So, we tried again, and we failed.  But if you take two failures of an éclair, sandwich them together, you kind of have one amazing éclair.   Éclair sandwich.

I followed the Dorie Greenspan recipe from Around My French Table, a gift from my beautiful friend Jessica.   This book is an incredible wealth of knowledge and it’s so pretty.  I love a beautiful cookbook icon smile The Éclair Mission: Attempt 2, And We Fall Again

This recipe is a bit more intricate than the previous attempt. Lots of differences in the way you actually bake: timing, temperatures, open vs. closed door, etc.  They came out fluffy, and then the caved upwards from the bottom… hollowed out from beneath!   I think perhaps it has something to do with the placement in the oven… too close to the heating coils perhaps.   And I just realized that they cooled on the baking pan…. perhaps if we removed them to a cooling rack right away they wouldn’t fall?  I also used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, thinking the extra gluten would help.  It didn’t.  Oh, and maybe cooking the dough for just a bit longer, it wouldn’t be as wet, therefore as heavy.   All kinds of things…

So, we try again.  And again.  I WILL make this damn thing work.
Eclairs2 0001 The Éclair Mission: Attempt 2, And We Fall Again
Eclairs2 0002 The Éclair Mission: Attempt 2, And We Fall Again

This is the Dorie Greenspan recipe verbatim.  We only changed out the all purpose flour for bread flour.

Vanilla Éclairs

… For the éclairs

.5 cup whole milk

.5 cup water

8 tablespoons unslated butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 tablespoon sugar

.5 teaspoon salt

1 cup all purpose flour

4 large eggs, at room temparture

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Fit a large pastry bag with a large (2/3-inch-diameter) plain tip.

Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a rapid boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat.  Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low and imeediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk.  The dough will come together, and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan.  Keep stirring – with vigor – for another minute or two to dry out the dough.  The dough should be very smooth.

Turn the dough into the bowl of a  stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or into a bowl you can use to mix with a hnad mixer or a wooden spoon and elbow grease.  Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny.   Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don’t be conerned if the dough falls part – by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again.

Fill the pastry bag with half o fthe dough and pipe out strips of dough that are 4 to 4.5 inches long onto the first baking sheet; keep the strips about 2 inches apart so the eclairs will have room to puff.  Pipe the other half of the dough onto the second baking sheet.  (The eclairs can be frozen for up to 2 months.)

Bake the éclairs for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.  Continue baking for another 7 minutes, then wedge the handle of a wooden spoon into the oven door so it stay slighlty ajar, and bake for about 3 minutes more, or until the éclairs are golden, firm and puffed.  Transfer the éclairs to a rack and cool to room temperature.


The filling & ganache recipes are similar to the first éclair attempt, so you can see them here.   To assemble the sandwich, pipe the filling onto the bottom, put another éclair on top, then spoon the ganache on top of that.  Honstly, Dorie suggested cutting the éclair in half and piping the filling on top instead of putting it inside (which I prefer.)  If only I could get the damn things to puff!

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