Saturday, February 23, 2013

Creme Brulee Eclairs Set on Fire

I was in the grocery line on Valentines Day doing some last minute shopping for our camping trip .  We would be celebrating Valentines Day over the long President's Day weekend.  The grocery clerk was making small talk and asked what plans I had.  Of course I was bubbling over with enthusiasm about the upcoming trip and told her we were going to a new campground on the Washington Coast that we had never been to before.  When I told her the name -Cape Disappointment-her mouth dropped and she said: "Oh" with a sad frown face. Then she added that it didn't sound like a very good place to be celebrating.  Isn't it funny how we allow people to interfere with our happiness ?  As I walked out of the store I realized I had allowed her to steal my joy. By the time I got the groceries loaded into the car I realized how silly I was.  Shame,shame,shame on me for allowing her to be a black cloud over my happiness.

Cape Disappointment ? No! More like "Cape could never be disappointed" because it's so beautiful .

 Cape Disappointment or Cape Happiness,the name didn't matter-it's what you make of it and we always try to make the very best of it.  So smile back on my face,to do list in hand and groceries packed in Ruby.  Now to decide what special dessert to make for our camping celebration.  I had to think about what would keep well and still look pretty and very special when it came time to eat. Cupcakes?  Mmm,a little too mundane for this trip. Cake? Too much for just the two of us. Pie? Nahh,wasn't in the mood for rolling dough.  Doughnuts? Doughnuts are always a good idea but best eaten fresh out of the frying pan and I wasn't plan on heating up a pan of oil inside Ruby our camper. Eclairs ?  Yes I know the last post I did was on eclairs-but they are so lovely and so special.  And they keep very well.  Now what could I do to make them even more special.  I started thinking about flavor combinations and after looking at a zillion eclair images on Google I thought -Creme Brulee ?  Why not,it's a pastry cream filling and I could torch the sugar at the campsite with little or no effort. And what a fabulous surprise it would be-sitting on the beach eating Creme Brulee eclairs to celebrate our good fortune and our being together !

These Creme Brulee Eclairs were definitely a challenge.  I knew the creme brulee pastry creme would be less firm than regular pastry creme .  I decided that I would slice the eclairs in half and fill them that way, rather than trying to fill them with a pastry bag .  My reasoning was that I was fearful that the torch to brulee the tops would melt the filling.  I should have been more fearful about burning the tops of the eclairs !  Since I had a rounded surface to work with, the sugar kept falling off . And the nooks and crannies associated with eclairs started to burn around the edges. I set quite a few on fire ! Trust me,burnt sugar and burnt pastry are not very tasty.

I decided I wasn't going to have a four alarm fire going inside Ruby down at the coast so I opted to finish these off at home.  And I opted to give up the torch and use my copper caramel making pot !  I burned a few finger tips while dipping the tops but we all have to make sacrifices-and well worth the pain for the taste. The creme brulee filling was creamy and tops were caramel crunchy.  Just like a spoonful of creme brulee with the added taste of crispy pastry.

I used my new go to recipe for eclairs from Tom Douglas's book: The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook.  His recipe produces perfect eclairs every single time ! And I used Joe Pastry's recipe for the creme brulee.  For the hard crack caramel topping I cooked 2 cups of sugar with 1/2 cup water over medium high heat until it turned a nice amber color-about 15 minutes.  Once you take the caramel away from the heat you have to work quickly because it's still cooking in your pot-be careful , it's extremely hot !  I dipped each top into the caramel very carefully.  After the caramel hardened I filled the other half of the eclair with the creme brulee filling and placed the two halves together-Voila !

Oh, I almost forgot to share with you the good fortune that came my way this week !  The HuffPost Taste Section used my photo of my Kouign Amann posting  from April 2011.  When I got the email from them I thought it was a scam or virus and almost didn't open it . So glad I did-that news was like the icing on the cake after our wonderful weekend ! Thank you Huffington Post !


mireia badia said...

WOOOOOW this looks amazing!!!

bellini said...

I am sure you enjoyed your trip Sandy,

Roadtrek Girl said...

Mireia, they are all gone ! So delicious.