Prepare a double recipe of Classic Pastry Cream in the recipe for Diplomat Cream. Cover its surface with plastic wrap, and poke 4 to 5 slits in it to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate until time to fill the éclairs.
Fit the pastry bag with the
Using a paper towel, lightly grease the baking sheet with solid shortening. Dust very lightly with all-purpose flour and tap to remove excess. Marking a baking sheet for piping éclairs is similar to the procedure for shaping ladyfingers shown. A toothpick serves as a pencil to trace rows of parallel lines on the baking sheet, so the paste may be piped in strips, their edges touching the guidelines.
Draw four sets of parallel lines, each set measuring
Position rack in lower third of oven;
Pour the flour into a triple sifter; sift it onto a sheet of waxed paper to remove any lumps, and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a liquid cup measure until you have
Pour the milk, water and salt into a heavy-bottomed
Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon to combine the liquid and melted butter. Add the sifted flour all at once, stirring vigorously and scraping the sides of the pan, until a stiff paste forms and comes together in a ball. Return to medium heat, stirring quickly for about 10 seconds to eliminate extra moisture. Remove from heat immediately. The paste should be smooth, thick and glossy. The entire mass can be lifted on a spoon, and the saucepan will appear almost unused. Transfer the thick paste to the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer.
Separate the mass into
Attach the bowl to the mixer, and with the paddle attachment, mix the paste on lowest speed (#1) while slowly adding
Reduce the speed to low (#1), and repeat the procedure three or four more times, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of egg each time and increasing the speed when they are partially absorbed. The entire sequence should not take more than 3 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer; detach the paddle, and mix the batter vigorously with a rubber spatula for about 10 seconds to incorporate the ingredients completely. The batter should be very smooth, shiny, glossy and stiff, yet fall slowly in a ribboning effect when dropped from the spatula.
Scoop all the cream puff paste into the pastry bag fitted with the decorating tip.
Place the baking sheet in front of you. Pipe a strip of cream puff paste
When all rows are filled, you may glaze each éclair with an egg wash to create shiny surfaces, but the glaze can seal the surface and cause cracking as the éclair puffs and releases steam.
If you prefer not to seal the paste, lightly brush each éclair with water (or milk) rather than with an egg glaze. The paste absorbs these liquids like a sponge, and the brush helps shape each form neatly and smoothly.
Place in preheated 400-degree oven and
When the baking is finished, remove the baking sheet from oven. Using the point of a #2 open-star decorating tip, poke a hole in an end of each éclair. Return baking sheet to oven for 3 to 5 minutes to allow the éclairs’ interiors to dry.
Remove from the oven, and transfer the éclairs to a rack to cool completely. (Do not place close together, or the steam may soften the éclairs and make them soggy.)
Baked cream puff paste stales quickly, so after baking and cooling, freeze the éclairs for up to 5 days in sturdy containers to avoid crushing them in the freezer. (You cannot freeze them for too long because they are susceptible to odors, which become trapped in their cavities.)
Two hours before serving, stir the pastry cream until smooth. Then whip the heavy cream in the recipe for Diplomat Cream. Fold it into the pastry cream. Scoop into a pastry bag fitted with the
Prepare Glossy Cocoa Glaze. Turn an éclair upside down, dip its top into the glaze, lift it up slowly and shake it back and forth, removing the excess. Turn it right side up and place it on a rack to allow glaze to dry. Repeat for remaining éclairs.