I haven't told anyone and now I'm telling all of you, shhhh, I'm addicted to Tom Douglas's Maple Eclairs. There I've said it and now I don't have to hide my dirty little secret anymore. But I do have to hide the Maple Eclairs. Oh my goodness, what deliciousness in an eclair-thick maple pastry cream,lighter than air pate a choux pastry,and topped with a light crunchy maple sugar glaze.
Before I dropped out of Pastry School, I was working on perfecting 3 things-Eclairs,Croissants and Ciabatta. The holy trinity of my pastry repertoire . I'm still working on perfecting them,but I've come very very close to the perfect eclair -Thanks to Chef Tom Douglas. The pate a choux-so easy, the maple pastry cream so thick and smooth and the maple sugar glaze-genius. I wish I could publish the recipe here. But my practice has always been that if it isn't published on the Internet already , I won't post it on my site. I believe in supporting the Chef, so buy the book. Get to your computer quickly click HERE to buy it .
It's a beautiful cookbook,tons of photos,tips and how to instructions-hint hint-it would make a great Christmas gift for that baker in your life. Or even better, treat yourself. I couldn't stop drooling over most of the recipes and my first attempt did not disappoint. I have the puffiest eclairs still rising in my oven.Beautiful roly poly shapes ( I made them slightly smaller than Chef Douglas recommends) and golden brown.
It's taken everything to not open the oven and try one. I plan on working my way through this cookbook and cooking and baking every single recipe in it and I encourage you to do the same.
But back to the Maple Eclairs-imagine a maple bar with thick luscious maple pastry cream-heaven . I couldn't find a recipe for eclairs close to the one in The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. Many have similar or exact ingredients,but none seemed to match the oven temperatures used and cooking times.
I will share a little tip with you -Chef Douglas recommends filling the eclairs from the top-that way the glaze seals the filling in and it won't squeeze out from the bottom as you eat the eclair.
When I was in Pastry School, The Dahlia Bakery was at the top of my list for bakeries I would dream about an internship there as I precisely cut my Napoleons or piped my little pate a choux swans. But life always has little surprises around every corner. One of those little surprises popped up in the Fall of 2008 and I left school-I thought I might return,but never did. It was one of the best experiences of my life, I will never forget what I learned and I now use this blog to recreate those experiences in my own kitchen. But, like Old Blue Eyes sings:
"Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way "
I've said it hundreds of times before,everything happens for a reason. I accept the change ,sometimes laughing,sometimes crying. I throw myself into what life throws at me. Someone once told me that I live my life like it is all or nothing at all; and that I needed to find a better balance in my life. Do you understand when I say all or nothing at all is my balance ? I love where it has taken me and what it has taught me .So now I think I will have another Maple Eclair and ponder where it will take me next. Bon Appetit !