In Category: ‘In The Kitchen’


I don’t even like soup.   Well, most soup, I just don’t care for it.  Especially when it’s chunky soup with lots of stuff floating around in a super hot broth.  Nothing about that is appealing to me.  But this soup.  I made it twice last week.  TWICE!   Once for a networking event that was so lovely, and then once to nosh on whenever I feel like it.  It’s that good.  And it’s so easy, you’ll want to make enough to eat for weeks on end!

It’s roasted vegetables, soaked in broth and pureed.  It’s so simple.  I serve it with a toasted baguette and will literally lick the bowl.  It is lick the bowl good!

You can really roast whatever you want… something heavy and fibrous, something sweet and something a little more flavorful.  I’ve made it with squash, pears & fennel.  Or Broccoli , apples & onions.  Really, throw some produce on a baking sheet and see what happens!   I can pretty much bet that it will be delicious.

Squash Apple Leek Soup 0001 Butternut Squash, Apple & Leek Soup Squash Apple Leek Soup 0002 Butternut Squash, Apple & Leek Soup


Butternut Squash, Apple & Leek Soup


1 Butternut Squash

4 small apples

2 Leeks

3-5 sprigs of Rosemary

32 oz carton of Chicken broth (you could use veggie too and I’m sure it would be fine!)

Olive Oil



Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel & cut the squash in to cubes.  Core & cut the apples into slices.  Slice the white-light green stalks of the leeks, discarding the dark green tops.  Mix produce on a baking sheet with a good coat of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper.   Roast for 35-45 minutes, until squash is really tender.

Remove rosemary sprigs (they should be pretty crispy) and empty baking sheet into a dutch oven.  Add 3/4 of the carton of chicken broth to the dutch oven and bring to a simmer on the stove.  Simmer for 25 minutes, until squash is falling apart.  In batches (I usually have to do two), transfer produce & broth to a blender and puree until smooth.  If it’s too dense, add some of the remaining cold chicken broth until smooth.

Roast some baguette with olive oil, salt & pepper, pour soup into a bowl and go to town!  Lick bowl & repeat.  Enjoy!

November 7, 2014 Caramel Apple Pie


Whew, I didn’t realize I’d been so absent!  Wedding season is finally gearing down and I just realized how much I’ve neglected this poor  blog that I just adore so much.  But yah for fall, yah for sweaters and pumpkins and apple pies!

If you follow me on Instagram (Cocktails For Breakfast or Hazelnut Photography) you’ll know that Chris and I went out to Riley Family Farms a few weeks ago for some apple picking!   It was obviously adorable, a super cute little place with some super delicious apples.   It was a lovely little trek out of LA for the day and we came home with the most delicious apples.  So, pie.

On the drive out, I was reading Sunset Magazine and they had a recipe for a Caramel Apple Pie.  Done & done.

It takes forever.  Like, three days forever.  Mostly because I didn’t really read all the way through to make sure I built in time for all the chilling and cooling and sitting.  There’s a lot of it.  But the dough can sit for a few days.  The apples can sit overnight.  It’s not so overwhelming to break it down into a few separate baking sessions.  It’s just the massive amount of patience you must have.  Lots and lots of patience.  Guys, it’s worth it!
Caramel Apple Pie 0001 Caramel Apple Pie

Caramel Apple Pie from Sunset Magazine


3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes

1. In a food processor, whirl flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until pieces are almond- and pea-size. Sprinkle 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. ice water over mixture and pulse 3 or 4 times just to distribute.

2. Dump mixture into a mound on a work surface. Working quickly so butter stays cold, firmly press dough with heel of hand, pushing dough outward from center. Scrape dough from work surface using a bench scraper, and toss to redistribute wet and dry patches. Repeat, pressing on dry patches and tossing to create a soft dough with no dry spots. Don’t overwork; you should see pieces and streaks of butter.

3. Divide into 2 portions and gently press each into a 3/4-in.-thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Make ahead: Up to 1 month, frozen airtight.


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 pounds mixed apples, such as Granny Smith and Cripps Pink, peeled and cut into eighths to make 3 qts.
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

1. Make pastry and chill.

2. Meanwhile, melt butter with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt in a heavy 5- to 6-qt. pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until a smoky haze comes from mixture and it turns deep golden brown, 6 to 9 minutes. Carefully stir apples into caramel (it will bubble and seize up). Cook, stirring often and reducing heat if needed to maintain a steady simmer, until apples look mostly translucent and are tender when pierced with a fork (a few will have fallen apart), about 20 minutes. Transfer apples and caramel to a rimmed baking sheet. Let cool a bit, then chill until cold.

3. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk, cream, and a pinch of salt until well blended. Chill egg wash airtight up to 1 week.

4. Unwrap and lightly flour 1 pastry disk, work surface, and rolling pin. Working from center with short strokes, roll pastry into an even 13-in. round. As you work, lift pastry using a bench scraper or long metal spatula, and reflour board and pin as needed to keep it from sticking.

5. Fold pastry in half and open up into a buttered regular 9-in. pie pan, easing it into place without stretching. Fill shell with cold apples and caramel; pat into an even mound. Fold overhanging pastry over apples and trim with scissors to a 1-in. border. Chill scraps and pie shell.

6. Roll out second pastry disk the same way as the first to an 11-in. round. Cut shapes close together with a floured 2 1/2-in. cookie cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet. Gather and reroll all scraps and cut the same way (you’ll have about 25 cutouts total). Chill cutouts until firm, 15 minutes.

7. Brush pie border with egg wash. Lay 10 cutouts in a concentric circle around rim of pie, barely covering the border and barely overlapping one another; brush with egg wash, so they adhere to one another. Make a second circle the same way with 5 cutouts, overlapping the first by about 1/2 in. Set 1 cutout in the center.

8. Freeze pie and remaining cutouts uncovered until cutouts feel very firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° with racks in center and lower third. Brush pie with egg wash again and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. sugar.

9. Bake cutouts on baking sheet until well browned, 20 to 22 minutes. Bake pie until crust is deeply browned, juices are bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center reaches 180°, 1 1/2 hours; after 45 minutes, set a drip pan on rack under pie, and after about 1 1/4 hours, tent pie with foil. Cool pie on a rack at least 2 1/2 hours. Serve with extra cutouts for nibbling.

Make ahead: Up to 1 day at room temperature.


It is July.  And it is HOT.  Valley Hot.  Sitting at my desk, while the sun burns through the windows, has been a little bit miserable. Happy to be so busy, miserable to be so hot in my bright white office.  So, popsicles.

Pineapple Apple Mint Popsicles 0001 Pineapple Apple Mint Popsicles

Cold, and satisfying and super healthy, because it’s just juice!   My lovely friend Megan posted a juice recipe a while back that is so perfect.  It’s sweet and so full of flavor, and I always sneak in a little bit when I’m juicing the kale and other boring healthy greens.  I juiced a bit and then added some solids to the blender so they wouldn’t freeze too hard (although, I guess if you like a solid hard-as-a-rock popsicle, you could skip the solids and just freeze the juice.) So delicious, so perfect to get through that 5:00 hour when I really want to quit, because the sun is burning through my retinas, but I must keep going.  Enjoy!

Pineapple Apple Mint Popsicles

4 large green apples

2/3 pineapple

4 sprigs of mint, leaves removed from 2 sprigs

Put the apples, 1/3of the pineapple and 2 sprigs of mint into the juicer and juice.  Transfer the juice to a blender, adding the remaining 1/3 of pineapple and the leaves from 2 sprigs of mint.  Blend.  Pour mixture into popsicle molds and put in the freezer until frozen.  Enjoy!

Honestly, I think you could switch up this recipe any way which way you wanted… more pineapple, more apple or more mint.  It seems to work really well in whichever combination you desire!

If you wanted a more delicious adult snack, I bet a little bit of vodka would be just perfect.  Will try that one out sooner rather than later icon smile Pineapple Apple Mint Popsicles


When we bought our house, the entire backyard was covered in concrete.  It was so sad back there!  One Thanksgiving, we ripped it all out and started the long and arduous process of planting every square foot.  It took a really long time, a lot of plants died and I learned what might work best for our backyard.  I decided that everything we planted though would need to have a purpose… either it should create shade where we needed shade, or it should produce something that we could eat.  The apple tree was one of the very last additions to the yard, but I’m so happy I decided to plant it!  I guess it’s been there for about three years now, and it has grown so well!  A few times a year, my husband takes a chainsaw to it, under the guise of pruning.  It looks absolutely ridiculous because Chris pays no attention to aesthetics.  But, I guess it’s worked pretty well because it’s producing buckets and buckets of apples now.

So, with all these apples (really, so many apples) I’ve got to do something with them.  So far, pies & tarts.  But, I figure that since I planted the tree, cared for the tree  and harvested the apples, anything I cook with them is calorie free.  Bring on the tarts!

First up, Dorie Greenspans Crispy, Crackly Almond-Apple Tart.  It’s simple, it’s delicious and an absolutely perfect way to end a meal!  Enjoy!

Dorie Greenspans Apple Tart 0007 Dorie Greenspans Apple TartDorie Greenspans Apple Tart 0001 Dorie Greenspans Apple TartDorie Greenspans Apple Tart 0002 Dorie Greenspans Apple TartDorie Greenspans Apple Tart 0003 Dorie Greenspans Apple TartDorie Greenspans Apple Tart 0004 Dorie Greenspans Apple TartDorie Greenspans Apple Tart 0005 Dorie Greenspans Apple TartDorie Greenspans Apple Tart 0006 Dorie Greenspans Apple Tart


Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart

For the Almond Cream

1 1/4 cups almond flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

5 tablespoons heavy cream

For the Tart

8 sheets filo dough (each 9×14 inches)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

About 1 tablespoon sugar

3 medium sweet apples, such as gala (she suggest peeling them, I didn’t and it’s delicious)

For the Glaze

2 teaspoons water

About 1/2 cup apple jelly or strained apricot jam


To make the almond cream:  Whisk the almond flour and sugar together in a bowl.  In another bowl, beat the egg, vanilla and salt together.  Whisk in half of the almond flour mixture, and when it’s well combined, whisk in the heavy cream.  Finish by whisking in the remaining almond mixture.  Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the almond cream and chill for at least 3 hours.  (The almond cream can be refrigerated for up to three days)

When you’re ready to construct and bake the tart, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Place one piece of filo dough on the lined baking sheet (keep the remaining pieces of filo covered with plastic wrap), brush it with melted butter, and sprinkle it with sugar.  Cover with another sheet of dough, then butter and sugar the sheet.  Continue until you’ve stacked, buttered and sugared all 8 sheets. Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, very gently spread the almond cream over the top of the filo: you can leave a slim border of uncovered dough on all sides – it will curl in the oven and that’s rather nice – or you can spread the almond topping all the way to the edges.  Work slowly and be gentle, since filo is extremely delicate – if it tears (and it probably will), patch it with almond cream.  Cover the tart lightly with plastic wrap while you cut the apples.

Slice each apple in half from top to bottom and remove the core.  Cut each half lengthwise into very thin slices, keeping the slices together – you should get about 14 slices per half – then use the palm of your hand to flatten and fan them.  Arrange the fanned -out apples on top of the almond cream, placing them in 3 long rows down the length of the tart or in as many short crosswise rows as you can fit.  Keep the rows fairly close together, but allow a little almond cream to peek out between them.

Bake the tart for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife and the almond cream is set.  Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack.

Stir the water into the apple jelly or apricot jam and bring it to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave oven.  Gently brush the glaze over the entire tart.  Using a cookie sheet or two large metal spatulas or pancake turners, transfer the tart to a serving platter or cutting board.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


February 24, 2014 Julias’ Cheese Souffle


Souffle 0001 Julias Cheese Souffle

On occasion, my dear friend Jessica comes over and we cook together.  We cocktail and catch up while making lunch and it’s one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon.   Last week she stopped by, and still on a French high, we made Soufflé Au Fromage.  Surprisingly easy, super delicious and really pretty icon smile Julias Cheese Souffle

Well, it was pretty.  Until it fell.  They were tall and mighty, until I took them out of the oven and they crashed.  Turns out, still delicious and totally worth it!   We whipped up a quick side salad with parmesan, pepper, raisins and a light olive oil dressing, sipped a lemony cocktail and it was absolutely perfect.

Souffle 0002 Julias Cheese Souffle
Souffle 0003 Julias Cheese Souffle


Soufflé Au Fromage (From Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Julia Child)


1 tsp (for buttering mold), 3 Tb butter

1 Tb grated Swiss or Parmesan Cheese

3 Tb Flour

1 cup boiling milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

pinch of cayenne pepper

pinch of nutmeg

4 egg yolks

5 egg whites

3/4 to 1 cup coarsely grated Swiss and/or Parmesan


…What You’ll Need

Soufflé Mold, 1 6-cup mold, or 6 individual molds

2.5 quart saucepan

wooden spatula or spoon

wire whip


… Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Butter inside of soufflé mold and sprinkle with 1 Tb of grated cheese

Melt 3 Tb butter in the sauce pan.  Stir in the flour with a wooden spatula or spoon and cook over moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning.  Remove from heat: when mixture has stopped bubbling, pour in all the boiling milk at once.  Beat vigorously with a wire whip until blended.  Beat in the seasonings.  Return over moderately high heat and boil, stirring with the wire whip for 1 minute.  Sauce will be very thick.

Remove from heat.  Immediately start to separate the eggs.  Drop the white in the egg white bowl, and the yolk into the center of the hot sauce. Beat the yolk into the sauce with the wire whip.  Continue in the same manner with the rest of the eggs.  Correct Seasoning.  *May be prepared ahead to this point.  Dot top of sauce with butter.  heat to tepid before continuing.

Add an extra egg white to the ones in the bowl and beat with a pinch of salt until stiff. *Add a pinch of Cream of Tartar to stiffen them.  Stir in a spoonful (about one quarter of the egg whites) into the sauce.  Stir in all but a tablespoon of the cheese.  Delicately fold in the rest of the egg whites.  Be careful not to overfold.

Turn the soufflé mixture into the prepared mold, which should be almost three quarters full.   Tap bottom of mold lightly on the table, and smooth the surface of the soufflé with the flat of a knife.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Set on a rack in the middle of the preheated 400-degree oven and immediately turn heat down to 375.  Do not open oven door for 20 minutes.  In 25 to 30 minutes the soufflé will have puffed about 2 inches over the rim of the mold, and the top will be nicely browned.  Bake 4 to 5 minutes more to firm it up, then serve at once.


I know everyone says this, but time seems to have sped up recently.  It’s moving entirely too fast and I’m not sure where it’s going.  We’ve been renovating, a lot.  If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a bit of it, but I guess that’s where the last few months have gone.  Drywall and plumbing and paint.  So many good things coming to the blog soon though!

reno 1 Lemonades Israeli Couscous

On to prettier, more delicious things!  If you live in the LA area, and haven’t been to Lemonade, you are seriously missing out.  They’ve created some of the best salads I’ve ever had and it’s my go to place for a quick lunch with girlfriends, or a healthy dinner with my husband.  There’s a brand new location going in just a few miles from my house, and I have never been more excited about a chain restaurant opening in my life.

lemonade Lemonades Israeli Couscous

But my friend Jordan posted a picture on Instagram that nearly turned my world upside down.  The creator of Lemonade wrote a COOKBOOK and all of my favorite recipes are included!   ALL.OF.THEM.  I ordered it immediately and flipped to the page that could change my life.  The Israeli Couscous page.  I always assumed this little pasta salad was made with little bits of magic. But it turns out to be simpler than I could have imagined and just as tasty coming from my own stove.  Seriously, I could eat this by the bucket.  Grab a ton of mushrooms and try for yourself!
Israeli Couscous 0001 Lemonades Israeli Couscous


Lemonades’ Israeli Couscous

3/4 poud assorted wild mushrooms (crimini, shitake, oyster, etc) wiped of grit, stemmed & sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup Israeli couscous

1 cup vegetable broth or water

1/4 cup Lemon-Truffle vinaigrette

1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the mushrooms on a large baking pan, dirzzle with the oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer.  Seasons generously with salt and pepper.  Roast, shaking the pan from tie to time, until the mushrooms lose thier moisture, shrink and begin to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer the mushrooms to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool.  The mushrooms can easily be prepared in advance, covered and refrigerated.

To prepare the couscous, place a large dry skillet over medium-low heat.  Toast the couscous, stirring frequently, until it smells nutty and is golden-brown, about 5 minutes.  Pour in the broth, cover and simmer until the couscous is just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  Set the couscous aside to cool.  The couscous can easily be prepared in advance, covered and refrigerated.

When ready to prepare the dish, in a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked, cooled mushrooms, couscous, vinaigrette, cheese and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.


Lemon-Truflle Vinaigrette

Juice of 2 lemons

3/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon white truffle oil

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a small mixing bowl or mason jar, combine the lemon juice, canola, olive and truffle oils; season with salt and pepper.  Whisk or shake to blend.  Keep any leftover vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Makes 1 cup

September 17, 2013 The Elusive Cronut


The Cronut.  Dominique Ansel Bakery took NYC by storm in May and has since had the entire country in a tizzy for it’s delicious combination of fried & flaky dough.  The beautiful marriage of a croissant and a doughnut.  It is a blissful thing my friends.

When I was in NYC for work last month I decided that if I was up early, and had a few hours to kill, I might try to score myself a Cronut.  In all actuality I thought “it’s been months!   The line can’t be so bad anymore.  And it’s a Monday!  I’ll be in and out of there!”  Lies.  All lies.   The Cronut is only getting more popular all these months later and the 2+ hour wait is no joke.

You walk up to an adorable little bakery, and it doesn’t look so packed.  Until you look to your right and see the line snaking around the corner and down the street.  The bakery opens at 8, but people have been waiting since 6ish.   I arrived at 7:30, I was number 121 in line.  They make 300 Cronuts a day, and customers are allowed to purchase a maximum of 2, so I was golden!

Cronut 0004 The Elusive Cronut

Bring a book, watch people walk by, try not to feel ashamed when someone asks what you’re waiting for you and then they laugh when you tell them it’s pastry.   The wait isn’t all that bad when the line starts moving.   20ish customers are allowed into the store at a time, so the line moves, then stands, then moves again.

One thing I didn’t know, but wish I had known, Dominique Ansel only makes one flavor a month.  (If I’d diligently read the Cronut 101, I would know this, but I didn’t.)  There is no original.  There is no plain.  There is only the flavor of the month.  For August, that flavor was coconut.  I hate coconut.  But I’d already been in line for 30 minutes, so I decided to stick it out.  (For September, it’s Fig Mascarpone, and that sounds amazing!)

I got in, grabbed two Cronuts and a coffee and skipped out in utter glee!  There were about 20 Cronuts left when I headed out.  Kind of perfect timing.

They are pretty delicious.  Really soft on the inside, with a delicious coconut cream.  I know I said I hate coconut, but this was subtle enough to be amazing.  The icing on top is sweet, but with just a bit in each bite it’s perfect.  My only complaint is that they’re really hard.  The exterior is kind of tough and eating it was, well, less than graceful.

Am I happy to have done it?  Yes!  Would I do it again?  Absolutely not.  Two hours is a long time folks.

If you’re really dying for one, but not up for the challenge, you can always head over at about 8:10 am.  Someone will sell you theirs for $30.

Cronut 0001 The Elusive Cronut
Cronut 0002 The Elusive Cronut
Cronut 0003 The Elusive Cronut

June 28, 2013 Summer Garden Salad


For me, summer time means easy, fresh & delicious meals that taste incredible.  Taste like summer, if you will.  But, as it’s also bathing suit season, I’d like it to be on the healthier side of the fence.  So, as I stared into my fridge earlier this week, considering what I might make myself for lunch, I was stumped.  Blah blah blah, boring, boring, boring.  Then I decided to chop whatever I had, put it in a bowl with some olive oil, and eat it.  And it was heaven.  So good, I’ve done the exact same thing every day this week.   Even my husband (who has an if-there’s-no-meat-it’s-not-a-meal mindset) loves it.   This guy will definitely be in the lunch rotation for the rest of the summer!

Really, you can throw in whatever you’d like and call it a day.  A few stone fruits, some berries, an apple, a cucumber, a tomato, an avocado… the fresher the better!  Whatever is taking up space in your fridge will likely be delicious!  Chop it all and throw it into a bowl with olive oil, salt & pepper.  I use a deliciously coarse fleur de sel and freshly cracked pepper.  It’s absolute perfection.
Garden Salad 0001 Summer Garden Salad

I was beginning to think that the éclair was impossible in the United States.  Like bagels are just better in New York.  Maybe eclairs are just better left to the French.   And then I thought, no!   I’m better than that!  I will conquer these bad boys if it’s the last pastry I ever make!

I had a bit of extra time before I started dinner, and so I thought I’d see what I might do about this situation.  I didn’t even think all the way to the custard, or the ganache.  I knew these would probably be a disaster too, so no need to fill my belly with more substandard pastry.  I’d perfect the shells first.

And then something happened in that oven.  They started to rise.  And they puffed.  And they got ENORMOUS.  And then THEY DIDN’T FALL DOWN!  This process was all worth it because I think I have conquered this damn thing.   Of course, there’s always room to perfect them, but these are pretty close and I’m calling it a WIN!

I used the Ladurée: The Sweet Recipes book.  This book is absolutely gorgeous.  It’s got a velvet cover and gilded pages.  It comes in a beautiful box with perfect tissue paper.  It’s so lovely that I am afraid to use it… literally, I took pictures of the recipes and referenced my phone instead of the book for fear of a speck of dirt tarnishing it’s gorgeous pages. And if this recipe wasn’t absolutely perfect, this book would be completely useless.  The index is a joke.  The layout is a mess.  Recipes constantly reference other recipes without giving a page number or location.  A beautiful useless mess.  (But a lovely gift.  I gave this to Jess for her birthday last year and it makes us both so happy!)

So, here’s where I think I was going wrong.

1. When the choux pastry is finished cooking in the saucepan, cook it a minute longer.  And mix it with vigor (seriously, I have blisters on my hands.)  I think my previous batches were too wet and thus, too heavy.

2. Bake one sheet pan at a time, in the absolute MIDDLE of the oven.   I was baking two sheets at a time, cutting the oven in thirds.   No good.  Also, turned on the convection this time… worked nicely I think.

3. Immediately after baking, remove the pastries from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.  I always wait a minute because things are so hot… don’t.

With the perfect shells, filling them was so easy!   And they taste amazing.  Incredible.  Light & fluffy with a perfect custardy center and sweet chocolate topping.  Seriously, amazing.
Eclairs 3 0001 The Eclair Mission: Attempt 3, Third Times The Charm
Eclairs 3 0002 The Eclair Mission: Attempt 3, Third Times The Charm
Eclairs 3 0003 The Eclair Mission: Attempt 3, Third Times The Charm
Eclairs 3 0004 The Eclair Mission: Attempt 3, Third Times The Charm


Ladurée Choux Pastry

120 g Cake Flour
100 ml whole milk
100 ml water
10 g granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
80 g butter
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350.

Sift the flour.  In a saucepan, bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Incorporate the sifted flour into the hot liquid, mixing energetically with a spatula until homogenous.  Return the saucepan to low heat and stir vigorously for 1 minute to pull out the moisture from the batter, so that it forms a mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Transfer batter to a large bowl and allow to cool.  Add the eggs one at a time, carefully incorporating each into the batter with a spatula.

When homogenous, transfer the dough to a piping bag, fitted with the 1/2 inch plain tip.  On a buttered baking sheet, pipe 5-inch strips.

Place in the oven and bake. After 8 to 10 minutes, when they have started to puff up, open the oven door very slightly, about 1/4 inch to allow steam to escape.  Bake the éclairs for approximately 30 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar, until golden. (You can slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the oven to keep ajar.)

Remove éclairs from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.


Dorie Greenspans Vanilla Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, room temperature

Bring the milk to boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended.  Whisking without stop, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk – this will temper, or warm, the yolks – then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.  Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (make sure to get the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil.  Keep at a boil – still whisking – for 1 to 2 minutes, then pull the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until the butter is fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky.  Scrape the cream into a bowl.  You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold, or, if you want to cool the custard quickly, put the bowl with the pastry cream into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.


Dorie Greenspans Ganache

3/4 cups heavy creme
3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped.

Bring cream to a boil.  Pour the hot cream into a bowl, over the finely chopped chocolate.   Wait 30 seconds, then stir gently to blend.  Chill the ganache until it thickens enough for you to spread it smoothly over the éclairs.


When the pastries have cooled, the custard is chilled and the ganache is thickened, you can assemble!  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a pointed tip with a 1/2 cup of the pastry cream. Cut four small slices into the tops of the éclairs, then fill each hole with the pastry cream.  To finish, pour the ganache over each éclair, covered the holes and any pastry cream that might have escaped.  Flatten and spread the ganache with a spatula.

I like my éclairs cold, so I store them in the fridge.  Enjoy!


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!