Monthly Archives: August 2015

Baking Chez Moi: Bubble Eclairs

Not mine but it sure was tasty.
Not mine but it sure was tasty.

Sometimes things are bound to be an epic bomb.  Sadly, the bubble eclairs turned out this way for me.  I’ve made choux pastry before and it’s always turned out great.  I feel as though I had omens this particular venture wouldn’t work out but I kept going forward.

I was really excited about using pearl sugar and had planned ahead and ordered some online.  Being so ahead of schedule I didn’t bother with expedited shipping.  This turned out to be a fatal error as what was sent to me can only be described a kid’s sugar experiment gone awry.  I received giant and jagged sugar lumps in an industrial bag with the marking KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN.  No list of ingredients, manufacturers name or anything to indicate what was inside.  Kudos to Amazon for giving me a prompt refund and directing me to their own listing and offering expedited shipping.  Unfortunately it was still a little too late.  I looked everywhere locally for pearl sugar and even had some friends looking and couldn’t find it anywhere.

So I decided what the heck I’ll go with streusel topping.  This turned out to be mistake number two.    The hot Arizona summer can make my kitchen a little tricky sometimes.  Despite my AC it appears that my ingredients can still feel the heat sometimes and this streusel was no exception.  It hindered my eclairs from puffing and started burning after only half the cooking time.  They actually tasted pretty ok and had the perfect custardy interior but they just did not look all that pretty.

Bubble Eclair with Streusel

Mistake number three was thinking that I should try this all over again.  That batch was pretty much a disaster.  No puff, no chew and no fun.

Disaster batch of eclairs

So what to do when a recipe just isn’t working?  Normally I’ll keep going till I get my desired result.  In this case I really didn’t want a whole bunch of eclairs and I knew that we will eventually get to making cream puffs.  Even though I’ve successfully made them  in the past these days I never make my own eclairs.  Why? Because I have a really amazing French bakery that I frequent.

Essence Bakery is truly an amazing place.  They’ve worked hard to perfect their croissant recipe for our desert weather.  On one visit my friend Sarah declared it the best croissant she’s had outside of Paris.  They also make delicious eclairs.  For me, one really excellent eclair is perfect to share.  Scott was sweet enough to purchase one to showcase here.  I snuck a bite after he cut into it and it was unbelievable.  If you get the chance to visit Phoenix I would encourage you to visit one of their locations.

BItten Essence Eclair

I had made some tasty coconut pastry cream for my eclairs but rather than waste it I set it aside and will make a coconut banana cream pie. Even with the baking portion of this turning out kind of sad, in the end I got to support one of my favorite bakeries and enjoy a delicious eclair.  That’s a happy ending if I’ve ever heard one.

-Christie

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Baking Chez Moi: Cherry Crumb Tart

I felt incredibly lucky to be able to make this tasty little tart.  Cherry season is here and gone in a flash and I scooped up the last of the season just in time for this.

Cherry Tart Ingredients

I started to get a good feeling while reading the ingredient list; cardamom and orange sounded like the perfect additions to make this special.  Beckett’s Table has a peach cobbler in the summer that I adore and has a similar pairing of summer fruit and  orange flavor.

Orange Zest for Cherry TartOrange Sugar for Cherry Tart

The streusel topping was pretty easy to blend together and smelled heavenly.  I loved that it could be made ahead.

Streusel Topping for Cherry TartClose Up Streusel

The almond filling is whirred together in the food processor and really ends up more like a paste.  This is best when refrigerated at least an hour which worked out perfectly since we were in the middle of a Netflix tv show marathon while I was making this.

Cherry Tart Filling

Back when my work was getting produce boxes I had the opportunity to buy a completely ridiculous amount of cherries.  I’m pretty sure it was 20lbs or so.  I bought a cherry pitter in order to process that monstrosity of pits and it came in handy for this.

Cherry Pitter

At this point it’s really just assembling the tart and getting it in the oven.  The paste and cherries go in to be baked first.

Paste In Cherry TartAdding Cherries Tart

I absolutely loved how puffed this got when you took it out to add streusel.  I definitely had a good feeling about the end product at this point.

Puffed Cherry Tart

Close Up Puffed Cherry Tart

Adding Streusel Cherry Tart

The final tart doesn’t really do this justice in pictures.  For me this tart’s magic was in the spicy citrus smell of the streusel and the texture of the whole cherries in the creamy filling.  I didn’t add any powdered sugar as this tart was already a little on the sweet side for me.  When I make this next season I might serve it with a little creme fraiche or even sour cream.

Close Up Cherry Tart

Cherry Tart Slice

Whole Cherry Tart

This tart was a big hit.  While I wouldn’t say that cherries are my favorite treat I feel confident that this is my favorite dessert where they are featured.  The combination of flavors provided more interest than your typical tart and the orange flavor surprises with how well it pairs with a summer fruit. This recipe is definitely one I will use again when I can get fresh cherries.

-Christie