Thursday, August 9, 2012

Baking Disaster : What NOT to do when you make Chocolate Eclairs.

It is very important for anyone to live life with failures. I mean never be afraid of admitting failure. And for people like me who never get things the easy way, we really don't have a choice but to accept it, only with the desire to strike back harder and doing better the next time. I personally believe that if you get something easy, you probably won't value it as much as a person who has worked their ass off at getting something, getting thrown off at every stage.

Cooking did not come to me easy either. A certain someone has had to go through many stomach upset syndromes and has had to even fight with me over having to cook food just so that I do not make another batch of undercooked rice or a Mysore Dosa with a kilo of Beetroot too many. But with all those trials and errors, I think I got somewhere!

Just like that I had the craving for a Chocolate Eclair, since I was yearning to cook after recovering from a Viral Fever and having bland food (well everything tasted bland to me anyway) for 10 days. It did not seem all that difficult and I had everything I needed at hand, so there I began. Little did I know that it was a gentle push to send me tumbling downhill into a puddle of cheap cocoa icing.

Well I am being overcritical of myself. But the least I can do is not make the same mistakes again and even though whatever came out of it tasted good enough for my brother to finish all of it, I must make the prettiest chocolate eclairs sooner than later.

I started off with my dear friend Google and fished out for recipes that seemed easy enough to put together quickly. That was my first mistake. There are no short cuts to awesomeness. Every single time we substitute or compensate for something in a recipe, we compromise on the real deal.

The Chocolate Eclair has 3 major components:

  • The Choux Pastry Puffs
  • The Crème Patissière
  • The Chocolate Topping.

I made the Crème Patissière from my trusted recipe, (at least I did something good) and it was nothing short of perfect. *gentle pat on my back*

I looked up too many recipes for the Choux Pastry Puffs. Second mistake. There was too much to know, not exact instructions about the right texture and too many ways to do it. I only realized I was going wrong when I watched a video of Gordon Ramsay doing Profiteroles with Choux Pastry but I was a bit too late since I had a batch of too runny Choux Pastry sitting in my kitchen. Thank heavens I did not throw it away, but I did make a new batch which seemed to hold its shape better.

This was the second batch of Choux Pastry. I piped some out as little Profiteroles too. Now this recipe asked for them to be baked at 200C but since I read too much I decided to bake them at 180C for 35 minutes (Third Mistake). They came out looking like this at the 20 minute mark.

They tasted yummy, but did not rise at all and lets be honest they were a little burnt too. Disheartened, I decided to pipe out the first batch anyway. I mean, nothing to lose right? And to my surprise they rose beautifully.

But I did not keep an eye on them properly. I did not trust my gut this one time and it just went all pear shaped. I over baked them and this is what happened.

But at least they were much better than the mess which did not even rise! I decided I will make the eclair come what may.

So despite having a 500gm slab of Callebaut Cooking Chocolate at home (which would have made an amazingly luscious Ganache), I decided to go for a Cocoa Icing (Fourth Mistake). Just some Icing Sugar, Cocoa Powder and Hot Water mixed together. Then I added Coffee to it too.

And finally my Fifth Mistake was to sandwich two eclairs with Crème Patissière rather than Piping it inside the fluffy eclairs.

When I drizzled the Icing on the eclairs, it all was too runny and just did not taste right. But it tasted like something which was almost there (except it was not) and how if I had been a little more attentive and sorted I would have probably made a pretty cracking chocolate eclair!

I end this by saying that I am anything but a quitter. I will master you, Choux Pastry! Just you guys wait for my Chocolate Eclair post!


  1. AnonymousAugust 9, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    I made eclairs just last week.
    All was good, the choux pastry rose well. I didn't take all the moisture out of the choux pastry wduring the 'sweating' process and that was why they were soft inside after baking. However after scooping out the soft innards, the creme patissiere and chocolate ganache saved my ecliars!!

    1. Caramel WingsAugust 9, 2012 at 11:59 PM

      Oh I totally know what you mean. Hoping mine turn out perfect in the next attempt!

  • Abdul MuqitAugust 9, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Hey its ok its all apart of the learning experience to get it just the way we like it! your not alone in making mistakes in the kitchen i be the first to tell you that! But we must dust ourselves off and try again! keep striving im behind you 100% i enjoyed your post very entertaining!

    1. Caramel WingsAugust 9, 2012 at 11:59 PM

      Thanks Abdul :)

  • kiwiiiiiAugust 9, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Well they still look good sure next time you will get it right :)

    1. Caramel WingsAugust 10, 2012 at 12:00 AM

      Thank you so much :) :) I hope they come out way better next time!