Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chocolate Éclairs ... sorta

Today's post is mixed bag.  

I'm happy to report I'm now officially a Daring Baker, having held up my right hand and swearing on a bag of sugar not to divulge the monthly challenges before the designated reveal dates.  And today, I completed my first Daring Baker Challenge.


Unfortunately, my results fell flat.  Literally.

Backing up a bit, let me explain that the challenge for this month was to bake Chocolate Éclairs.  (Yum!)  But when I had a look at a traditional recipe for Pâte à Choux (the puff pastry used in éclairs) I knew I was in for some seriously creative baking.  All the eggs in traditional choux pastry provide puffy layers and lots of lift.  Although I've got mad skills replacing eggs in traditional baking, I was a little stumped as to how I was going to get the same results from such an egg-reliant recipe.

Chocolate Éclairs
Originally uploaded by Marni Molina
I decided to try a vegetarian donut recipe, pipe the dough, and bake it instead of frying it.  It tasted great, but it never rose.  Nary a puff or fluff was to be had, no matter what sort of kitchen chemistry I tried.  I would have attempted it again, but in usual Marni-form, I was cocky and waited until the last possible day to attack this challenge.  Additionally, this weekend I'm baking for my first birthday party job: 2 pizza cakes and 4 dozen cupcakes employing 4 different cake flavors and 4 different frostings/icings.  So I didn't have time.  (No worries, pics of all the other goodies I baked will be posted soon.)

I decided to go ahead and use my little lady-finger looking, flat-but-fabulous creations and topped them with a chocolate glaze.  I then filled them with a banana crème and called 'em done.

So now, I'm choking on the gauntlet that is vegan pâte à choux.  I've got to find or create a recipe that works.  A recipe that yields light and puffy layers of pastry goodness.  I've also learned that I'm not the baking rock star I thought I was, and next month I won't wait 'til the last minute to start working on the Daring Bakers Challenge.

Despite my baking bust, however, I had lots of fun.  I learned.  I baked.  I ate.  So it's not a total loss by any stretch.  Bring on the next challenge!


Em said...

Welcome to the DBers! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

Have a delicious day!!

Dragon said...

This was also my first DB challenge. I had a great time and between you, me and the internet, I had to make the choux pastry twice. The first batch fell flat also. :) I'm glad you had a good time and I can't wait to see your next entry.

BitterSweet said...

Don't worry, you weren't the only one who had eclairs that fell flat... ;) They still look great, and you made a wonderful effort for your first challenge!

Natalie... said...

Yeh quite a few of mine deflated as well.
I still think yours look gorgeous though and the banana pastry cream sounds delish!!

Anne said...

I'm so impressed by those of you who are daring enough to go alternative. That's *really*
a challenge! Very welcome to the Daring Bakers! :)

Princess-R-Us said...

Flat or not they still look delicious!

Mcwhisky said...

Yummy looking eclairs you've made. Good job!

Cristine said...

Congrats on your first DB challenge! Looks good!

Candace said...

Congrats on your first challenge! I'm impressed that these are vegan... they look great.

Lunch Buckets said...

Good luck on your quest! And welcome to the group :)

Marni said...

Thanks for the kind words and the warm welcome to the Daring Bakers everyone!

Aw, shucks. :::kicks dirt::: I feel all warm and fuzzy. :)