If I Only Had A Brain….

Though the lion is my least favorite character from the wizard of Oz(edit- I really mean the scarecrow), I have to say that I can really relate to him as of late. I’ve been so busy I just don’t seem to even know what day of the week it is…I put sticky notes up on the mirror in the morning to remind me. So the day I made cream puffs, I made eclairs…chocolate ones. But stupid me puts the cream puff up and not the eclairs and so I missed my opportunity to participate in SHF…duh! I’m hoping that life will start slowing down and I can know what day it is without having to look at a sticky note. But for now I am off to see a wizard about getting me a brain.
These are very similar to the cream puffs. The dough is the same but I added a TBSP of cocoa powder to it. The filling is a chocolate pastry cream that I once again made into diplomat cream. I also went with a different glaze too.

Pate a Choux

7 ounces water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 ounces Unsalted Butter
5 ounces Flour – All Purpose
5 extra large eggs
1 TBSP cocoa powder

Boil water, salt. cocoa and butter in a heavy saucepan.
Add flour while stirring, continue stirring for several minutes, until the mixture gets very hot and uniform in consistency.
Transfer mixture to an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, and mix on Low speed for 2-3 minutes until mixture has cooled down.
Crack the eggs into a clean container.
While still mixing on Low add the eggs, one at a time.  After the addition of each egg wait until the mixture absorbs it and becomes completely smooth again.
Using a pastry bag, dispense the choux paste through the desired tip onto a paper lined baking pan or non-stick pan.
Bake in a hot oven 425°(F) until they have puffed and gotten some color, then reduce the temperature to 350°(F) until they dry out inside. Do Not Under bake or they will fall flat. Cut one open to check the inside for wetness, before removing from oven, if your not sure that they are done.
Make into small puffs – large puffs – small eclair – large eclair – small buchette – large buchette and riviera shells (paris brest). This formula will yield 25 to 30 small puffs or eclairs, likewise 8 to 10 of the larger items.

Source; The French Pastry Chef

Chocolate Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks
6 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Fill at large bowl with ice cubes and water. Set aside in a smaller bowl that can hold the finished cream and be placed in this ice bath. Set aside a fine-meshed strainer too.
2. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Whisking all the while, very slowly drizzles a quarter of the hot milk into the yolks. Still whisking, pour the rest of the liquid in a steady stream into the tempered yolks.
3. Strain the mixture into the saucepan, place the pan over medium heat, and, whisking vigorously and without stop, bring the mixture to the boil. Keep the mixture at the boil-whisking energetically-for 1 to 2 minutes. Still over heat, stir in the chocolate, then remove the pan from the heat and scrape the pastry cream into the small bowl.
4. Sett the bowl into the ice-water bath and, stirring frequently so that the mixture remains smooth, cool the pastry cream to 140F, as measured on a instant read thermometer. Remove the cream from the ice-water bath and stir in the butter in three or four additions. Return the cream to the ice water bath and keep it there, stirring occasionally, until if is completely cool.

Diplomat Cream

1 package(2 1/4 tsp) powdered unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2 cups pastry cream
1 cup heavy cream

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small bowl and stir to break up any clumps. Let the gelatin soften in the water for about 2 minutes. Heat the softened gelatin over simmering water or in a microwave for about 20 seconds on low power until the granules melt and the mixture is clear. Stir the gelatin into the pastry cream by hand with a rubber spatula until blended.
Whip the cream in a chilled bowl until it holds a medium peak when the whisk is turned upright. Working by hand with a spatula, fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream(2 cups) in 2 or 3 additions, folding just until evenly blended.

Source: Adapted from Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp unsalted butter, room temperature
7 TBSP chocolate sauce(recipe to follow)

1. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and, little by little, add the chocolate, stirring the mixture gently with a spatula: Start at the center of the pan and stir slowly in a small circle. As you add more chocolate, continue to stir gently in a circular fashion, gradually increasing the size of the circle. Measure the temperature of the mixture with and instant read thermometer:it should be 140F. If it is too cool-as will often be the case-warm it in a microwave oven or scrape the mixture into a metal bowl and warm it over simmering water:remove from the heat as soon as it reaches the proper temperature. If the mixture is too hot, let it cool to 140F.
2. Stirring gently, blend in the butter, piece by piece, and the chocolate sauce. Once again, take the temperature of the glaze; You’re aiming  for 95F to 104F., the temperature at which the glaze attains prime pourablitiy. If the glaze is too cold, it can be warmed in a hot water bath or microwave at low setting.

Chocolate Sauce

4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar

Place all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens very slightly and coats the back of the spoon. Be patient-this can take 10-15 minutes and shouldn’t be rushed.

To Assemble:
Slice the eclairs horizontally in half. Set the bottoms aside for the moment and put the tops on a rack place over a sheet of parchment or waxed paper.
Spread over the tops of eclairs with a metal icing spatula. Allow tops to set while you fill the bottoms.
Pipe the chocolate diplomat cream into the eclair bottoms. Place the tops over the filled bottoms, jiggling the tops to settle them, and serve the eclairs as soon as possible.
Source: Adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme, written by Dorie Greenspan




  1. Oh my… those look incredible. I especially love that last photo!

  2. That last pic is killer!
    Despite the fact that you’ve been so busy, you’ve been putting up some seriously good posts lately, brain or no brain.

  3. I’d say your brain works pretty darn well. Those look divine.

  4. This is a perfect dessert! Everything works pretty darn well in your kitchen from the looks of these photos!

  5. Looks great! I’d say that you have the gift of the lion…courage! Don’t know if I’d try to make a cream puff or e’clair.

  6. Holy crap!!! WOW, I always LOVE your desserts and the photos of them, but this literally made me salivate.

    SOOOO delicious! Do you do mail order? :)

  7. Oh Hallelujah! Glad to hear that I am not the only one who lost her brain. The same thing happened to me too. I put up another post on Monday …. too LOL!
    But this recipe for Eclairs does it for me. I am now completely blasted away. I wish I had the courage the lion had and you have to make these too.

  8. I’m swooning here! First the creampuffs–now this!!! Seriously–those eclairs look like heaven!

  9. Oh my!
    I wish I had your brain!!
    Gad, that last photo has turned my mouth to liquid.
    Then I’m with Meeta – I would need the lions courage to try anything like this. These are stunning.
    But I’m not sure life slowing down will solve your sticky note issue. The kids are grown up and run their own lives now and I’m still using sticky notes all over.

  10. I like to eat that cream!

  11. I like to eat that cream!

  12. OMG, that last photo just did me in. And I’m not an eclair person!! Fantastic recipe and photos – thanks!

  13. Okay that last picture just did me in for the day.. thanks. *thud*

  14. I agree with everyone. That last photo just takes the cake… or in this case the pastry. It’s classic food porn.

  15. Your pictures made me laugh today…I have the sense of humor of an 8th grader sometimes *grin*

  16. That eclair look phenomenal! I missed this month’s SHF too…next time! :) Meanwhile, we have your chocolate eclair to ogle :)

  17. Peabody,

    This is the perfect eclair, in my opinion… Adding cocoa powder to the batter was a great idea!

    This last photo really made my mouth water. Shame on me.

  18. These look amazing. I know what you mean about not knowing where the braincells hide. I took this week off from work to try and find mine…but half the time I forget what I’m looking for!


  19. Good lord, that last picture has me drooling on the keyboard. Need some chocolate, stat!

  20. oh my.
    you wish you had a brain and i wish the computer screen had ‘lick-o-vision’

  21. Besides making me hungry, this wonderful post sent me to the web, trying to find the origin of the term Diplomat Cream. Such a wonderfully quirky name, I’d love to know where it came from. But no dice. Does anyone know?

    Oh, and regarding the Scarecrow’s character? If you’re speaking of the movie, the studio’s first choice was Buddy Ebsen–Jed Clampett. Personally, I think Ray Bolger’s Scarecrow was a much better choice!

  22. You can forget your brain anytime of the day as far as I am concerned! That last picture just sent me to sugar Heaven!

  23. Did you save one for me???

  24. These are stunning! Have never seen chocolate eclairs before (yes, it appears that I have been living under a rock) but methinks I’ll have to give these lovelies a shot the next time I need chocolatey goodness!

  25. Just heavenly. I sell baked goods at a local green market and am always looking for unusual items that no one else makes. I thought these might be a good idea, but have a few questions though. Actually, just curious. I am a “why” kind of girl. Why do you use the chocolate sauce in the glaze as opposed to just using the glaze? Also, why do you add the diplomat cream to the pastry cream and not just use the chocolate pastry cream? Lastly, I note you say to serve immediately, but how long do you think they might hold until getting soggy? Many, many thanks.

  26. I made these eclairs in two batches, one gluten-free and the other gluten-free and vegan. They were scrumptious and even my kids enjoyed them. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I love the wide variety of recipes you have and can’t wait to try more of them.


  1. […] This recipe is from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Peabody says she adapted it from several sources: Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme by Dorie Greenspan, Baking at Home With the Culinary Institute of America, and The French Pastry Chef. It has been on my list for quite some time and I am glad I finally got around to making it. It has a large number of steps but I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it all came together, so don’t be scared away by the directions. (No, run, run! Be afraid, be very afraid!). […]

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