Hi! Hello! How are you all today? I hope Valentine’s Day was filled with plenty of chocolate regardless of your relationship status, and you’ve gotten all caught up on Grammy’s drama, and did I mention, Leap Day is almost here! How does one celebrate Leap Day? Do I wear green and eat a giant cheeseburger because the calories don’t count on a day that doesn’t always exist, right?
Roy cooked us dinner for Valentine’s Day! I swear, I have no idea when or how our roles switched. When we first started dating, he’d make dinner all the time and now it’s like a grand event when he cooks us a meal. Though it was a good one, to be fair. We ate teriyaki short ribs, grits with buttermilk and manchego, brussel sprouts, and pb and cream cheese cookies. It a little amusing but mostly heart-warming to watch him bake cookies, since it’s really the last thing he knows how to make. I’m forever remembering how he walked over to the flour shelf and asked “what’s AP Flour?” with such a confused face and I couldn’t stop giggling about it.
But anywhooo, I’m sure you’re all way more curious about what’s happening with these Eclairs! First of all, one of my favorite parts about blogging is getting to meet wonderful food people in person, though most of you are still internet friends (for now)! Alana is one of the first people I’ve met IRL, and this week I got to hang with her and Vienna and make Eclairs filled with the dreamiest Lilikoi pastry cream around.
Here are 5 things I learned:
1. Four arms are better than two. Did someone mention, tempering?
2. Dying marzipan black (or yellow) is dangerous stuff.
3. How to dirty less dishes in the kitchen! 😀
4. Lilikoi juice is gorgeous and makes an amazing pastry cream. It’s the truth.
5. Oh, and thin Oreos are amazing. AMAZING. And Alana was so sweet to send me home with a little baggy full as well as perfectly wrapped up Eclairs to take home too!
I love getting in the kitchen with friends. It makes the time fly by so quickly and you can laugh and chat and share the same love for food and great dish towels and other awesome miscellaneous kitchen gadgets. Not to mention you have an extra set of hands on deck, which, let me tell you, was so helpful when tempering that pastry cream.
But Eclairs? Yes. Eclairs! Despite choux not being all too difficult to whip up, there are things that can definitely go wrong in the process and we learned a few tips to getting a successful Eclair. The recipe knocks out the small things to keep in mind like making sure you cook the choux long enough after adding in the flour and the importance of piping with a star tip. But the most important thing for us was that you need to get all the air out of your piping bag and make sure all the dough’s been moved around well and good before piping it. Squish that dough around a bit once transferred to a piping bag and that should help with avoiding any cracking in your shells.
Though I’ve laid out a few do’s and don’ts, don’t stress too much over Eclairs! As much as the perfectionist in me wanted everything about these Eclairs to be by the book, at the end of the day the most important thing was that they tasted amazing (Roy finished most of his) and I had the best time hanging with a super wonderful human!
Lilikoi (Passionfruit) Eclairs | The Choux + Marzipan Bees!
Adapted from Iron Whisk. Recipe makes about 10 Eclairs.
for the choux:
75g unsalted butter, room temperature
5g granulated white sugar
100g bread flour
150g eggs (about 3), at room temperature and lightly beaten
icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Heat on medium until the butter has melted and the mixture begins to simmer.
3. Remove from the heat and add in the flour. With a wooden spoon, stir until the flour has been completely incorporated. If you haven’t started to sweat a little, keep stirring! Bring the dough back onto the stove and continue to stir at medium heat for about 2 minutes. If using a metal pan, you should start to see a film forming at the bottom.
4. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the dough on low for a minute or two to release some of the heat and cool it down before adding the eggs. With the mixer running on low, add half of the lightly beaten eggs until fully incorporated into the dough. Add the second half of the eggs and continue to beat until a cohesive dough forms. You’ll want to make sure the eggs are very well incorporated before continuing. You can tell by wetting your finger with water and dragging it through the batter. If your finger leaves an open channel that does not fall in on itself and a peak when you lift your finger, the choux should be ready.
5. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. The more teeth the tip has, the better. Pipe the shells out to about 4 inches long and 2 inches apart from each other. Dust with icing sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes until they are a dark golden brown. Immediately after removing from the oven, use a knife to cut a small slit in the bottom of each shell and transfer to a wire rack. This helps to release the steam and prevent the Eclair from collapsing as it cools. Let the Eclairs cool completely before piping in the pastry cream.
for the Bees:
yellow and black food dye
1. Knead your marzipan until pliable. Die two separate lumps of marzipan yellow and black, keep some marzipan as is. Roll out all three marzipan colors on a flat surface.
2. Use a round icing tip to cut out yellow, black, and plain marzipan circles. Stick two yellow circles and two black circles together in alternating order (black, yellow, black yellow). For the head, roll a small amount of yellow marzipan into a ball and add it to the black end of the bee’s body. Use your finger to lightly roll the bee back and forth on a flat surface. This helps to get a consistent shape and gets the black and yellow layers to stick together.
3. Use a toothpick to pinch the ends of one of the plain marzipan circles together. You’ll need two for the wings. Stick each next to each other on the bee’s body. Repeat the process to create as many bee’s as desired.