Eclair “Petite Duchesse”

15 Mar 2016

Eclair “Petite Duchesse”

Food means passion, history, culture, imagination, art, friendship, family gathered together, craziness, sometimes tears (caused by slicing the onion or a recipe went wrong!)…….Food means life so it should be taken respectfully!
Food also requires “ happyness” which in our terms means joy, excitement, passion and so much more!
The recipes you will find here are not prepared by “ chefs” or “conaisseurs” but by crazy people who believes that a food should be delicious, give pleasure while eating or preparing, and all of these while being a source of endless imagination!!!

So let’s ride, my dear friends!

The word comes from French éclair ‘flash of lightning’, so named because it is eaten quickly (in a flash) and is originated during the nineteenth century in France where it was called “ petite duchesse” until 1850. Some food historians speculate that this delicate member of “ pie family” was first made by Marie Antoine (Antonin) Carême, the famous exponent of “ grand cuisine”,a fabulous pastry chef among French nobility during the 19th century.
I really don’t know for sure….but what I do Know…is that I grew with the smell of vanilla and hot delicious chocolate!!! My mom used to prepare them at important events of our life (birthdays, Christmas,New Years Eve….) because the recipe requires time, patience and commitment. I, on the other hand, used eclairs as a tool of seduction, who ate them once remained addicted!!
Executive Chef Tariq Hanna swears by the éclair rule: “a bakery is only as good as its éclair”!

Stay connected…..you are about to discover a source of joy and pleasure!

The foundation of any éclair (as well as gougères and profiteroles) is a dough made of butter, water, milk, sugar, and eggs. Traditionally, éclairs are filled with chocolate or vanilla pastry cream, and topped with a ribbon of chocolate ganache.
My mom recipe is a little bit different!

For our Pâte à choux, you will need just:

1 cup( 250 ml) of water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup flour
5 egs
1. Put the water into a medium-sized pan with a little bit of salt and the oil and heat until the boiling point. Tip in all the flour in one go.
Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon – don’t worry, the mixture will look messy at first but will soon come together to make a smooth heavy dough.
2. Put the pan back on a low heat and beat the dough for about a minute to slightly cook the dough – it should come away from the sides of the pan.
Tip the dough into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool until tepid.
3. Add gradually the eggs into the dough. ( Add 1 egg and incorporate it and then the second and so on until the last one)
4. Preheat the oven to 200C for 15 minutes and then fix it at 180C.
5. I don’t use piping bag, I just spoon the pastry and with the hand (well washed!!) and greased with oil I make little balls which I put in the tray with distance in between. ( see the photo).
Bake in the oven until the balls become golden-brown and crisp. ( see photo)

Custard Vanilla Cream
1lt cold milk
10 spoons with sugar
6,7 full spoons with flour
4 yolks
vanilla essence

Put all the ingredients into a pan and beat them with a whisk.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 20 to 25 minutes. BOIL and stir 1 minute. REMOVE from heat immediately.
Let it cool.

It takes at least 25 minutes for the pastry cream to thicken. Low heat, a heavy saucepan, constant stirring and patience are the keys to making a delicious cream. Don’t increase the cooking temperature for speeding the process because the mixture is likely to curdle. Keep cooking and stirring until large bubbles appear. Then boil and stir for 1 minute.
Once the éclairs have cooled, cut down the length of one side of each éclair and pipe in the vanilla cream.

Chocolate cover

9 spoons of water
3 spoons of sugar
3 spoons of CACAO
1 small ball of butter
Put all the ingredients together and cook on medium-low heat till become like a cream.
Remove from heat and put the hot chocolate cream onto each eclair.

You can just melt chocolate over a double boiler or a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) and allow it to cool slightly.

Good to know!

We prepare Custard Vannilla Cream first, so it can chill thoroughly and thicken up. A hot or warm filling will make pastries soggy.
Then she makes the dough and finally the chocolate. Also, in this way you will not be overwhelmed by the procedure!

“Petite Duchesse” is so incredible good that always requires double dose!

Bon appétit!


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