Introduction: The "1000" Eclair & Paris Brest
Congratulations with Instructable for the 1000th Contest!!! It's a very exciting news and I'm so proud of the growth of this community. I started my Instructable journey in 2015 when I lived in San Francisco, and now I've moved to Sydney and I'm still engaged to the community for creative ideas and crazy projects. It's also exciting that Instructable had grown more worldwide over the years.
To celebrate the 1000th contest, I made these special Eclairs & Paris-Brests to represent "1000". Both Eclairs and Paris-Brests are a type of choux pastry, same as the one used for profiteroles, and the only difference is the shape (and of course the filling which is up to your own preference). Eclair is always in an oblong shape, and it is named "Eclair" (which means lightening or flash) because they're always eaten in a flash. Paris-Brest however is always in a round, donut shape, and the name "Paris-Brest" is named after the bicycle race Paris-Brest-Paris, and the shape represents the wheel of the bicycle.
Traditionally eclairs are always filled with custard or pastry cream, and Paris-Brest are always filled with creme mousseline, a richer filling contains hazelnut praline. Here I used an Almond Mousseline for both desserts. Eclairs are normally dipped in melted fondants or icing, and Paris-Brest are always finished with dusted Icing sugar. To bring up the gold finish on the 1000 however, I decorated them with homemade marzipan which I will also show you how to make in this Instructable.
As this project contains several main parts, below is the outline for all component:
- Make Choux Paste
- Pipe and bake Eclair & Paris-Brest
- Make Almond pastry cream
- Make Almond Mousseline from the pastry cream
- Pipe in the filling for Eclair & Paris-Brest
- Homemade Marzipan
- Cut out marzipan and decorate
Now let's begin this delicious Instructable :)
You will need:
Pot, spatula, whisk, Piping bag, nozzles (Star nozzle), Oven Tray, knife, mixer / blender, mixing bowl, sieve
Step 1: Choux Paste - Part 1
Egg 5 ea
Unsalted Butter 100g
Plain Flour 190g
Sugar pinch (optional)
(This recipe will yield about 6 Paris-Brest and 8-10 Eclairs)
1. Mix Milk, water, sugar, salt, and cubed butter into a pot
2. Heat pot on the stove, till butter all melted and the liquid comes to a simmer
3. Turn off the heat, pour in sifted plain flour, and quickly whisk the mixture till they're all combined and free of lumps
4. When the mixture is smooth, turn on low heat again to cook the choux paste
Step 2: Choux Paste - Part 2
5. With the stove on low heat, keep cooking the choux paste. You'll notice that the mixture becomes drier and drier, and start to turn yellow.
6. Cook till it's all yellow in color, and non stick to the spatula anymore. You will notice a thin layer of paste on the bottom of the pot, and this means the paste is fully cooked.
7. Turn off the heat, and let the mixture cool down a little bit before adding the eggs.
8. Lightly whisk the eggs, and add to the warm (not hot) paste gradually. I suggest 1 egg at a time, but for the last bit please add it in very small quantity to adjust the consistency of the choux paste.
9. Keep mixing after each batch of egg mixture. The final stage should be a soft but not liquidy paste. The best way to examine it is to hold your spatula high, the drip from the paste should be slowly and in a thick ribbon. After the paste dripped into the pot, you should have a triangle shaped batter holding on to the spatula as well.
The consistency of the choux paste is probably the key step in making a successful final product. Don't add the last batch of egg in one go, add 1 tbsp for the last egg and check the consistency regularly. If after all the eggs are added in, the paste is still too dry, then you can put in 1 tbsp of milk to adjust the consistency. If the paste is not cooked well and is not in the right consistency, your choux pastry will not rise properly.
Step 3: Pipe Eclair & Paris-Brest
Now we can move forward to piping our pastries!
It is really difficult to pipe Eclair & Paris-Brest free hand without a guide, as the length and shapes might be different for each one. An easy trick to fix this is to dip your scraper (or anything straight with the ideal length) into some plain flour, and then mark the flour on your baking tray.
You can either use a non stick tray, or line your tray with parchment paper or silicone mat.
After you marked the lines on your tray, you will have a perfect guidance when piping eclairs to keep them uniform lengths.
Fill your piping bag with a big star nozzle -- Star nozzle will let the eclair rise more evenly compares to a plain nozzle -- and then start to pipe the choux paste onto the mat.
Now all the eclairs are piped and we want to fix the ends. Dip your finger in some cold water, and gently press down the end to avoid burning in the oven, and you will have a very smooth finish on both ends. You only need damp fingers so don't put additional water into the paste when doing this step.
The same process goes for Paris-Brest as well. Instead of using a scraper, I used a tart ring to mark the size I wanted for the Paris-Brest. Then also press down the ends with damp fingertip.
Step 4: Bake Choux Pastry
Bake your choux pastry in preheated oven at 200°C (390°F) for 15 min, and then lower the temperature to 180°C (350°F) for another 15 min.
Please note, each oven model is different, so the temperature and time might vary slightly. A good indicator is that your pastry has gone golden brown on the top, and had risen properly. DO NOT open the oven door halfway through baking otherwise they will be deflated.
Once they're baked, open the oven door slightly to let them cool a bit in the oven before taking out. This can prevent some temperature shock and will keep the choux pastries nice and dry.
Use a serrated knife, slice them from the middle -- Be careful when holding the pastries! Don't cut your fingers in this step.
Now all of our pastry shells are done, and let's move onto the filling.
Step 5: Almond Creme Mousseline - Part 1 Pastry Cream
As I mentioned in the beginning, we will make an Almond creme mousseline filling for these pastries. Creme Mousseline is made by combining a pastry cream and whipped butter, and it will hold the shape so much better compared to pastry cream when piping in between the shells.
So let's start with the base pastry cream.
Unsalted Butter 25g
Egg yolk 4 ea
Almond spread (Or called almond butter, 99% almond) 50g
Caster Sugar (Fine sugar) 160g
Corn Flour 80g
Vanilla essence drops
1. Put Egg yolks in a mixing bowl, and put in the sugar. Whisk them together till combined.
2. Put in the Almond Spread with the egg yolk mixture and mix well.
3. Add in corn flour into the egg yolk, and whisk till combined.
3. Put milk into a pot, and add vanilla essence. Heat on medium heat till simmering.
4. Pour simmering milk into the egg yolk mixture while whisking, after pouring all the milk, whisk to break up any lumps.
Step 6: Almond Creme Mousseline - Part 1 Pastry Cream Ctnd.
5. Pour the mixture back to the pot through a sieve - you will have a very smooth custard once getting rid of any lumps or bits in the mixture.
6. Turn on medium heat, and keep whisking the liquid in the pot for about 2-3 minutes, till it reboils and becomes very thick.
7. Put in the butter and whisk till it melted.
8. Wrap the pastry cream with cling wrap and put in fridge to cool down.
- It's important to sieve the liquid as this recipe contains nut paste and will be lumpy if leave it as is. Don't cook the mixture in high heat otherwise the egg yolk will curdle right away and you will get a grainy pastry cream.
- In this recipe, the nut paste I used is 99% almond, you can use praline paste but you will need to reduce the sugar. If you use paste like Nutella, you will reduce at least 50% of the sugar in this recipe.
- After making the pastry cream, keep it wrapped in cling wrap right away to avoid it dry out and form a skin.
Step 7: Almond Creme Mousseline - Part 2 Creme Mousseline
Almond Pastry Cream Full amount as made in above steps
Unsalted butter, softened 250g
1. Whisk the softened butter with a whisk or hand mixer. Mix till fluffy.
2. Take out the chilled pastry cream from fridge and add 1/3 at a time into the butter mixture. Mix well after each addition.
3. Put the mousseline back to the fridge to firm up a little bit, meanwhile prepare a piping bag with a French Star nozzle, or any nozzle to your own liking (a plain nozzle works well as well).
It's important to re boil the mixture to pasteurize the egg yolks, and also to firm up the pastry cream otherwise it will break down when using.
Step 8: Homemade Marzipan
Almond Meal 150g
Icing Sugar 150g
Glucose (or honey) 20g
Vanilla extract or Almond extract Drops
1. In a blender or mixer, put in almond meal and icing sugar, pulse it a few times till mixed.
2. Add Glucose or honey, add vanilla extract or almond extract or both.
3. Mix the mixture for about 30 seconds, if it's still too dry you can add a bit more glucose.
4. Take out all the paste and knead into a dough.
You can actually use any type of liquid, even water. However if you use water or more watery liquid, the shelf life of the marzipan is much shorter than using honey or glucose. This marzipan is for decoration so has a higher sugar content, if you just want to eat it inside a confectionery then you can reduce the sugar amount.
Step 9: Marzipan Template Preparation
As we will cut a piece of marzipan to put on top of our pastries, we will need to make sure the size and shape.
I measured the length and width for Éclair, and drew it out on a piece of cardboard. Then I cut it out with scissors to make the shape and also rounded the both ends. It doesn't need to be perfect! It's just a rough guide for you when cutting the marzipan.
For Paris-Brest, I found 2 round cutters that will fit the out rim and the inner rim of the circles.
Step 10: Marzipan Color & Cut
Put a drop of egg yellow color in the marzipan and knead it till mixed evenly.
Sprinkle some icing sugar on both sides, and roll it out between two piece of parchment paper. Peel off the paper and use the template and round cutters to cut into the shape for our pastries.
I put them on top of my pastries to test out the shape and I'm happy with the result. If it's too long or too wide, you can always take it off and trim off the excess.
Step 11: Gold Finish
Mirror glaze (or any other edible gel) 25g
Gold Lustre powder to your own desired amount
1. Mix the mirror glaze, gold powder and little bit water into a small container
2. Heat up for about 20 seconds so it's nice and thin and liquidy
3. Use a little bit gel to glue the marzipan on top of the pastry
4. Use a pastry brush to brush on the gold luster glaze on the top of the marzipan.
Step 12: Pipe the Filling & Decorate
Here you can get creative in piping. You can pipe big dots or just one strip, here I used a swirl piping to give it more volume and height for the pastry.
Pipe your filling with the mousseline on the bottom of the pastry, and put on the top of the pastry with glazed marzipan. You can decorate the top with anything you like. Here I used pistachio, dried strawberry and edible flowers for some colour. If you used glaze then it will stick up very nicely by itself, if you didn't have the glaze on top then you can use some syrup or icing to stick your decoration.
Step 13: Happy 1000th Contest!
Now it's all Finished!!! They're shiny, modern looking, and the taste is unbelievable. The homemade marzipan added depth of the almond flavour, and it's not sugary at all compared to fondant.
Put 1 Eclair with 3 Paris-Brest together, and you will have a delicious and pretty 1000.
I hope you enjoyed this Instructable, and again congratulations for the 1000th contest!
Runner Up in the