satisfactory in terms of aesthetic. Let me offer you a nice photo of something else instead: these two fawns have been visiting us often recently, together with their mother. Don't they look adorable? I hope you will take the time to go around and look at the gorgeous creations of my talented fellow Daring Bakers.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the éclair al cioccolato audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]