Cream puff shells or Chocolate Éclair shells
First thing you will need is a piping bag with an open ended tube at the end. If making Cream puff shells a spoon will do nicely. For Éclairs use a piping bag, pipe on a cookie sheet strips around 4 inches long with around two inches between each one to allow for them to expand when cooking.
What you will need to do first.
Per heat the oven to 400 degrees. And have 4 to 5 eggs left out so they can reach room temperature.
1 cup white flour all purpose.
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
Set to the side
Place in a heavy bottomed pan
1 cup of water or milk (I use milk because it gives a full finish to the taste.)
½ cup butter
Bring the above liquids to a boil. Add the flour mixture in one moment and stir quickly with a wooden spoon. This will be tough at first but soon the mixture will become smooth at this point you must stir faster. In just a few minutes the paste will become dry and will not cling to the sides of your pan, when you press on the paste lightly with the wooden spoon it leaves a smooth imprint. Don’t over cook or over stir the paste because this will make the dough not rise.
Remove the pan from the heat for about 2 minutes. It must never be returned to the heat this is why it must be cooked as I have stated above. Now it is time to add the eggs but one at a time beating each vigorously until fully absorbed. Add 4 eggs if they are large or 5 eggs if they are medium. Continue to beat the dough until it no longer looks slippery. The paste is ready to bake as soon as the last egg has been added. The proper constancy is when a small amount can be scooped up on the end of a spoon and it will stand erect. The dough must be used at once.
Now you must put the dough on a greased cookie sheet. For Éclairs as noted at the top of the page. If you have a piping bag then place the tip of the page close to the pan and push the dough out without moving the bag to make a pile the size you want. To form small pastry cups press down on them in the middle or make a goblet shape with the tip of the bag. This dough will make a multitude of shapes that will hold well when cooked but become light and airy. Sprinkle each one with a few drops of water before baking.
Baking for 10 minutes at 400 and reduce the heat to 350 for about 25 minutes. Do not remove them from the oven until they are quite firm to the touch. Cool the shells away from draft before filling. For filling, cut them horizontally ¾’s through with a sharp knife. Fill with sweetened whipped cream; add cocoa or Grand Manier or any other liquor to the cream to give a different flavor to each one. Do not add too much of this but just enough to lend its flavor. Éclairs need to be filled with your stuffing and then the top dipped in chocolate fondant.
Fondant is made with 1lb. icing sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
¼ teaspoon of lemon juice
And water. Place the top three ingredients in a bowl and whisk in a few drops of water at a time until you arrive at a constancy that will hold its shape on the back of a spoon. Once this is done you can dip each of your Éclairs in and let them set until the fondant is beginning to firm up on top. Once you make these you will not be able to keep any around unless you freeze them and only take them out for special occasions.