Chestnut Cream Eclairs
We hosted Christmas dinner this year. John’s family came over for a couple of days and his mom cooked a very festive dinner as she does every year. Last year’s dinner was chocolate themed, a couple of years ago it was all Star Trek. I cooked dinner the first night they arrived. I made mustard chicken with couscous and a simple cucumber salad.
And of course there had to be dessert. I made chestnut cream puffs.
There aren’t any left. I guess everybody loves cream puffs. They are true crowd pleasers. And who wouldn’t love tiny airy pastries filled with creamy goodness!
The next best thing to having marrons glacés for Christmas is probably the Clément Faugier chestnut spread. It tastes exactly like pureed candied chestnuts. I bought it for myself as a Christmas gift and decided I should make something with it for everybody to enjoy. It is already sweetened and flavored with vanilla so all it needed was a quick whipping with mascarpone to make a lovely filling for the éclairs.
Ever made pâte à choux? It may sound like a fancy French word but it is very approachable. This recipe is so easy and great to keep handy for making those dainty choux à la crème (round, cabbage-shaped puffs), éclairs (oblong puffs), gougères, croquembouches and much much more.
Eclairs may not be Moroccan but I’ve had some of the best ones in Morocco. They are practically sold in every pastry shop; some are better than others but they are good in general. Eclairs from here and here are particularly excellent.
CHESTNUT CREAM ECLAIR RECIPE
Yield: 24 MINI PASTRIES
Prep Time: 30 MIN
Cook Time: 30 MIN
Pâte à choux
1 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 large eggs
Chestnut Mascarpone Filling
¾ cup chestnut spread (crème de marrons)
2/3 cup mascarpone
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a large baking sheet.
The pâte à choux
Bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir well. Lower the heat.
Stir in the flour and keep stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until you obtain a thick mass of dough that detaches from the sides of the pan. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and let cool 5 minutes.
With the paddle attachment on, add the eggs, one at a time, and work the dough until it looks like thick, sticky cake batter. This should take 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag or Ziploc bag and pipe 2-inch rounds or logs onto the prepared pan, leaving 2 inches between puffs.
Bake the puffs 25 to 35 minutes, or until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped or shaken. The best way may be to test taste one to make sure it is not dough-ey in the middle. For me, getting perfectly golden and hollow puffs took exactly 32 minutes.
Let the puffs cool to room temperature on a rack before filling them.
To make the filling, simply stir the chestnut spread and mascarpone well in a medium bowl until you obtain a light brown cream.
Cut the puffs in half lengthwise using a serrated knife. Fill one half with the filling using a spoon. Place the other half on top.
To make the glaze, heat up the butter and milk over medium heat in a small saucepan until melted. Reduce heat to low, add the chopped chocolate and whisk until melted. Remove from heat.
Glaze the top half of the puffs with the chocolate glaze. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.