French Fridays with Dorie: Vanilla éclairs on Saturday

I was SO excited to see this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe: Vanilla éclairs (p. 473). I love them but have never made them though I have had some success with the choux pastry before, making gougères and profiteroles, twice.

Neil and I had people over for dinner last Friday and totally unintentionally, it turned in to an all Dorie dinner..

Scallops with caramel-orange sauce

Short ribs braised in red wine and port

Garlicky crumb-coated broccoli

(Excuse the iPhone photos and the plating – we were serving family-style!)

All these recipes were chosen because they had a lot of prep that could be done in advance. The éclairs seemed like the perfect dessert for this meal..  I was planning on making them the night before and Dorie gave me the go-ahead that they should be ok. Of course, I forgot that we would be cooking the ribs for 3+ hours so I ended up just planning to make the éclairs on the fly a couple of hours before the guests were due to arrive.  I made the vanilla pastry cream (um, can I just say – YUM???) the night before and the chocolate glaze I was choosing to use as well. That cut down prep time on the night.

The thing with choux pastry is that even though I haven’t worked much with it, I do know what it’s supposed to look like. Slightly sloppy, not firm.  My dough was perfect, I felt but because of my poor piping skills, the first batch of pastry I made that night (yes, you read it right) did not work very well for the éclairs – I used a piping tip that was too thin and my éclairs were a total flop – but was fine for tiny profiteroles which I ended up taking to another friend’s house the following day.  I quickly whipped up some more choux pastry and piped wider, longer éclairs. Perfect!

I brought the pastry out and filled them, put them in the fridge for half the meal then glazed them between courses and put them in the fridge again to make sure the chocolate glaze set.

I was pretty happy with how they turned out…

And now the beauty shots.

I admit I took a LOT of pictures of these. They were so delicious and I just couldn’t get over how “proper” they looked (I never trust my baking skills!).  Many people enjoyed them…

Guests at our dinner that night. Some people had TWO!

Our neighbours, Steve and Linda and Lois and Orest who are the happy recipients of my baking experiments!

And our friends the following day at dinner were impressed with the little profiteroles. And both of them have been to Baking Arts classes and they approved 🙂

If you’ve never made these, give them a go – if *I* can do this, so can you!

Want to join French Fridays with Dorie? Join here.

French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we prefer if you purchase Around My French Table for yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!) which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada.  Go on, treat yourself – join us in 2011!  There are some GREAT recipes coming up!

* Don’t forget to check out next month’s “Forever Nigella” event – I’m hosting a street party in honour of the Royal Wedding and would love for you to join me. All the details here.
** Like Cake Pops? Check out my giveaway here.  Entries close at 6pm Monday April 17th.

66 thoughts on “French Fridays with Dorie: Vanilla éclairs on Saturday”

  1. Your eclairs and profiteroles look beautiful! Lucky friends to be invited to such a great dinner party. I’m sure they enjoyed it!

  2. Your last picture, the one you posted on Twitter last weekend, was the one that inspired me to make the little puffs out of the last bits of dough. What a wonderful meal!

  3. They are beautiful Mardi! You are inspiring me, I have never made those before either. You did fantastic, love seeing the results. Well done!

  4. You’re so right to be proud of these babies, they look perfect! Better than any I’ve seen in any cafes recently, for sure, and with the added bonus of not being squashed in a bag on the way home 😉

    I would totally have been one of those guests eating two, and probably wishing someone else had a third so I could do so without being embarrassed.

  5. You did a marvelous job on these eclairs! I want to get into the kitchen and make some right now and it’s not even 9am yet.

  6. These are beautiful Mardi. If I was in your kitchen I’d be hard pressed not to grab a few eclairs before they were even filled and coated with chocolate. What a lovely end to a wonderful looking *Dorie Dinner*

  7. These look great! I can’t believe this is your first time making them…you look like a pro! 🙂 They look so good…I wanna a few!

  8. Mardi, these looks brilliant! I love eclairs and yet can’t think of when I last had some. And the chocolate glaze on the outside is calling my name.

  9. Okay recent posts have not really called for wine pairings, but as it was at a dinner party, I will add…

    My original choice for the eclairs was actually going to be a Vin Santo.

    But as we also had a huge cheese plate, and guests were not big into the drinking (egads!), I didn’t think a mid-course bottle would work.

    So pulled a Noval LBV Port (2004 I think). A touch heavy for the filling, but worked well of course with the chocolate. And frankly for me, I can drink Port with nearly anything.

  10. What a fabulous Dorie Dinner spread! And your perfect-looking dessert must’ve been the icing on the cake (or should I say, eclairs). Some guests only had two, you say? Well, I’m not going to hold out like Conor above and just reach out for a third….but I’m greedy like that! LOL.

  11. Your guests are such lucky people. I’ve got my eyes on your scallops, short ribs and of course the perfect eclairs. Isn’t it amazing how choux pastries bake in slightly different shapes although you pipe them all in the same way?

  12. That is one beautiful dinner. Every Dorie dish turned out looking
    scrumptious. But most of all the eclairs and profiteroles. Tricia
    and I settled for the mini eclairs made with a small tip, but the
    taste was great and the size didn’t stop us from eating them.
    I love your photos, wonderful job.

  13. Oh my gosh, I wish I was that dinner guest!! Everything looks amazing… ~slurp~.
    Beautiful job with the eclairs… they puffed up real nice!

  14. What lucky guests! Your eclairs look perfectly golden and puffed. Mine efforts weren’t as successful as I’d hoped, though the eclairs were more doable than I expected. Hoping to take part in your Forever Nigella Royal Wedding Party.

  15. To begin with, you can never go wrong with an all-Dorie dinner, although Dorie herself might be a bit embarassed, but that’s only because she’s so down-to-earth.
    As usual, everything looks great and for someone who has noted her baking shortfalls in the past, your eclairs are starting to put those rumors to rest!

  16. Wow Mardi…looks like you’re feeling better finally! I am so jealous of your eclairs. I am going to have to keep making them until they come out correctly! Lovely beauty shots!!!

  17. Oh my! These looks absolutely amazing. The prepping in advance really spoke to me. I love anything that can be done mostly ahead of time and then quickly assembled and cooked/baked. These eclairs look delicious. Congrats on the Top 9! Well deserved!

  18. I was lucky enough to taste these eclairs and they were sooo luscious! I’ve also tasted Mardi’s short ribs- yum!
    Those scallops look so interesting, Mardi. I don’t know why you and Neil don’t weigh 400 lbs. each- you’re always preparing such delicious treats. Love, love, love getting samples. Thank you.


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