Spinach Soufflé

Spinach Soufflé

How was everyone’s weekend? In the US, Sunday was Father’s Day and it was a beautiful day, a bit hot for my liking but nice nevertheless. What did you all do for the special fathers in your life? 

We had a bit of a late and lazy start but eventually when everyone was ready, we headed out to one of the many State parks we have and walked/hiked around, well, I mainly hobbled but it was still really nice to get out in the open and enjoy nature. I have missed being outside.

We took a ride up to Golden Gate Canyon State park, about 40 minutes from where we live in Broomfield. It’s not very mountainous as such, but a beautiful canyon with a river carving through, lush green vales and hills and a few precarious rock formations.

Laith and Sahare

We drove through to the open space and it was just perfect. We could see the plains of Denver on one side and rocks and hills on the other, and we were standing in the middle surrounded by an endless prairie. It was beyond beautiful and peaceful.

We didn’t do anything fancy for dinner; came home and slapped some burgers on the grill, chips on the side and warm brownies for dessert. I think it was perfect and the man of the hour thought so too.

Trace

Today’s post is nothing new but definitely an old favourite classic of many. This one particularly so, because it’s an adapted Julia Child recipe. You can’t get more classic than that. My first experience with soufflé probably wasn’t the greatest because it was the frozen, throw in the oven kind. It wasn’t bad and I rather enjoyed it. As time’s gone on, I have of course, made my own from scratch. Apart for the dessert kind, my favourite is the spinach soufflé.

Spinach Souffle

Over the winter, the only thing that was available at the farm was the over wintered spinach. I wasn’t familiar with the term and come to find out it basically a hardy variety of spinach that can be grown, covered, in the winter time. It is SO good. So good that I went back many, many times to stock up on this sweet, sweet green. I made lots of Spinach and Potato curry, I made Spinach and Feta cheese borek, I sautéed it with garlic and I made soufflé. 

Spinach Soufflé

Julia Child’s recipe is made in one big soufflé dish, but I wanted to make mine in individual ramekins as a side dish to serve with my kefta kebabs. My ramekins were a bit small and I recommend a 1 cup or 1½ cup ramekins, otherwise you may have batter leftover (which you can put in a dish and bake).

Spinach Soufflé

They were light, fluffy and delicious. Mine did rise nicely but deflated before I could photograph them. 

Spinach Soufflé

Rating 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 1 large dish or 8 ramekins

A French classic from Julia Child, a creamy Spinach Soufflé with farm fresh spinach and Swiss cheese.
Ingredients
Soufflé Base Sauce
  • 3½ tablespoons butter
  • 4½ tablespoons flour
  • 1½ cups/355ml milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of nutmeg, ground
  • 6 egg yolks
Spinach base
  • 1 cup blanched and cooked spinach
  • 2 tablespoons red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Souffle
  • 7 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup Swiss cheese, grated
Ramekin Prep
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheer, grated
  • 1 8 cup soufflé mould or
  • 8 1 cup ramekins
Instructions
Ramekin Prep
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C
  2. Start by buttering and sprinkling cheese on the moulds.
  3. Put aside.
Soufflé Base
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat
  2. Add the flour and mix until a thick paste forms.
  3. Drizzle in the milk and whisk out the lumps.
  4. Beat vigorously and add the seasonings.
  5. The sauce will be very thick.
  6. Add the egg yolks and mix until combined thoroughly.
Spinach Base
  1. Cook the red onion sin the butter until softened.
  2. Add the cooked spinach and the salt and stir over moderately high heat to evaporate as much water as possible.
  3. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the spinach to the egg yolk/white sauce soufflé base.
  5. Put to the side while preparing the egg whites.
Souffle
  1. Beat the egg whites and salt until stiff, using a hand or stand mixer.
  2. Stir in ¼ of the whipped egg whites into the spinach mixture to lighten it .
  3. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of cheese.
  4. Fold in the rest of the egg whites, gently but thoroughly.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared mould or divide amongst the 8 ramekins.
  6. Fill the ramekins pretty full, almost to the top.
  7. They will sink when cool.
  8. You may have some batter left over.
  9. This can be baked off in a small dish also.
  10. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese over the top.
  11. Place in the middle rack of the oven and lower the heat to 375F/190C.
  12. Bake for 25-30 minutes without opening the oven door.
  13. If you like the centre creamy, remove it at this point.
  14. If you prefer a well cooked soufflé, cook for another 5 minutes.
  15. If you are using ramekins, they will be ready at 30 minutes.

Spinach Soufflé

I hope everyone’s had a good week. It’s been a bit hectic for me with cooking demos, and then the World Cup. It was disappointing to see England lose their first game but I am still hoping for the best. I had the best time watching the game with a bar full of other Englishmen and it was like being home 🙂 I had a blast. 

Have a great week everybody!

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

orange cardamom madeleine5

First of all, I would like to thank all my blogger friends who left such heart warming comments on my last post that I was brought to tears by so many of them. I appreciate your words of wisdom, encouragement and never ending support. It means more to me than I can describe in words.

orange cardamom madeleine

My intention was never to write what I did in my last post because though I was in pain and frustrated and very down, I am not the one to admit such things. But for some reason, sub consciously maybe, it all came pouring out. Maybe it was to hear all the lovely words you had to say to me and to let me know that I am not alone. Whatever it was, I’m glad I did share what I was feeling because I got such great advice from others who do this and go through similar things as I do. Thank you all so much. Of course, with such a great support system that I have in all of you, I’m not giving up this blogging gig anytime soon!

orange cardamom madeleine7

So, just a quick post today because it’s time for the monthly Improv Cooking Challenge that is hosted by Kristen Baker of Frugal Antics of a Harried HomemakerThis month’s theme is orange and cardamom. I have to say, I had many grand plans for this theme, many, many ideas, but feeling the way I did, and with my mobility issues and the whole feeling of despair, I opted for something easier but just as good. Maybe, I will post my other ideas later.

Who doesn’t love a madeleine? I adore these scalloped, buttery bits of heaven. There is nothing better than a warm madeleine, fragrant from the lemon zest and butter alongside a steaming cup of Earl Grey.

orange cardamom madeleine1

Though I prefer my madeleines, unadorned and uncomplicated with just a light dusting of powdered sugar and a hint of lemon, these Orange Cardamom Madeleines are really quite amazing. The underlying flavour is the fresh citrusy flavour from the orange with the hint of cardamom. Cardamom can be quite strong and a little goes a long way, so use a light hand with it unless you really, really love it. I always grind my own cardamom powder because the flavour and aroma are stronger, but you can use a good quality, ready ground powder.

orange cardamom madeleine3

I hope you check out my fellow Improv Cooking Challengers below and their delicious creations. 

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

Serves: 24

Calories: 2285

Fat: 117g

The classic French madeleine gets a makeover with fresh orange and cardamom.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup/150g all purpose/plain organic flour
  • ¼ cup/25g ground almonds
  • ⅔ cups/120g cane sugar
  • 2 eggs, large organic
  • 1 stick/115g melted (and browned) butter
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. This recipe is so easy, you can do it with a fork with no need to whip out the mixer.
  2. If you want to use the browned butter, heat the butter in a small, heavy saucepan on medium low heat.
  3. Allow the milk solids to start browning being careful not to burn.
  4. It can burn very quickly so keep an eye on it.
  5. Remember, it continues to cook in the pan so I take it off while it's just light brown.
  6. By the time I'm ready for it, it has reached a deep golden brown.
  7. If you don't want to mess with browned butter, you can use just melted butter.
  8. Mix the flour and ground almonds together.
  9. Mix the sugar and eggs together.
  10. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well.
  11. Add the orange zest, cardamom powder and the orange juice.
  12. Mix thoroughly and then slowly mix in the cool, melted butter.
  13. The batter will be soft and will need to be chilled for easier scooping.
  14. Chilling also helps develop the characteristic hump of the madeleine and is a necessary step.
  15. Chill the batter for at least an hour.
  16. I've made madeleine batter the night before and is very convenient to have it ready to go in the morning.
  17. When you are ready to bake, grease and flour your madeleine pans.
  18. Preheat your oven to 375℉/190℃
  19. Scoop a tablespoon of batter into each scalloped mould.
  20. This recipe should yield 24 madeleines and it's easier to have two pans.
  21. Bake for 15 minutes.
  22. Check at 10 minutes and then add minutes from there.
  23. They can burn easily if you don't keep an eye on them.
  24. Mine were ready in about 13 minutes.
  25. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and them prise them out gently with a knife.
  26. Serve warm dusted with powdered sugar.
  27. Some people like glazes and such on them or even chocolate, but I like mine plain.
  28. You can always drizzle a sugar or chocolate glaze if you like (maybe melt an orange chocolate bar and dip)
Notes
This recipe is heavily adapted from Julia Child's madeleine recipe.

orange cardamom madeleines6

Just a note on the madeleine pans that you need for this recipe. If you don’t own one and would like to buy one, I highly recommend ones that are sold at Williams Sonoma, or heavy duty cast iron or aluminium. Don’t buy the non stick, they are quiet terrible and don’t buy cheap ones. You will regret it and then hate making madeleines. I happened to have a gift card from a store that was not Williams and Sonoma years back and so I spent my money buying these non stick madeleine pans. They’re not a cheap make, but obviously now I realise they are not good enough. I sprayed them with non stick and I used shortening and flour one other time, and they are beginning to stick like a big dog! Very frustrating when your favourite cakes don’t come out all pretty and scalloped. They worked fine for about a year or two, but I’ve had them for a while now, but looks like I’ll be investing in some proper ones soon.

orange flower

My children are off from school next week for Thanksgiving and I’m already getting nervous. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, a few of my good friends and I are getting together for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I am so excited because these ladies are great cooks and we have a great menu lined up. Can’t wait!

orange cardamom madeleine2

I hope to post before Thanksgiving, but that may not happen with the children home and with all the busyness. If not then I will take the opportunity now to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to my readers and friends in the US. Have a great weekend and a holiday weekend!

 

Kouign Amann

kouign amann

Here is another recipe that has been on my “to bake” list ever since I mastered croissants, the famous sweet, caramelised bread of Brittany, the Kouign Amann. I was told that I simply should try this and that is was even better than croissants. Those were some lofty claims because to me, croissants are IT. I know there are tonnes of other pastries and breads that may be more involved and even tastier but to me the perfect crossiant is pretty elusive, especially in the bakeries here. So many places just don’t know how to get them right. I am not claiming to be some expert in croissant baking, but I do know a bad one!

So, the Kouign Amann has been an interest for a while now. I have never tried one so I wasn’t sure what an authentic one tasted like, but considering it has salted butter, lots of sugar and is baked until all caramelised, I was pretty sure it was going to be good. I also took Davis Lebovitz’s word for it because you know he can’t be wrong.

The name of this Breton cake, Kouign Amann is derived from the Breton word for cake; kouign and butter; amann. Two of my favourite words.

Hearing about the virtues of this cake/bread was easier than finding a recipe for it. There aren’t many around. I decided to go with a trusted source and try out David’s recipe since he lives in France and has actually tried one and recreated it. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe but has the usual tricky bits, just like the croissant recipes, and a long wait. The wait is worth it though.

The end result is a buttery, sugary, caramelised piece of heaven. The best bits are the toffee like, crusty, crispy edges. Inside you have layers of soft, buttery, sweet bread. 

Of course, I don’t expect everyone to rush out there and make this, especially since it’s not readily available every where. However, if you like a challenge and you like croissants, then this should be on your “to bake” list. 

 kouign amann

kouign amann

Kouign Amann

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8-10 pieces

Very slightly adapted from David Lebovitz's recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon/12g active dry yeast, not instant
  • ¾ cup/175mL tepid water
  • 2 cups/260g plain/all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup/200g sugar plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 stick/113g salted butter, cut into ½ inch (2 cm) pieces and chilled
  • 2-3 tablespoons additional salted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast and a pinch of sugar with the water and stir to mix.
  2. Put aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix the flour and salt together.
  4. Add the flour and salt mixture to the yeast in the bowl and mix to form a soft dough.
  5. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 2-3 minutes.
  6. The dough might be sticky and might require the use of a scraper to help you turn it over and knead.
  7. If it is too sticky, add a bit more flour until it no longer sticks to your hands.
  8. Make into a ball and put inside a butter greased bowl and cover.
  9. Put aside in a warm place to rise, about an hour.
  10. Meanwhile, line a large plate with plastic wrap and put aside.
  11. On a lightly floured counter top, roll out the dough into a rectangle.
  12. Roll out to 12"x18" with the longer side towards you.
  13. The dough will be sticky and again use your scraper to help shape the dough if needed.
  14. Down the middle of the rolled out dough, place the chilled butter cubes and sprinkle a ¼ cup/50g of the sugar.
  15. Take one side of the dough and fold it over the butter.
  16. Take the other side and fold that over...like a letter.
  17. Sprinkle another ¼ cup/50g sugar down the entire length of the dough.
  18. Fold the dough from the bottom to the middle again
  19. Fold down the top ...again like a letter.
  20. Place the folded dough onto the plastic wrapped plate and place in the fridge to chill, an hour.
  21. Once chilled, remove the dough from the fridge.
  22. On a counter sprinkled liberally with sugar, place the dough to roll out.
  23. Roll out the dough again, sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar, pressing in it in, and fold into thirds like before and chill again for 30-60 minutes.
  24. Preheat the oven to 425℉/220℃ and brush a 9"/23 cm pie plate, preferably non stick, with melted butter.
  25. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out into a circle to fit the pan.
  26. It will be sticky and will want to break.
  27. Place in the pan and patch up the pieces if necessary.
  28. Sprinkle the top with the last remaining ¼ cup of sugar and pour over 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
  29. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is deeply caramelised.
  30. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes and then run a spatula around the edges and slide the bread onto a cooling rack.
Notes
David mentions a sticky dough, mine was manageable at all times, in fact I had to add a bit more water but that's usually the case at high altitudes. I used a 9" cast iron skillet, on second thought, maybe not a good choice. It was non stick and the kouign amann came out beautifully, but I feel it got a little too caramelised at the bottom. The cast iron is great at retaining heat so maybe that's why mine browned quite a bit on the bottom but not enough on top. Of course, the best bits were the over caramelised bottom bits. I used a European Style butter: my local grocery store had Challenge European Style. My only concern is that, even though there were layers in the end product, some of them were a little dry. I think maybe a butter paste might work better (I made my croissants with a paste and they were beautifully moist and flaky) or could try smaller chunks to get better butter distribution. Other than that, the bread was very decadent and delicious; buttery and sweet with the perfect salty balance.

kouign amann

kouign amann with tea

Do you like to try and create things that you haven’t tried before, especially if they are time consuming and you really have no idea of how they taste? My thought is that I may or may not ever get to taste an authentic one, but I love to try out challenging and intriguing recipes just so I can get a small glimpse of how they might taste. I haven’t regretted an experiment yet.

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend! Hope you have fun things planned.

Strawberry Madeleines

strawberry madeleines

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, finally. Though it has been thrust upon us since December 26. I don’t like Valentine’s Day. Like everything else, it has become a silly commercial holiday for the flower and chocolate industry, along with the jewellery industry desperately trying to get a piece of the action.

Yes, I know thats a very negative view of a holiday that’s all about love and romance and all things sweet, chocolatey and red. Surprisingly, my husband thinks Valentine’s Day is important to me, I think all men do for fear of repercussions at home.

However, Valentine’s Day in my teenage years was very important. Although, I am not quite sure why since I had three very major things working against me 1.strict Muslim parents 2.strict Catholic primary schooling 3.an all-girls secondary school **sigh** I was rebellion in a can just waiting to be unleashed. There was a snowball’s chance in hell for me to receive any kind of secret admirer adulations on the most important of teenage holidays, Valentine’s Day. But there was comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone and that my friends were in similar predicaments (they too had strict, no nonsense parents). 

I was very adventurous though and spontaneous in my younger years. I was very inventive and fearless and as a result, I do have a list of failed crushes of epic proportions.

For instance, there was the hairdresser who worked next door. He was ultra cool. He had long hair and sometimes he would have it in a ponytail and sometimes it would be flying carefree. I wanted to have my haircut by this specimen of coolness. I made an appointment and enjoyed two hours of being pampered by this god, all the while dreaming that he was purposely taking a long time with my hair. I only realised afterwards that it took so long because he was such an awful hairdresser. I had to go back the following day and have his brother correct my hair! What an epic disappointment he turned out to be!

Well, with such a non existent love life, no wonder I took to baking. These strawberry madeleines are for lovers and non lovers alike; for people who love Valentine’s Day, and for those who don’t. Just to get a little bit of the romantic spirit, I dyed them red.

They are delicious, as madeleines always are. They have a hint of strawberry taste and aroma, not too much, but a little natural strawberry flavouring can be added to boost the flavour, if desired. The strawberry puree cannot be increased because of its effect on the structure.

sm2

strawberry madeleines

 

Strawberry Madeleines

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 24 cakes

Ingredients
  • 11/2 cups/210g plain or all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup/221g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup/120g strawberry puree (1 cup strawberries with tablespoon sugar, whizzed in a blender)
  • 9 tablespoons/130g butter, melted and cooled
  • natural red food colour (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon strawberry flavouring (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉/180℃
  2. Grease two, 12 hole madeleine pans with butter or non stick spray.
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and keep aside.
  4. In a bowl of the mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar with the lemon zest.
  5. Once the sugar is fragrant, add the eggs and beat until light and ribbon like, about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Fold in the flour, a little bit at a time.
  7. Add the melted butter and mix until combined.
  8. Add the strawberry puree, flavouring, and colouring if using, and mix gently until well combined.
  9. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Remove form the fridge after 30 minutes.
  11. Drop spoonfuls into the madeleine pans.
  12. Place in the centre of the oven for 15/20 minutes until madeleines are risen and firm.
  13. Cool on a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Notes
If you are using a shiny, metal madeleine pan, then increase the heat to 375℉/190℃ and bake for 15/20 minutes. If you are using non stick, dark coated pans, use LOWER heat of 350℉/180℃.

 

strawberry madeleines and a cup of tea

strawberry madeleines

 

How have you fared in Valentine’s past? Is it an important day for you? How do you like to celebrate? 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Éclairs with White Chocolate Cream, 2nd Anniversary and a Giveaway!

eclairs with white chocolate cream

Today, my blog turns two years old! For me, that’s quite an achievement seeing as that I am really bad at maintaining it! I love writing and cooking for it, but unless I devote a considerable time to it, it’s hard work to maintain and generate the traffic you want. I am thankful though, to everyone who has and continues to visit and read my ramblings and try my concoctions. I want to thank, my blogger friends who tirelessly read my stories and memories, and support me unconditionally. They leave wonderful comments and feedback and I appreciate each and everyone of them.

Two and a half years ago, I toyed with the idea of starting a blog but kept talking myself out of it. I knew it needed a serious commitment that I knew I couldn’t keep. However, days of cooking and cleaning and being a wife and mommy were just making me numb. I longed for intellectual conversation, something to tickle my numbed and sleepy nerves; a spark to jolt me into being me the old me. Here are a few random facts that make me, me:

I am a Sci Fi/Mystery nerd: Star Wars, Star Trek, all superhero movies, Sherlock, Inspector Lewis..
I am a science geek: audio/video, tech etc
I am a hopeless romantic but happen to be married to the least romantic person ever.
I love to read but hardly get the chance because half way through the first page, I am asleep.
My favourite are the British classics, mysteries and yes, I did read Fifty Shades of Grey.
I love all kind of music from Led Zeppelin, The Who and AC/DC to One Direction and Eminem ( however, I do draw the line at Justin Bieber)
I love to talk; about everything and anything.
I love to travel and absorb cultures and wish I was fluent in every language.
I am a fidgety restless person whose mind is constantly churning; I always need to do something or learn something new
I was born in Saudi Arabia, I grew up in England (London will always be my home) and my family is from India and I live in America married to an American, when people ask me where I am from, there’s usually a big pause. I still haven’t perfected that answer.

So, I went from being this person who wanted to do everything to a stay at home mom. It was hard for me and so I started playing around with arts and crafts, did a bit of sewing, experimented with cooking and baking. As much as I loved doing stuff, I felt like my mind still wasn’t being exercised. Hence, the blog. I wanted to write, and use big words, and make grown up sentences rather than the simple, explanatory ones I used with my children day in and day out. Of course, two years ago I did have teenagers, but when have you known a teenager to 1. Converse with their parent 2. Converse in proper English? So, commitment or not, I started my blog for myself mainly. It didn’t matter to me back then if anybody read it; I was writing for myself.

Two years later, I have readers and slowly but surely, it’s getting noticed. So, thank you all for reading and supporting me! I still maintain this for myself, but making new friends from all over the world has been my new motivation to keep updating the site on a regular basis.

As a thank you to my regular readers, family and friends, I am giving away a thank you gift. Unfortunately, since I am bank rolling this giveaway, I have to limit it to US postal addresses. I have picked Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch cook book to giveaway. I think Chef Ramsay is awesome and his recipes are easy to follow and recreate. I hope the lucky winner will think so too.

Gordon Ramsay's Sunday Lunch: 25 Simple Menus to Pamper Family and Friends

To enter the drawing, you have to just go crazy with me socially! The more love you give, the more chances you have. You have till February 28 to get crazy. I will announce the winner first week of March.

Here’s what to do:
Leave me a comment or two, telling me an interesting tidbit about you.
Like my page on Facebook and say “hi”

And for extra entries:
Subscribe by email or register on my website
I am on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram

I know I have regular readers who don’t comment, so it would be nice to meet y’all!

Now, onto my anniversary dessert. I wanted to celebrate my two years with one of my favourite pastries, the éclair. These are slightly more jazzy and festive for the occasion and the inspiration came from the BBC Good Food magazine (they did some pastel eclairs in their January issue).

I have sort of combined my anniversary and Valentine’s Day dessert into one. These are great for any occasion and making them colourful allows you to tailor them to your specific event. I chose these colours because they are anniversary festive and very Valentine’s Day festive too. I thought this would be a nice kick off to some Valentines Days goodies coming up this week.

eclairs with white chocolate cream

Éclairs with White Chocolate Cream

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 18 eclairs

Ingredients
Choux Pastry
  • 20z/56g butter, in pieces
  • ⅔ cup/150mL water
  • ½ cup/75g flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
White Chocolate Cream
  • 1 cup/236mL heavy cream
  • 4oz good quality white chocolate, I used Ghirardelli
Decoration and Icing
  • 4 oz melted white chocolate, divided and coloured
  • assorted candies, sweets and sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉/200℃
  2. Mix the flour and salt together.
  3. Have a piping bag with a medium size plain nozzle ready to be filled.
  4. Have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready.
Choux Pastry
  1. Place water and butter in a medium pan and bring up to boil gently.
  2. Once butter is melted and mixture is beginning to boil, pull of the heat.
  3. Dump in the flour and salt and beat vigourously to combine.
  4. Don't over beat otherwise the fat will seep out.
  5. Let cool for 2 minutes.
  6. Once the mixture is in ball, using a hand mixer, start to mix the pastry ball.
  7. Add the eggs in a stream and continue to beat.
  8. Beat on high to trap as much air as possible into the pastry, 5 minutes.
  9. Once the eggs have been added and the pastry beaten, it is ready to be piped.
  10. Fill the piping bag with the pastry and pipe out long tubes of about 3"(8cm)
  11. Use a wet knife to cut of the ends from the piping bag.
  12. Pipe out 18 eclairs onto the parchment paper, leaving 2"(5cm) between each one.
  13. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.
  14. As soon as they are out of the oven, remove from the baking sheet and poke two or three holes
  15. at the ends to release air.
  16. Or you can also slit the sides if you prefer.
  17. Place on a wire rack and cool before filling.
White Chocolate Cream
  1. Place the white chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and heat at 30 second intervals till melted.
  2. It will only take about a minute to melt and the residual heat from the bowl will continue to melt the chocolate all the way. Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, whip the chilled cream to stiff peaks.
  4. Slowly add half of the cooled, melted chocolate and continue to whip gently for a minute.
  5. Then fold in the rest of the chocolate, till combined all the way.
  6. Fill a piping bag with a small nozzle with the cream.
  7. Put aside until ready to fill the éclair shells.
Decorating
  1. Melt some more chocolate and divide into bowls and colour with desired colours.
  2. Have candy and sweets ready to sprinkle.
  3. Once the shells have cooled, using the piping bag filled with cream, squeeze cream into the ends of the shells using the holes you poked earlier.
  4. If you slit the sides, just pipe cream into the shell.
  5. Dip the éclair into your choice of coloured chocolate cream and sprinkle with candy.
  6. Put aside as you complete the rest.
  7. If you are not serving them right away, chill in the fridge.
  8. Éclairs are best eaten on the day they are made but I can eat them the next day too!
Notes
The times given are approximate. Depends on how long it takes to melt your chocolate, how efficient you are at piping and how much decoration you are doing.

eclairs with white chocolate cream

eclairs4

eclairs with white chocolate creamOnce again, thank you for all your support the last two years. I hope you will celebrate with me and enjoy some éclairs. These are amazing; creamy and indulgent with just the right amount of sweetness. Make them for any special occasion. I look forward to reading your juicy tidbits and picking a winner!