Sometimes love can be easy, it can happen in an instant. It will come together with little obstacle and can satisfy with luscious sweetness. The love I speak of, of course, is that of a pastry loving Homo Sapien for an eclair.
For those who wish to celebrate Valentine's Day with a minimum of fuss (i.e., a drama free evening for two: a woman or man and a pastry), look no further than this recipe.
For the choux
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 - 7 eggs
For the filling
1 cup vanilla bean mascarpone, Vermont Creamery
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup smooth raspberry jam
2-3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
For the glaze
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon dry egg white powder
2 - 4 tablespoons water
hot pink food coloring
For the choux
•Preheat oven to 400º.
•Combine the water, milk, sugar, salt and butter in a large saucepan and heat over medium until the mixture simmers and the butter completely melts.
•Dump the flour in the mixture all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until the paste pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is very smooth, this should take a few minutes.
•Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment. Mix on low for a minute to release some steam and to cool down a bit.
•Add eggs, one at a time until the choux paste slow drops from the raised paddle. Make sure that it's not so stuff that it just sits on the paddle and not so viscous that it immediately streams from the lifted paddle. You may not need all the eggs. You might need more. If you feel you're close but not quite there, add one extra egg yolk and mix completely.
•Transfer the choux paste to a large pastry bag fit with a medium star tip. Pipe 4" long strips of choux on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake at 400º for 10 minutes are reduce the heat to 350º and bake for 20 to 30 minutes more, until the choux is deeply golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
For the filling
•Combine all ingredients and whisk on high until the mixture is stiff and peaks. Check for sweetness. Add a few tablespoons of confectioner's sugar if it's not sweet enough. Transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag fit with a medium/small open tip. Poke three holes along the bottom of the choux shell and insert the tip into each hole and gently fill.
•Combine the confectioner's sugar and powdered egg white. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until you've created a spreadable glaze that flows slowly.
•Remove about 1/4 of the glaze and transfer to a piping bag fit with a small open tip.
•Place the remaining glaze in a large bowl, large enough to hold an eclair, and stir in the dye. Dip the top of the eclairs in the glaze. Pipe stripes over the top of the eclair.
•Make more glaze as needed. Cover with plastic wrap if you're going to walk away for a few minutes, making sure that the wrap touches the surface of the glaze so it doesn't form a skin.
If you have rolling fondant on hand, add about a cup to a saucepan and 3 tablespoons of water and a teaspoon of sugar. Stir over low heat until smooth. Transfer 1/4 of the mixture to a piping bag with a small open tip. Set aside. Keep the rest in the saucepan and stir in dye. Dip the tops of the eclairs in the glaze and immediately pipe the white fondant over the eclair in stripes.