I used to think of myself as an eclair-master. Some years ago I spent weeks perfecting my pâte à choux recipe and was immensely proud of my hollow, crisp creations.
Well, the years have passed and apparently so did my talent. When I picked up the old recipe again, things were looking good and the eclairs were rising to be big&strong boys up until the moment I took them out of the oven. Within minutes my beautiful babies turned flat and soft. Oh the pain - I've forgotten to poke the tops to let the steam escape!
I preserve and try again the next day. However, I'm late to a party and have an hour to bake the eclairs, make the caramel pastry cream, shiny chocolate glaze, and assemble. The odds are not in my favour. Alas, things are looking good - I'm prepping the caramel and the eclairs are in the oven. They are expanding well and I take them out when they are nice and crisp. I prepare to cut the slits in to let the air out when I notice the caramel is burning and like in a slow motion movie, all of my attention is diverted to saving the caramel. I think you can guess what happened next. I turn around and the eclairs are dead. Again.
It is time for attempt number three. My garbage bin is filled with dozens of deflated eclairs but I will not give up. The eclairs will not have the final word on this.
Update, Attempt #3: I have finally won. This time, I baked the eclairs at 375F, and sprinkled some water around them for added moisture. I poked them open the second they came out, and voilà - no deflation!
Alas, the search for the perfect eclair is not over yet. There are still a few things I'd like to work on:
Selling my pastries at the farmers market does not make me a fault-less baker. Quite the opposite: the more recipes I attempt, the more recipes I fail at, and eventually - the more I learn.
Enjoy this record of broken sauces, wasted eggs, and record setting sugar usage.