Feeling a little French with éclairs

img_4708As life gets busy and we are in full swing of our daily routines, I like to daydream that I am walking the streets of Paris munching on baguette, eating every flavor of Macaron that I come across and finishing my day with a perfectly filled éclairs.

Not so long ago, these oblong piped pastries were an old fashion and out of style treat from the past, but éclairs have made a comeback and I hope they are here to stay. Although we would all like to be walking the streets of Paris, éclairs can be made in your own home or have become a staple at several local bakeries to fill your craving.img_4698

The classic éclairs which dates back to the 19th century in France is made of pâte à choux, filled pastry cream and topped with a chocolate glaze but now they can also be found in the most indulgent and creative flavors to take you through each season.

pâte à choux, is a special dough made by cooking butter, water, milk and flour together and then beating the eggs in. The steam of the flour mixture and egg combination is what creates the light weight hollow pastry shell that is perfect to fill. Although, it has a fancy name and the process might be intimidating, don’t give up on making your own, it only gets easier.img_4688

As the pâte à choux is baking, your next step is pastry cream and this is where your flavor creations can come into play. Pastry cream is similar to a pudding base, combining milk, sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch cooking over a stove top until thick. If there are any specific flavors such as raspberry, peanut butter, coffee or pistachio, this is the time to add them in.img_4690img_4696

Finish these decadent pastries with only the best, chocolate! Dipping these cream filled shells into a chocolate glaze is the final step to this classic french pastry. Whether you are enjoying Eclairs for breakfast, brunch or dessert, the crisp shell and smooth cream filling will make all your hard work worth it.img_4724

éclairs
Yields 14
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pâte à choux
  1. 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  2. 1/2 Cup Water
  3. 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Cubed
  4. 1/2 tsp Sugar
  5. 1/4 tsp Salt
  6. 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  7. 5 Eggs, Room Temperature
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
  1. 2 Cups Whole Milk
  2. 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  3. 1 Vanilla Bean, Split and Scraped
  4. 4 Tbsp Cornstarch
  5. 5 Egg Yolks
  6. 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream, Whipped
Chocolate Glaze
  1. 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate or White Chocolate
  2. 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Softened
pâte à choux
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. In a medium saucepan combine milk, water, butter, sugar and salt
  3. Heat mixture until butter is melted and just starting to simmer
  4. Add flour into butter mixture and stir vigorously with a wood spoon until dough comes together and create a film on the bottom of the pan
  5. Transfer the dough to a mixer with paddle attachment and turn on medium speed
  6. Beat the dough on medium speed to release the steam from the dough, approximately 1 minute
  7. Slowly add eggs one at a time until the dough comes back together and has the texture of paste
  8. Transfer dough into a pastry bag with start tip and pipe into 4 inch long logs
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes and then turn oven to 375 degrees F for another 20 minutes or until golden brown
  10. Shut oven off and prop open the door and leave the pâte à choux shells in for another 5 minutes
  11. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely before filling or store in an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
  1. Combine milk, 1/2 of the sugar, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan placed over high heat
  2. Whisk together remaining sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks
  3. Once the milk has come to a simmer, whisking continuously slowly add 1/3 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper the eggs
  4. Return the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and continue whisking until pastry cream becomes thick and starts to bubble
  5. Remove the pastry cream from the heat, strain through a fine sieve, pour it into a shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface to prevent a skin forming
  6. Allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature before refrigerating
  7. Store in air tight container for up to 3 days if not using immediately
  8. Before filling the eclairs, fold whipped cream into pastry cream to lighten up the custard
Chocolate Glaze
  1. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl
  2. Whisk in butter into melted chocolate until smooth
Assembly
  1. Using small round pastry tip, poke 2 holes in the bottom of the pate a choux shell
  2. Fill pâte à choux shell with vanilla bean pastry cream
  3. Dip the top of the shell into melted dark chocolate glaze and garnish with white chocolate drizzle and gold leaf (optional)
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve
Flavor Options
Chocolate Peanut Butter
  1. Add 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter to the pastry cream once it is removed from the saucepan and still warm. Cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Continue following directions from above. Once the pate a choux is filled, dip the top of shell into dark chocolate glaze and sprinkle with unsalted peanuts for garnish.
Pistachio
  1. Add 1/4 cup pistachio paste to the pastry cream once it is removed from the saucepan and still warm. Cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Continue following directions from above. Once the pate a choux is filled, dip the top of shell into light green tinted white chocolate glaze and sprinkle with crushed pistachios for garnish.
Raspberry White Chocolate
  1. Add 1/4 cup raspberry puree to the pastry cream once it is removed from the saucepan and still warm. Cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Continue following directions from above. Once the pate a choux is filled, dip the top of shell into light pink tinted white chocolate glaze and garnish with fresh raspberries and white chocolate drizzle.
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

Retro Dessert Round Up

We are always longing for the newest and trendiest desserts, but it is the old time favorites that never fade away. Dust off your family recipes and bring back some vintage favorites to share for the holiday’s. Here is a blast from the past with five of my favorite retro desserts.

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Ambrosia
A spin on a traditional fruit salad, ambrosia brings a little sweetness to the mix. Ink Foods brings this old favorite back to life by combining fruit cocktail, pineapple, mandarin oranges, marshmallows, nuts and coconut to make this fruity salad. (See Recipe Below)

baked alaksa

Baked Alaska
A classic ice cream bomb layered over a cake flavor of your choice makes this an all time favorite. Keeping the ice cream frozen will be the key to cover the top in meringue and bake before serving.

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Jello Mold
An American classic, Jello can be found in a vast amount of old-time desserts including a classic Jello Mold. With so many flavor options for every season, this recipe must be brought back to stay. Combining peaches, peach jello and condensed milk is the perfect way to start. 

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Strawberry Chiffon Pie
Making its comeback from the 1920’s, a classic chiffon pie is made with a strawberries, egg whites and gelatin and filled in a graham cracker crust. This pie is light and fluffy and can also be made in a variety of flavors to satisfy your holiday cravings.

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake
A soft and crumbly cake, topped with caramelized pineapple and cherries will bring you back to your childhood. Quick and easy can be the theme for your holiday dessert baking and this cake will do the job.

Ambrosia
Yields 10
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Ingredients
  1. 8 oz cream cheese
  2. 2 cups sour cream
  3. 1 cup fruit cocktail, canned
  4. 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  5. 1 cup mandarin oranges
  6. 2 cups marshmallows
  7. shredded coconut, garnish
  8. chopped walnuts, garnish
  9. maraschino cherry, garnish
Instructions
  1. Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature before mixing with sour cream; stir until smooth
  2. Drain juice from fruit cocktail and mix into chopped pineapple and mandarin oranges before adding to cream cheese mixture
  3. Once fruit and cream cheese is combined, gently stir in marshmallows
  4. Spoon into serving dishes and top with shredded coconut, chopped walnuts and a maraschino cherry
  5. Refrigerated until ready to serve
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Recipes featured in Advocate Magazine November 2015 

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Lemon Shortbread

lemon 5It’s friday, YAY!  This was our back to school week and all went well, but I am excited for the weekend.  It is always interesting when summer is over and the routine comes back into our lives, but this year my oldest daughter started kindergarten and I might be feeling the emotion much more than she is :)  So, we are thankful for a great week, but going to celebrate the weekend with these perfectly tangy lemon shortbread cookies.  Hope you have a great weekend!lemon 2lemon 1lemon 3

Lemon Shortbread Cookies
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Cookie
  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  3. 1 cup granulated sugar
  4. 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  7. 2 Tbsp lemon juice
Lemon Icing
  1. 2 cups powdered sugar
  2. 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  3. (more or less depending on how thick you want the glaze)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl
  3. Cream sugar and shortening with a paddle until light and fluffy
  4. Add egg, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until combined
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients until fully incorporated
  6. Scoop into 3/4 ounce dough balls
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown
  8. Once cookies are cooled combine powdered sugar and lemon juice to make the glaze (add more or less powdered sugar, depending on how thick you want it)
  9. Add a small amount of icing to the top of each cookie and garnish with lemon zest
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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Pumpkin Ginger Spice Bundt

SONY DSCAs we enter into November (my favorite month of the year…My birthday Month!) I am still feeling the love for pumpkin…I don’t think that ever goes away.  I have officially made this bundt cake to many times, but my girls love it, my husband loves it and it is the perfect cake to bring to someones house or an office to celebrate fall!  It has a moist texture, strong flavors of cinnamon and ginger and the creamy cream cheese glaze, a great breakfast, snack or dessert!SONY DSC

With a little batter left over, it made the perfect mini muffins tossed in cinnamon sugar. I hope you enjoy and Happy November!SONY DSCSONY DSC

Pumpkin Ginger Spice Bundt
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups sugar
  2. 1 cup vegetable oil
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 2/3 cup water
  5. 1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
  6. 2 tsp ground ginger
  7. 1 tsp allspice
  8. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  9. 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  10. 2 tsp baking soda
  11. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  12. 1/2 tsp baking powder
Instructions
  1. 1. In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth
  2. 2. Add water to egg mixture
  3. 3. Add in pumpkin puree, ginger, cinnamon and allspice
  4. 4. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a bowl
  5. 5. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix until combined
  6. 6. Pour batter into a bundt pan 3/4 full (depending on the size of your pan there might be a little batter remaining that will make the perfect mini muffins!)
  7. 7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  8. 8. Allow the cake to stick for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan
  9. 8. Once the cake is cooled, dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with cream cheese glaze (see recipe below)
  10. 9. Serve or store in an airtight container
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Spiced Cream Cheese Glaze
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Ingredients
  1. 4 ounce cream cheese
  2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  3. 3 tbsp milk, plus more if needed
  4. pinch of cinnamon
  5. pinch of ginger
Instructions
  1. 1. cream together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until all lumps are gone
  2. 2. add in milk until you have the desired texture
  3. 3. add in ground cinnamon and ginger
  4. 4. drizzle over bundt cake
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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