Monday, July 2, 2007
Eclairs to Die For
What is more fun than a night with your closest friends? A night with your closest friends, good food and a murder! Not just any murder, but a murder mystery. Saturday night I hosted a murder mystery potluck dinner party for myself and 7 of my friends. Each brought an enticing dish and a colorful character of a murder suspect.
What did I provide, you ask? Well, not wanting to seem like a poor host, I provided an entree and a dessert. For dinner I made a ramen chicken pouch for each person (it is a doctored version of this recipe). Alas, I forgot to document how it went, any changes or even take any pictures. I think it was fairly well received, but run-girl-run can comment on what she thought of them.
As for dessert. I tried something that until now I only have had poor memories of. Eclairs. Yes, those of you who have seen Van Wilder, get the laughs out of your system now. I made eclairs. I say that I have less-than-fond memories of them due to a tift with my mother over a very similar recipe last christmas. This time the eclair making went a lot more smoothly and with a lot less crying. There are still a few changes or tips I would keep in mind next time, but I think they were a success.
I based my eclairs off of this recipe. I made the pate a choux exactly as it describes. I was terrified of anything going wrong with the dough and it deflating, so I made sure to do EXACTLY as it said. From there I took my liberty, threw caution to the wind, and did as I saw fit. Did I use a piping bag to make 5-6 inch rods? NOPE! I used a ziploc bag with a hole I cut in a corner and made varying sizes from very tiny to about 4 inches long and an inch wide.
I think the 3-4 inch and rather thick size was the best as it held the most filling (my favorite part!).
For the filling: vanilla pudding. I bought the store brand instant vanilla pudding mix and, once mixed and cooled, spooned the pudding into a ziploc. Again I cut a hole in the corner. I sliced each of the eclairs' tops and piped in as much pudding as I thought it could handle. Looking back, they could handle even more. Fill them with as much pudding as they can POSSIBLY handle. You see, when refridgerated for a while, the pudding gets absorbed into the shell, which is fine except that it leaves the inside deflated and puddingless. Thus, fill those babies up as much as you can.
Next, the chocolate. This was really a guess and check method, using my roommate and I as guinnea pigs to see when to add more sugar. The answer: most of the time. I used the recipe listed for the ganache, but I only had unsweetened, not bittersweet, chocolate. Needless to say, it needed a lot of sugar! Eventually I got it right after tasting undersweetened ganache many times. I actually used the microwave to heat it up in a bowl, then I dipped each eclair in and used a spoon to spread the chocolate around and get off the excess.
At the recomendation of run-girl-run I put the 2 plates of eclairs into the fridge until dessert time when the 8 of us downed a plate and a half. The other plate is in front of me now, and I doubt it will make it through the day! This is definately one to try again! Enjoy my little murderers!