Is there anything else to be said?
This is probably the second time that I made eclairs, and I came up with some solutions to uneven surfaces and knobbly choux. I filled mine with some creme patisserie: vanilla pastry cream. It’s like a vanilla custard, cooked over a stove and then let to cool. (In order for your pastry cream to taste lighter, just fold in some whipped cream)
Tip #1: When you’re piping, maintain an even pressure on the piping bag and control your tip with the other hand which isn’t squeezing the batter out of the bag – this is the first step to get straight, smooth eclairs which don’t look knobbly and a total mess, which happened to me on my previous try.
Tip #2: In order for your eclairs to get the perfect, classic oval finish, use a grooved piping tip to pipe out the choux batter onto your baking sheets – if you don’t have a star tip or something along those lines, just pipe it using an ordinary round tip (or fill a ziplock bag with the batter, cut off a corner, and use that as a makeshift piping bag) and draw some lines into the top of the piped choux with a fork to get some grooves. These grooves help the eclairs to rise and bake evenly.
Tip #3: It is very common to get a little tip at one end of the uncooked dough when you stop piping a strand – to make sure it doesn’t get burnt on you, just wet the tip of your finger with a little water and dab the pointed end down.
Tip #4: Don’t forget to brush the tops of your eclairs with egg wash! This helps it to get the beautiful golden brown finish 🙂
I daresay I am quite proud of this batch of eclairs! My best batch so far – I probably overcooked it, because it was a little dry and yet slightly soft as well. Hmmm. Gotta change the timing of the cooking process. At least I finally got the aesthetics of this pastry right though!
Nearly all choux pastry recipes are the same – the same ingredients, and should be the same proportions. So all the tips I gave you above is applicable to every recipe – except for the baking time of course. Depending on the temperament of your oven, and how large you pipe your eclairs or profiteroles, the baking time will differ.
So good luck with your attempts at baking some lovely vanilla eclairs! 😀