Oh, happy day. A week or two ago, I received a review copy of a new book by pastry chef Christophe Adams, entitled simply... Éclairs! This book is gorgeous. It's even more beautiful than a museum exhibition book.
And happily, the publisher was willing to let me publish and excerpt from the book right here on CakeSpy. I chose one of the prettiest specimens in the book, pistachio orange eclairs. I am a true pistachio enthusiast, so these look like heaven to me. And while they are time consuming, it doesn't seem like they're impossible to make. I feel empowered!
Anyhow, here's the recipe. If you feel so inclined, I think this book is well worth the purchase price; check it out here.
Pistachio Orange Éclairs
Makes 10 classic éclairs
- Day 1: 1 hour
- Day 2: 2 hours
- • Fine-mesh sieve
- • Food processor
- • Fine-tooth grater or citrus zester
- • Instant-read thermometer
- • Immersion blender
- • Stand mixer
- • 2 metal spacers (1⁄16 inch/ 2 mm), optional
- • Fine-mesh sieve
- • Rolling pin
- • Large offset palette knife
- • Cardstock, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) larger than éclair
- • Wide, flat pastry brush
- • Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)
- 1⁄2 cup shelled unsalted raw pistachio nuts (60 g) 125 mL
- 2 tsp grapeseed oil 10 mL
- 3⁄4 tsp unflavored gelatin powder 3 mL
- 21⁄2 tsp cold water 12 mL
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp whole milk 265 mL
- 1 orange 1
- 1 large egg yolk 1
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar (40 g) 45 mL
- 2 tbsp cornstarch 30 mL
- 1 tbsp pistachio paste (recipe above) 15 mL
- 1⁄3 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes (80 g) 75 mL
- 1⁄2 batch Choux Pastry (NOTE: Recipe below)
- 41⁄2 oz almond paste, cut into cubes 130 g
- 2 tsp pistachio paste (recipe above) 10 mL
- Green food coloring
- Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
Sparkling green glaze
- 1 cup clear glaze (200 g) 250 mL
- Green food coloring powder
- 1 tbsp gold shimmer dust or luster dust 15 mL
Assembly and decoration
- Additional clear glaze
- Candied orange peel, cut into cubes (about 50)
1 PISTACHIO PASTE
1. Place pistachios on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, until slightly brown in the center. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
2 & 3. Once cool, transfer pistachios to food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until ground to a fine powder. Reserve about 1 tbsp (15 mL) for decoration and set aside.
4 & 5. Add oil to remaining ground pistachios and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2 PISTACHIO CREAM
In a small bowl, stir together gelatin and cold water. Set aside.
1 & 2. In a saucepan, bring milk to a boil over medium heat, grating zest from orange into milk as it heats. Remove from heat and cover with plastic wrap. Let steep for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, combine egg yolk, sugar and cornstarch.
4. Whisk until mixture is creamy and thick.
5. Pour steeped milk through fine-mesh sieve into egg mixture; discard zest.
6. Return to saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.
7. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
8 & 9. Place 1 tbsp (15 mL) pistachio paste into a heatproof bowl. Pour hot custard over pistachio paste and whisk until completely incorporated.
10, 11 & 12. Let cool to 104°F (40°C). Using immersion blender, gradually incorporate butter, blending after each addition, until smooth and shiny. Transfer to a shallow dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, for up to 1 day.
4 PISTACHIO-ALMOND PASTE
1. In stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cubed almond paste until smooth.
2 & 3. While mixing, add enough green food coloring to turn paste bright green. Add 2 tsp (10 mL) pistachio paste. Mix until smooth, adding more food coloring if necessary to achieve desired color.
4. Sprinkle a clean work surface with confectioners’ sugar. If using, place two spacers parallel to each other, about 8 inches (20 cm) apart. Place prepared paste between spacers and sprinkle with a little more confectioners’ sugar to keep it from sticking.
5. Using rolling pin, roll out paste to about 1⁄16 inch (2 mm) thick.
6. Remove spacers, if necessary, and carefully slide offset palette knife underneath sheet of paste to loosen it from work surface.
7. Make a template: Trace an oblong shape slightly smaller than your éclairs onto cardstock, then cut out. Place the template on top of rolled-out paste and cut out 10 oblongs.
5 SPARKLING GREEN GLAZE
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat clear glaze until smooth and no lumps remain. Add just enough food coloring to turn glaze deep green. Remove from heat.
2 & 3. Add gold shimmer dust. Using immersion blender, blend until smooth. Set aside at room temperature.
Using a 1⁄4-inch (0.5 cm) round piping tip, pierce 3 evenly spaced holes in base of each éclair.
Place piping tip in pastry bag, if desired. Using a spatula, fill pastry bag with prepared pistachio cream. Fill each éclair, inserting a small quantity of cream in each hole. Using a small knife, remove excess cream.
1. Warm a small amount of clear glaze in microwave just until fluid. Using pastry brush, coat one side of each piece of pistachio-almond paste.
2. Place a piece of paste, glazed side down, on each éclair, pressing down lightly on edges of paste to help it stick to the éclair.
3. Warm prepared sparking green glaze in microwave, if necessary to thin. Dip the top of each éclair in glaze.
4. Remove excess glaze by brushing lightly with pastry brush.
5. Decorate each éclair with a row of candied orange peel cubes bordered by a little reserved pistachio powder. Let stand until glaze is set.
Makes 11⁄2 lbS (750 g) pastry
Enough for 20 classic éclairs, 50 small éclairs or 120 miniature éclairs
Preparation time: 30 minutes
• Large baking sheet(s), lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat
• Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
- 2⁄3 cup water 150 mL
- 2⁄3 cup whole milk 150 mL
- 13⁄4 tsp pure vanilla extract 8 mL
- 11⁄2 tsp granulated sugar 7 mL
- 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (160 g) 175 mL
- 3⁄4 tsp salt 3 mL
- 1 cup + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour (160 g) 295 mL
- 5 large eggs, beaten (approx.)
OTHER THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine water, milk, vanilla, sugar, butter and salt.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
3. Remove from heat. Add flour.
4. Using a wooden spoon, stir until flour is completely incorporated and dough pulls away from sides of pan, leaving sides of pan fairly clean.
5. Return pan to medium-low heat. Cook dough, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and forms a ball. (Heating the dough like this helps to “dry it out” so you end up with a uniform mixture that is not too moist.)
6. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Gradually add just enough egg to make a glossy, firm dough, while beating well with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula—this is essential for the pastry to turn out well.
7. The dough will be very smooth and hold its shape.
PIPING AND BAKING ÉCLAIRS
1. Using bowl scraper or spatula, transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 3⁄4-inch (2 cm) star tip. On prepared baking sheet(s), pipe pastry dough into oblong shapes, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart (they will expand as they bake): Classic éclairs: 51⁄4 by 1 inch (13 by 2.5 cm); Small éclairs: 21⁄2 by 3⁄4 inch (6 by 1.5 cm); Miniature éclairs: 2 by 1⁄2 inch (5 by 1 cm).
2. Bake one sheet at a time, in preheated oven until evenly puffed and golden brown and they feel hollow: Classic éclairs: 35 minutes; Small éclairs: 30 minutes; Miniature éclairs: 25 minutes. Do not open oven door while baking, or éclairs will collapse. At the end of baking, turn oven off, open oven door about 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) and let cool for 15 minutes (they will continue to brown slightly) to let steam escape and prevent éclairs from cracking. Transfer to racks to cool completely.
Image credit: Rina Nurra