The Sweetest Crumb

Eclairs with Bouchon

Hi friends!

A couple weeks ago I got the Bouchon Bakery book. I kept seeing it everywhere and was drawn to it (possibly because it was covered in plastic and I was oh so curious about what magical baking photos and recipes were inside). So I decided to just go ahead and order it through Amazon and boy was I excited when it arrived!

The first night I literally could not put the book down. I even read through all the beginning sections about how to measure ingredients and calibrate your oven (just in case).

For anyone not familiar with the book, it is a collaboration of several chefs and bakers who run the Bouchon bakeries in the US. Keller apprenticed in France so I think it’s fair to say a lot of the recipes have both a French and American influence. I love that the recipes they share are the same recipes they use in the bakeries. They also list exactly what brands of products they use so you can recreate the professional product at home. Having said that, a lot of the ingredients are fairly specialized, making them somewhat difficult to track down for the at-home baker.

Feeling ambitious, I had planned to make my first recipe from the Bouchon book on Sunday (this was before I realized how much wine would be consumed at the CA ball on Saturday night and how less than ideal I would feel on Sunday morning). But, since I spent a lot of time the week before tracking down exactly the right ingredients (70% cocoa Valrhona chocolate, neutral glaze…), I figured there was no sense in postponing the baking! So on Sunday, I made my first ever batch of eclairs!

Eclairs are made of pâte à choux (choux pastry) which is a high-moisture dough that releases steam when it bakes which makes the dough rise and puff out. Essentially, the inside should be mostly hollow, allowing you to fill them with cream (or other filling of your choice). I followed the Bouchon recipe to a T and filled mine with chocolate pastry cream and topped with shiny chocolate glaze.

For a first attempt at choux pastry, I think I did pretty good! In the end, the eclairs tasted great – a perfect, decadent chocolate flavour. However, I did run into a few difficulties along the way. To be honest, the first batch was somewhat disastrous. Despite adding exactly the right amount of egg (measured to the gram!), the batter was way too runny and the baked pastries were a flat failure. I immediately tried a second batch, adding less egg. This time the consistency of the batter was much thicker and held its shape when piped.

The pastry rose quite a bit this time.

However, I would still have liked the pastry to puff out more, leaving more hollow space inside for filling it with delicious chocolately goodness! I also noticed that some eclairs on each tray rose more than others so maybe the issue had to do with uneven heating in my oven. Since making the eclairs, I’ve gotten some tips that I wanted to pass along to you guys:

  • removing the eclairs from the oven early will cause them to collapse, ruining the hollowed out portion inside
  • the amount of egg to be added will vary depending on many factors (type of flour used, how long the dough is cooked before adding the eggs, etc.) so it is essential to add eggs based on the consistency of the dough and not purely based on the volume of eggs called for

The glaze and the pastry cream were flawless though. To make the glaze extra shiny, I followed Keller’s suggestion of using neutral glaze. Sadly, I could not find the neutral glaze in a volume smaller than 5kg, so I basically have a lifetime supply of glaze in my basement now. I’m willing to share should anyone want some :P

Overall, for a first attempt, I was very pleased with the outcome and can’t wait to try it again. I will share the recipe once it’s been perfected. Have you guys tried making choux pastry or are you thinking of trying it? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

11 comments on Eclairs with Bouchon

  1. A Canadian Foodie
    June 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm (2329 days ago)

    Don’t have time to comment on all of your posts – but had to stop here – as I am skimming through your entire site. Glad you enlarged your photos – I was going to write to you about that. Photos are key – BIG ones, a must, when blogging… and this is a triumph. You have had many! I love your aesthetic and can see were are so aligned in our interests and willingness to take risks with food. I have this cookbook, too – and haven’t made one recipe from it. :( My husband would go NUTS over these. Bravo! Am enjoying your site very much!
    V

    Reply
    • Genia Rodnyansky
      June 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm (2328 days ago)

      Thanks, Valerie! I’ve been enjoying the Bouchon Bakery book so much. Nothing I have made from it thus far has been especially quick to put together but the results are always completely worth the effort.

      Reply
  2. CJ
    August 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm (2252 days ago)

    Thx for posting. I have made the gougeres and they turned out fantastic. It was my first attempt at pate choux. I was ready to tackle the chocolate eclairs, but don’t know where to get the neutral glaze. I’ll take some off your hands!

    Reply
    • Genia Rodnyansky
      August 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm (2244 days ago)

      I bought the neutral glaze at a local specialty shop. I think the glaze just helps to achieve the right texture and shine but a regular ganache could easily be substituted :) Happy to hear the gougeres turned out great!

      Reply
      • Olive
        March 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm (2050 days ago)

        Hello Ms Rodnyansky, I have tried the same recipe. They were lovely but I did not have the neutral glaze. My ganache went dull after some hours in the fridge!!! I would be very grateful to you if you could tell me where to get the neutral glaze. (I live in Edmonton also.) You could send me an email if you prefer. Thank you very much.

        Reply
        • Genia Rodnyansky
          March 9, 2014 at 12:15 am (2050 days ago)

          Hi Olive, I purchased my neutral glaze at Qzina (https://www.qzina.com) in Edmonton. However, like I mentioned it comes in a very large pail, maybe 5-7kg. However, it doesn’t expire for a very long time so you are safe to keep it around for a while. I haven’t tried it myself, but it may be possible to use glucose instead of neutral glaze as it also has a nice sheen and acts as an anticrystalizer. Glucose is available in smaller quantities at the Duchess Provisions store in Edmonton. Good luck with the eclairs!

          Reply
          • Olive
            March 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm (2049 days ago)

            Thank you very much!

          • Olive
            March 13, 2014 at 5:28 pm (2045 days ago)

            Hello Ms Rodnyansky, I got a BIG pail from qzina. It is 14kg. They don’t carry the smaller pail anymore!!! I am going to make a LOT eclairs…

          • Genia Rodnyansky
            March 15, 2014 at 4:48 am (2044 days ago)

            Oh wow that is a big pail! Luckily it keeps really well. You can use the neutral glaze for glazing a lot of other things too, like tarts and fruit flans. Happy baking :)

          • Andre
            March 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm (2041 days ago)

            Hi, I got some neutral glaze from http://www.lepicerie.com, in a smaller 22oz size. I’m from Canada, but I ordered it while in the States. I don’t know what would be the mailing fees to Edmonton.
            To make it worthwhile, I ordered others things from Lepicerie at the same time, such as a 8oz order of Pistachio Paste and a 24oz pack of Dextrose/Glucose for the Madeleine cake recipe.

  3. ASMAE
    November 8, 2013 at 9:48 am (2171 days ago)

    I found your post because I was looking for the neutral glaze recipe. I do have the book but didn’t know it listed the recipe. Thanks!

    Reply

Leave a reply