Monday, April 6, 2015

Secret Recipe Club: Lemon Eclairs

It's time again to celebrate Spring with another edition of the Secret Recipe Club.  What's this?  It's a group of bloggers who get together and are assigned a blog in secret, then choose a recipe to make, and all reveal what we've made from each other's blogs at the same time.  Fun, right?  I so enjoy getting the email every month with the blog that I am to stalk and choose something to make for the first Monday of the month.
This month, I was assigned the blog Casa Costello.  Helen is from England, has 3 gorgeous girls, and bakes.  A lot.  She has beautiful cakes.  I considered a wide variety of cupcakes and desserts before settling on these lovelies.  Things like Marshmallow Brownie Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes, or this Walnut and Coffee Battenburg Cake.  Everything looked lovely!  I'll have to come back and make more!!
The nice thing about reveal day is that it's right after Easter.  I volunteered to bring dessert with me to my mom's for Easter - more people to help eat up what I've made!  Lemon always makes me think of Spring, and these are delicately lemon.  Just perfect for a light dessert after too much other good food.
In the tradition of all good SRC recipes, this one took me out of my comfort zone by tackling something I've never made before:  choux paste.  While choux sounds crazy simple, I've never had reason, nor been brave enough to try my hand at making it.  It is dead simple, and worked out lovely.
Helen, I read your recipe, and then turned to You Tube to make sure I got it right.  The recipe is more Tante Marie's, but the filling and ganache are all yours!  Thanks for a lovely Easter dessert!
I present to you now from Casa Costello, Lemon Eclairs:

For the Dough:1/2 c butter
1 c water
1 c flour
4 eggs, slightly beaten

For the filling:1 c whipping cream
The zest of 2-3 lemons
1/4 c sugar

For the Ganache:100g white chocolate
4 Tbsp whipping cream

1.  Make the dough:  In a heavy bottomed pan, melt water and butter together.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and add flour all at once.  Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together in a ball that resembles mashed potatoes.  Let cool slightly and beat eggs.  Slowly add eggs to the dough, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition of eggs until it is all incorporated, and the dough sticks to the pan.
2.  Preheat the oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spoon 3 heaping spoonfuls into fingers of dough.  Do not press down, but smooth the tops slightly.  Put pan in the oven and increase temperature to 425F.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the eclairs are golden and crispy.  Turn off the oven, remove pan, and pierce the side of each eclair with a knife.  Return to oven for 10 minutes, to dry the interiors.  Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely.
3.  Make the filling:  Beat cream with sugar and zest.  Split eclairs open and spoon a generous amount of cream inside.
4.  Make the ganache:  In a small bowl, melt chocolate and cream together.  Stir well until a spreading consistency.  Spread over the tops of the pastries.
 From Casa Costello, with choux advice from Mary Risley of Tante Marie's Cooking School

So you start with water and butter, bring to a boil and add flour.
What you end up with looks like mashed potatoes!  J said to me as I was making this that he'd be too intimidated to try.  But that's really the fun in it, isn't it?
Then add your beaten eggs and beat like mad.  Helen used electric beaters.  That's smart.  I thought of that about halfway through adding the eggs, and decided there was no point in changing tactics now...I just should have started some other way.
They were easy to put down on parchment.  I probably didn't smooth as much as I should have.  They ended up looking rather...rustic.
See?  Rustic, but gorgeous.  They rose beautifully.  I will now say that choux is easy to make and use.  But not loudly, because it's impressive.
Filled and glazed.  Aren't they pretty?  Perfect for Easter.  Thanks Helen!


  1. I love eclairs, but also have been a bit scared about making them. The lemon twist in these are fantastic! Great job and great pick for this month's SRC.

  2. So pretty! I don't think I've ever had lemon-flavored eclairs, that sounds SO delicious! :)

  3. I love lemon, and these look amazingly good! I made cream puffs once, and I have this memory of it being harder than this. Maybe I should have used the electric mixer to mix the eggs in, too? I may just have to give it another try and make some of these. Soon.

  4. Oh bless you for saying such lovely things about my baking. I knew you had my blog as soon as I saw the photo of the eclairs. So pleased you enjoyed them - you did a great job. Fair play to you for doing the mixing by hand - a braver cook than I! x

  5. Lemon Eclairs sound FANTASTIC!! Good for you making this recipe and challenging yourself to making Pate au Choux for the very first time. I too want to learn how to make eclairs as I have yet to make them - now you have given me the encouragement to do it! Thank you :-)

  6. Wow - these sound and look gorgeous - nice work.

  7. Oh wow! Those look amazing!

  8. Congrats on getting the award of Most Popular Recipe for this Reveal Day! Awesome!

    Sally, waving from Group D...