Happy Valentines Day + Eclairs

We are creeping up on one of my very favorite holidays - Valentine’s Day.  I love Valentine’s Day because it is a chance to remind the people who are special to us how much we love and appreciate them during what can easily be one of the gloomiest months. 

I often get a bit perturbed around Valentine’s Day when I see boxes of unoriginal, inexpensive chocolates being exchanged between sweethearts.  Valentine’s Day is special.  It is the one day a year set aside to celebrate those we love, so shouldn’t our offerings be a bit more memorable?

Valentine's Day Eclairs {Pedantic Foodie}

I often get a bit perturbed around Valentine’s Day when I see boxes of unoriginal, inexpensive chocolates being exchanged between sweethearts.  Valentine’s Day is special.  It is the one day a year set aside to celebrate those we love, so shouldn’t our offerings be a bit more memorable?

Valentine's Day Eclairs {Pedantic Foodie}

I would like to nominate eclairs as this year’s Valentine’s Day replacement for ordinary chocolates.  They are light and creamy, sweet and chocolatey, and super simple to make. Seriously, even the non-baking gentleman can jump on this bandwagon.  

P.S. If you make these for your special lady she will totally adore you.  A gent who takes the time to bake his sweetheart something special is the kind of Valentine a lady wants to keep around.  Just a bit of advice...

Valentine's Day Eclairs {Pedantic Foodie}

I learned how to make eclairs from my grandmother.  She taught me how to make the most incredible fudge and heavenly eclairs.  This recipe comes straight from her kitchen. 

Valentine's Day Eclairs {Pedantic Foodie}

Eclairs begin with a pâte à choux.  A pâte à choux is a simple pastry dough that puffs up beautifully and forms a perfect shell, which can then be filled.  These little puffs will be filled with a light vanilla custard and topped with chocolate buttercream.  Goodbye cliche chocolates...

Valentine's Day Eclairs {Pedantic Foodie}

The eclairs wanted to look pretty, so I made some festive little flags with washi tape and toothpicks.

Valentine's Day Eclairs {Pedantic Foodie}

Just look at them… Total divas.  

Valentine's Day Eclairs {Pedantic Foodie}

Though it may seem like a lot of steps, I can promise you that the ends well justify the means.

Valentine's Day Eclairs {Pedantic Foodie}

I hope you will take some time this week to make something special for those you love.  And I hope you eat lots of chocolate buttercream along the way!  Happy Valentine's Day! 

 

Sincerely,

  Pedantic Foodie

 


Valentine's Day Eclairs 

makes 12 / recipe adapted from my grandmother’s old amish cookbook 

pâte à choux

- 1/2 cup unsalted butter

- 1 cup water 

- 1 cup flour 

- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt 

- 4 large eggs 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Sift to combine flour and salt.  Set aside. 

In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of water to a boil.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Add sifted flour and stir quickly until a rough dough forms and pulls away from the sides and forms a ball.

Remove from heat and beat in eggs, one at a time, until all the eggs are fully incorporated.  

Place the dough in a pastry bag and pipe 2-inch rounds, 2 inches apart on parchment paper.  

Bake for 20 minutes, until the puffs are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  

Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool while preparing the custard. 

for the custard 

- 3/4 cup granulated sugar

- 1/2 cup cornstarch 

- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

- 2 large eggs, divided

- 4 cups whole milk, divided use

- 1 teaspoon vanilla 

- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 

In a small bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, salt.  Whisk in egg yolks and 1/2 cup cold milk. 

In a medium saucepan heat 3 1/2 cups milk over medium heat and bring it just to a boil.  Slowly stream in cold milk mixture; whisking constantly.  Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  

Allow to cool to room temperature.  In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into the cooled custard.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  

for the buttercream 

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup cocoa powder 

2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar 

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter for 1 minute.  Add cocoa powder and beat until well incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add confectioner’s sugar.  When all the confectioner’s sugar has been worked in, add heavy cream and vanilla.  Set aside.  

 assembly

Slice the pastry shells in half and remove any excess dough inside the puffs.  Spread 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate buttercream on the top half of each shell and fill the bottom half with custard.  Transfer the eclairs to the refrigerator for 1 hour so that they can set up fully.  

These will keep in the refrigerator for several days, but there is absolutely no chance of them lasting that long.  

Enjoy! 

P.S. You will likely have some custard and buttercream left over.  If so, well, just use your imagination…