Monday, December 14, 2009

Chocolate Eclairs

These are the things I know about Chocolate Eclairs: one of my brothers likes them, they are messy, they are served chilled, and the custard reminds me of what I believe liposuctioned fat looks like (my only knowledge of what liposuctioned fat looks like comes from the movie BASEketball - so I think it's a pretty accurate image). Especially when it squeezes out the butthole of the eclair with the first bite. And it always does.

So I've never been the biggest fan of Chocolate Eclairs. There, I said it. Close your dramatically dropped jaws. I can already feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I've been carrying around that baggage since childhood. But since I don't really like eating things after I've baked them anyways, I didn't see a problem. Other people like Eclairs. Plus, there's always the possibility that I'd like them more after making them...

RECIPE TIME!! I found my recipe at - duhhz - and you can find it right here. Follow along, take notes, visualize pure fat, and get your custard game face on. People are watching, you know. (Just me. I'm watching you. Right now. ps - you're cute in an eclair sort of way.)

This recipe has 4 different parts (recipe duration: one lifetime) which means I had 4 totally unique opportunities to seriously do things wrong. Call me opportunistic. Seriously. I hate my other nicknames. Plus I reach for the stars, kid.

First up was the filling recipe. This involved boiling milk. Opportunity #1!!

I have a thing for burning the life out of milk. I stop paying attention and BOOM brown milk crust on the bottom of the saucepan. Then there's the heavy sigh that always follows, the downward glance at my kitchen floor, and the agonizing saucepan sponge scraping that I (my mother) must endure.

Well, I have good news mom, no burnt milk! I know, I know, three cheers for Molly. A hero's welcome, I'm sure, is in store for me where ever I go. But seriously, I was excited. Even though the not burnt milk still looked like this:

vanilla bean I love you, but you're bringing my warm milk down

I soldiered on because vanilla bean wasn't going to make me cry any more tears that's what I'm most awesome at. Next up was whipping the egg yolks, sugar, corn starch, and warm milk and vanilla bean mixture together until they were light and fluffy and fearful of my awe-inspiring wrath. Done and done!

More stuff happened and once I was all done stirring and cooling I put Jabba the Hutt the custard filling (there is a striking resemblance, right? I was worried the custard might force me to be its slave girl any second) in the fridge to cool for a couple hours. Mostly for my own safety.

next time, I wanna make something that resembles a Wookie

On to round two! The pastry recipe!

I guess since the custard is so painfully sweet, the pastry must be painfully not sweet. And painfully not sweet it is. Quote of the evening from my mother upon tasting the batter: "Ew." I mean, I wouldn't go quite that far. Granted she thought she was sampling the custard and was maybe just half-surprised - but still. Ew was a little harsh. It's just pastry dough for the sake of pastry dough. And it only tastes a little bit like warm human flesh. (honest.)

This part of the recipe was my favorite part for this reason:
"Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe fat lengths of dough (about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog) onto the lined baking sheet..."
Gale Gand, creator of this recipe, I'm transferring my mother's earlier "ew" to your yuckcount. (get it? like a bank? hm?) Seriously, girl, that's a terrible idea. Everyone knows that the only dessert jumbo hot dogs worth their weight in inappropriate-food-reference-gold are the solid chocolate ones that sit in marshmallow buns. Get with the times, Gale Gand, and one more time: Ew.

Side Note: I am terrible at making fat lengths of dough in the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog. Maybe it's because I didn't have an appropriate pastry bag. Maybe it's out of principle.

I'll never be a street pastry jumbo hot dog vendor

Off to the oven went these semi-phallic, freshly coated with their recipe part three egg wash shine.

Hey - so now's as good a time as ever to tell you this. The truth is, I disastered this recipe. Straight up. Here's the proof:


this one has bunny ears. bunny ears.

Shit just don't look right. Like, on so many levels. Like, especially on the bunny ears level. Clearly, my downfall was the hot dog formation. I could have quit, you know. Right there. Done. But I'm the type who cries when throwing out already-made custard not a quitter!

Of course, there really wasn't enough custard to fill them up in a delicious manner (of course). Figures. However, the chocolate glaze did a good job of hiding the misshapen forms. Which is really just a sad plus when you think about it. They taste like eclairs, by the way. But they are still misshapen. And I am still disappointed.


TASTE: 3/5 > Honestly, they taste pretty okay. I mean, I still don't really care for eclairs so my opinion means about as much as my dog's opinion (so I guess a lot?) but it's just not enough to change my mind about eclairs. Sorryz.
EASE: 3/5 > despite the awful that I created, it really wasn't that hard to do. I mean, all I had to do was make a jumbo hot dog shaped pastry thinger. And I failed at that. But it's not even hard - to some people...I guess.
FILTH OF KITCHEN: 5/5 > Pig sty. Chocolate glaze everywhere. Custard in places I'd like to keep out of conversation. Sadness all over the walls.
DID THE DOG EAT IT THE DOUGH: You know what, the dogs were more interested in the cat than in my baking. It's like they don't even appreciate me!
IMPRESS-O-METER: 3/5 > So much potential. I'm pretty sure though it's the eclair with the bunny ears that brought me down. That and how ridiculous they all look, of course.