Sunday, August 31, 2008

August DB Challenge: Eclairs


Whaaa?!?! No layer cakes, no buttercream, barely any butter in sight! Is this truly a Daring Baker challenge I see before me? Instead of all those layers and frostings and ganaches and butter and cream, I get puffy eclairs, filled with ice cream and topped with a decadent glaze. I was so very excited to see something a bit out of my comfort zone, and something that I'd gladly keep all of, not wanting to pass it off on anyone at work. To be safe, I halved the choux pastry recipe as well as the glaze recipe, then scaled the chocolate syrup to only make as much as I needed (55 g). Yeah, it was a bit of a pain to work with such small amounts with the syrup, but it meant I didn't have to find a use for it later on (although I've heard from reliable sources it makes a killer chocolate milk). But I like freaking people out by making fun excel spreadsheets and scaling everything. Because I'm nice like that.


I didn't have too many problems with the choux pastry, although I liked the one we used for the puff ring with the TWD crew a while back - that recipe didn't have as many problems with collapsing or anything. After perusing the Daring Baker forums, it seemed like quite a few people had problems with the incredible shrinking eclair. By keeping these in the oven for 30 min instead of the recommended 20, leaving them in the turned-off oven to cool, and also pricking them with a knife after they came out, I managed to avert that sad disaster.


Wait a second - I realize you were probably expecting these to be filled with pastry cream or something like that. But ice cream? Whoops, I thought I could slip that one in. When Meeta and Tony picked eclairs, designed by the quintessential pastry chef himself, Pierre Herme, they gave us freedom. (Freedom!) We had to use the original choux pastry recipe, but we could substitute something in for either the chocolate pastry cream or the chocolate glaze. So, since I had had my eye on a to-die-for ice cream recipe by David Lebovitz and didn't want to be left with lots of egg whites, I subbed Vietnamese coffee toffee ice cream in for the chocolate pastry cream.


Oh yeah, and the coffee toffee ice cream? It's probably my favorite flavor of ice cream ever. How can you go wrong? I loved the little bit of crunch the toffee gave to the whole dessert and the slight grittiness from the ground coffee. Being able to freeze the eclairs with no worry about wrecking them made these much easier to keep too. Not that they lasted too very long (oops!). Even better, the ice cream didn't require any eggs - just half and half, sweetened condensed milk, and coffee. Really, really strong coffee. I made mine double strength and then added a hefty spoonful of espresso powder along with a substantial pinch of ground coffee. What can I say? I love coffee. And it doesn't hurt that this made waaay more than enough to fill the half batch of eclairs I made. Doesn't hurt anything at all. Except sleep. And my hips. But neither of those really matter, right?


PS - Don't forget to take a look at the amazing creations the rest of those Daring Bakers dreamed up! You won't be sorry!

Vietnamese Coffee Toffee Ice Cream (adapted from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop)

1 1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 c. double strength coffee
1/2 c. half and half
1 tsp. coarsely ground coffee
2 tsp. espresso powder
3/4 c. toffee pieces

Whisk together everything except for the toffee pieces. Chill overnight. Churn according to the instructions for your ice cream maker, adding the toffee in the last 3 minutes of churning. Makes 1 qt of the best coffee ice cream EVER.

32 comments:

rainbowbrown said...

Holy Moses that ice cream looks so awesome. I'm so totally going to make the hell out of some ice cream puffs soon.

Natalie... said...

Wow what a great idea to put some ice cream in, sounds so yummy!

breadchick said...

OH yea, ice cream AND excel spreadsheets!!! I didn't get all math-geeky this month...oh wait, yea I did when I had the rule out so I would have exactly the same size eclairs.

You will have to carry on the Daring Baker "geek torch" until January for us OK?! And don't be a stranger around The Sour Dough either. I'll be checking in on you while I'm away from DB.

kellypea said...

I haven't had coffee toffee ice cream yet, but would agree that the crunch would be perfect in these eclairs. And thanks for confirming that my cooking time was more reasonable, and that maybe my flat eclairs weren't all me...my ego is somewhat restored! Nice spreadsheet -- seriously!

Heather B said...

ice cream??? yum! They look amazing! Great job!

Isa said...

Fillin the éclairs with ice cream? You rock, Engineer Baker!
And I wished I had scaled down my sauce too as now I have a remaining pot of it in my fridge waiting to be used. I'll search for that chocolate milk recipe.

Judy said...

OK. Seriously. I have to make that ice cream. What a great choice as a filling!

Oh, and my oven doesn't rise that fast, but I kept a watchful eye on the little darlings. I believe these were the best-baked ones I've ever done.

Mary said...

I froze half of my pate a choux for future use and now I know what to do with them. I love Vietnamese coffee and will definitely try your ice cream recipe.

HoneyB said...

The ice creams sounds to die for! What an awesome filling for your puffs!

Di said...

Nice job! I also found that the bake time needed to be increased--my first attempt ended up in the garbage, unfortunately. If you do make more of the chocolate sauce, it can also be used to make hot chocolate. =)

Tammy said...

ice cream is a great way to fill the eclairs. yum!

Mary Ann said...

Yum! What a great substitution! I think I would've liked these better with ice cream.

Megan said...

Ummm - coffee. And I thought I was the only hard-core coffee addict. I just bought that book and the recipe must have slipped by. Hmmm - I do have all those eclairs in the freezer............

Katie B. said...

You're a genius! Ice cream sounds like the perfect filling - except then my freezer would be overrun with eclairs.

Heh, who am I kidding? They wouldn't last! :P

Jude said...

That ice cream recipe sounds like a serious pick-me-up. Just the thing I needed towards the end of making this challenge.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

What a great idea to fill your eclairs with ice cream! They look wonderful!

Marye said...

wow those look delicious....nice job!
marye
http://www.bakingdelights.com/2008/08/31/daring-bakers-august-challengeeclairs

Amy J. said...

Mmmmmmmm, good idea on the ice cream! Sheesh, that looks good....

Aparna said...

That's just a great idea and eclairs. I saw this ice cream idea on a couple of blogs and think its just fantastic. Beats pastry cream filling anyday.

bakinginoregon said...

Nice job. I love the Vietnemese Coffee Toffee ice cream filling. I'm going to be making that ice cream very soon.

Snooky doodle said...

nice idea of filling with ice cream. its nice for summer .

Meeta said...

ice-cream in eclairs this could not get any better. but it does - combining david lebovitz and pierre herme is genius!

n.o.e said...

Your eclairs look lovely, of course. But THAT ICE CREAM - oh my! Sounds like heaven on a spoon.

Y said...

Yum. I love the sound of that ice cream. Would've gone down the same road myself, except I wanted to give the chocolate pastry cream a go :)

Dharm said...

Those look awesome! And ice cream is just a super idea. The fact that you are an Engineer too makes you even more special as far as I'm concerned!! LOL.

strawberriesinparis said...

how cute!! :-)

Jenny said...

You know, I had not noticed the lack of collapse on the TWD puffs to these,thanks for pointing that out!
If I liked coffee at all, I'd be drooling over the ice cream cause it looks good.

Jaime said...

oh boy! thanks for the ice cream recipe mmmm! what do you think i can sub for espresso powder? instant coffee? super finely ground coffee?

your puffs look great! and i decreased the chocolate sauce recipe too!

Susan said...

Wow, amazing ice cream idea!

Antonio Tahhan said...

apparently everyone had the same reaction I did - WOWZA! I love the Vietnamese coffee ice cream center. Pure genius!

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

I love the ice cream idea, so good.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Vietnamese coffee toffee ice cream . . . that is brilliant!