Recipes that have a story to tell are my favorite recipes. That’s definitely the case for these black forest eclairs. The reason for me making eclairs after a while again was because a blogger colleague of mine named Julia (her German blog is called Julia bakes) was hospitalized and eager to eat some proper eclairs. Obviously the hospital didn’t provide such a treat so Julia asked if anyone was willing to bake her some. Since I live in the same city and had some time off before starting to work again, I volunteered. Baking eclairs for her reminded me of the fact that my husband is a huge lover of eclairs. For that reason I have been whipping up eclairs more regularly again. These black forest eclairs are definitely one of my favorite flavor combinations.
I do admit that eclairs take a while, but the good thing is you can prepare the cherry filling in advance. Since these eclairs are based on the famous black forest cake, I added chocolate shavings to the whipped cream. So imagine an eclair filled with lots of delicious cherry filling, topped off with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and then being dipped in chocolate ganache. Sounds like music to my ears.
Choux pastry, the dough the ecalirs are made with, is not difficult to make. I honestly don’t know why so many people are intimidated by it. If you ask me, I find it easier than working with than yeast. What you should keep in mind when preparing choux pastry? Do NOT open the oven door while they are baking. The eggs need a consistant environment, so don’t be tempted to check and open the door. Just like cheese cake, choux pastry likes a humid environment, so my little trick is to put a container with water on the bottom of the oven. And secondly, you need to be sure to bake them long enough. The outside should be crunchy and the elcairs easy to cut through. That way it will be easier also to hold up all the filling and for them to stay fresh longer.
The ony part that is a little tricky is knowing how many eggs you need to add to the dough. But if you have a glossy dough that is pipepable, you got the right consistency and boy, I can tell you that home-made and from scratch eclairs are simply the best. A light and fluffy dough which is filled with cherries and complemented by whipped cream with chocolate shavings and chocolate ganache, I don’t know what else to ask for. Are you going to give these beauties are try?
- 250 grams of water
- A pinch of salt
- 50 grams of butter
- 150 grams of all-purpose flour
- 3-5 eggs, size M at room temperature
- Cherry Filling
- 1 can of cherries of 800 grams
- 50 grams of regular sugar
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 25 grams of tapioca starch or cornstarch
- Whipped Cream
- 300 grams heavy cream
- 25 grams of regular sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, see here how to make your own
- 100 grams of chocolate shavings
- Chocolate Ganache
- 100 grams of heavy cream
- 100 grams of semi-sweet chocolate
For the eclairs heat water, salt and butter in a pot and let the butter melt completely. Change temperature to low and add all the flour at once while still stirring. Stir until a ball forms. Be sure to move the ball around for about one or two minutes, there should be a thin white layer on the bottom of the pot. Move dough ball to a bowl and let cool off.
Add first egg. Beat in one egg at a time. First the dough will appear crumbly. Depending on the size of the eggs, you will have to beat in between 3-5 eggs. The right consistency is reached if the dough slowly drops off a spoon and looks glossy.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius and place a large ovenproof container with water on the bottom of your oven. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and pipe stripes of about 2 centimeters in width and 12 cm in length on the baking sheet. Leave space between each as they will puff considerably. You can wet your fingers with some water to smooth away any inconsistencies. Bake eclairs on medium rack for 10min, reduce temperature to 180 and bake for another 15-20min. The crust should be a little darker and crunchy. Do NOT open the oven door as otherwise the eclairs will shrink. Cut eclairs in half while still warm.
For the cherry filling drain cherries while keeping the juice. Take about have the juice and bring to a boil with sugar and lemon juice. Stir tapioca starch with some water until you see no lumps. Once the juice is boiling, add the tapioca and stir for about one to two minutes, until it become thick. Add the cherries and set aside.
For the whipping cream whip the cream with all ingredients except for the chocolate shavings for about four minutes or until stiff. Fold in chocolate shavings.
For the chocolate ganache heat the heavy cream, once almost boiling, take off heat and add chocolate in chunks. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
Spoon cherry filling on the bottom of each eclair and either dollop or pipe on the whipped cream. Dunk the top part of the eclair in the chocolate ganache and place on top. Eclairs taste best on the same day they were made. However, you can keep them chilled for a few days in an airtight container.
Eclairs taste best on the day they were made. If kept chilled in an airtight container, they can be eaten for a few days.