August’s Daring Bakers challenge was the humble yet heavenly éclair, which consists of a pâte à choux or cream puff, pastry cream and chocolate glaze. The éclair (which is French for lightning) is traditionally piped into a long form, such as the one pictured below. The same dough can be used for profiteroles, or the French pastry la religieuse, such as the one pictured above, among other varieties.
I thought I would attempt to make the beautiful religieuses I have admired in Laduree’s windows in Paris. I was pleased with the results. The religieuse is one large pastry cream-filled profiterole topped by a smaller one, both glazed with fondant/glaze. It supposedly resembles a nun, hence the name. I used the chocolate glaze, firmed in the refrigerator, to pipe the chocolate spikes around the sides. The éclair below is filled with vanilla pastry cream and fresh raspberries, topped with chocolate glaze and chocolate decorations.
These éclairs were absolutely delicious and relatively easy to make, especially the dough. The multi-step chocolate glaze was perhaps the most tedious element, and the second time, I made a simple chocolate ganache which worked well. I made the éclairs twice this month, though I only photographed my first batch. I have a feeling I will be making these often.
To see what other Daring Bakers have done, click here.