Well, I'm finally back home after 4 months of being away. It's an odd feeling. Part of me feels like I never left and part of me feels like I've been away for ages. It took no time for me to jump back into my regular routine. The lady who owns the local grocery store that I used to go to all the time gave me a little bouquet of flowers when I went there to get groceries! My kitty hasn't left my side in the past few days. The guys at the Indian restaurant that my boyfriend go to every week were glad to see me again. It's always nice to feel missed.
I've already jumped right back into baking. I arrived home on Wednesday evening and was already baking by Friday morning. It's Sunday today and I've already got bread in the oven and a fall kouign amann proofing (stay tuned next week for that delicious recipe). I had a job interview yesterday and that night I made a wonderful roasted tomato soup. No down time for, I got right back into the game.
I'm always a bit reluctant to put pumpkin into everything around this time of year, simply because everyone else is doing it. You're being bombarded with pumpkin from all sides. Call me a hipster, but I like to be a bit different. I think this is only the second pumpkin recipe on this whole blog (the first being a pumpkin pie - how original). So bear with me for this one pumpkin post and that'll be it from me.
SInce I only do about one pumpkin recipe per year, I have to make it count. These éclairs are pretty special. A pumpkin pie pastry cream is lightened with whipped cream to create a pumpkin pie diplomat cream that is light and airy, but still full of pumpkin flavour without being dense and stodgy.
And as with any good pumpkin pie, it's topped with a big dollop of whipped cream. Except this whipped cream is flavoured with vanilla bean and cinnamon, just to make it that much more extra special. The flavours of pumpkin pie are all there, but in a pretty different way. Pumpkin pie is rich and dense while these are light and creamy. Both still taste like a good ol' pumpkin pie, though.
Pumpkin Pie Éclairs
Pate Choux for Éclairs
Recipe from Bouchon Bakery
175 g all-purpose flour
33 g sugar
240 g water
120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2.5 g salt
250 g eggs
Pumpkin Pie Pastry Cream
109 g milk
75 g heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
88 g brown sugar
264 g pumpkin puree
Pumpkin Pie Diplomat Cream
400 g pumpkin pie pastry cream
400 g heavy cream, whipped
Cinnamon Vanilla Chantilly
200 g heavy cream
50 g icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean
First, make the éclairs. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Make templates for your éclairs by taking two pieces of parchment and using a dark pen to make a line for the length of your éclairs. I made mine 5 inches long. Leave room between each line as the éclairs will expand as they bake. Once you have finished, flip the parchment over so the side with the pen markings is facing the sheet pan. This will ensure that you do not get pen on your éclairs.
Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl and stir to combine.
Combine the water, salt, and butter in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir as the butter melts. Do not start at too high a heat or some of the water will evaporate before the butter melts. Once the butter has melted, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat and, with a stiff heatproof or wooden spoon, stir in all the flour. Continue to stir for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture has a paste-like consistency, then place over medium heat and stir rapidly for 1 to 2 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean - the dough should be glossy and smooth but not dry.
Immediately transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low for about 30 seconds to release some of the moisture. Slowly begin adding the eggs, about 50 g at a time, beating until each addition is completely absorbed before adding the next one. Continue to add the eggs, reserving 25 g, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl when pulled with the paddle but then grabs back on again.
Increase the speed to medium and mix for 15 seconds to be all of the eggs are incorporated. Stop the mixer. When the paddle if lifted, the dough should form a bird's beak - it should hold its shape and turn down over itself but not break off. If the dough is too stiff, add the reserved egg.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a french tip. Chill the dough in the fridge until cold, about 1 hour.
Starting at the side of the parchment farthest from you, hold the tip of the pastry bag 3/4 inch above the parchment and apply gentle, steady pressure as you pipe the first éclair. When the éclair is about 5 inches ling, begin to lessen he pressure, and then stop it as you bring the dough back over itself, leaving a 1/2 inch curl at the end of the éclair. Pipe the remaining éclairs. Repeat with the second sheet. Wet your finger and press down on the tip of each éclair. Place the sheet pans in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 350 F. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the éclairs are beginning to brown; rotate the pans halfway through. Lower the temperature to 325 F and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Lower the temperature to 300 F and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the éclairs are light and feel hollow. If you break one open, the centre should be completely cooked. Set on a cooling rack and cool completely before filling.
For the pumpkin pie pastry cream, combine the milk and cream in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the cream. Place over medium heat.
Combine the egg yolks, cornstarch, salt, spices, and 44 g of the brown sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine.
When the milk mixture has come to a boil, slowly pour a small amount into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Continue tempering the yolks with the milk mixture, then transfer all of back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture has thickened, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook for another minute, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl set over an ice bath. Let the pumpkin pie pastry cream cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the 400 g of heavy cream to medium peaks. Add half of the whipped cream to the pumpkin pie pastry cream and fold in. Add the remaining half and fold in. Transfer to a piping bag with a small circular tip.
For the chantilly, combine the 200 g of heavy cream, icing sugar, cinnamon, and the seeds from half of a vanilla bean in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag with a medium circular tip.
Using a toothpick or a small piping tip, poke two 1/4 inch holes at each end of the éclairs, into the bottom of each éclair. Place the tip of the piping bag filled with pumpkin pie diplomat cream into one hole and apply gentle pressure to begin filling the éclair. Pipe as much cream as needed into the second hole until the éclair feels heavy. Repeat with the remaining éclairs.
Pipe the cinnamon vanilla chantilly on top of each eclair by holding the bag directly above the éclair and using even pressure to pipe a small puff, about 1 inch wide, onto the top of the éclair. Repeat with the remaining éclairs.