Modern French Pastry - Bourbon Eclairs

Bourbon Eclairs.jpg
Bourbon Eclairs.jpg

Award winning chef, Cheryl Wakerhauser joined us to show us a recipe for Bourbon Eclairs. The recipe is featured in Cheryl's new cookbook, "Modern French Pastry: Innovative Techniques, Tools and Design".

Hone Your Skills with Instruction from a Master of Pâtisserie

The perfect pâte á choux, tart dough or meringue is combined with a unique modern twist that make these desserts unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Cheryl Wakerhauser, award-winning chef and owner of Pix Pâtisserie, is known for crafting bold flavors and textures into stunning cakes, tarts, coupes, entremets and petits fours. Now, with Cheryl’s professional guidance, you can finally nail the challenging techniques that are the foundations of beautiful French pastry. Every dessert is broken down into easy-to-follow sub-recipes that can be done in advance for convenience, and even interchanged with other recipes to create your own signature dessert.

Whether you’re making The Oregon Get Down?sweet tart dough, caramelized pears, hazelnut cream and rosemary ganache?or Miniature Bourbon Éclairs with bourbon pastry cream and cherry jam, each impressive creation will taste just as good as it looks.

For more information about Cheryl and her book, click here.



Soon to trounce the macaron?

The éclair has made a resurgence in Paris in recent years as it’s given itself a makeover. The new éclair now is

always covered with craquelin for a bit of crunch and comes in a rainbow of colors and flavors beyond the classic

chocolate and coffee we once knew them for. With that said, fill them with whatever you want . . . the possibilities

are endless.

YIELD: 30 mini éclairs


68 g unsalted butter

80 g brown sugar

80 g all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and brown sugar on medium

speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and mix on low speed until sandy, about 1 minute. Pour onto a

silicone baking mat and squeeze the mixture in your hands until it starts to stick together. Top it with a second

silicone baking mat, smooth side down.

Roll the dough between the smooth sides of the mats into a rough 28-centimeter (11-in) square about the thickness

of a credit card. Thinner is better, as the craquelin can weigh down the éclair and restrict their rising. Peel back the

top mat and replace it with a piece of parchment. Holding the 2 corners of the paper and the mat farthest from you,

lift and flip the craquelin over so the parchment is on the bottom. Peel back the second silicone mat. If the mats are

sticking to the craquelin, put them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Using a ruler as a guide, cut a straight edge along the bottom of the craquelin. Move the ruler up 6 centimeters (2.5

in) and make a parallel cut. Continue until cutting rows until you reach the top edge of the craquelin. Then, cut

individual pieces, 2.5 centimeters (1 in) wide, from the rows, leaving them in place on the parchment. Any scraps

can be rerolled, if needed. Freeze the craquelin.


85 g milk

85 g water

4 g salt

8 g sugar

85 g unsalted butter

95 g bread flour, sifted

170 g eggs

One of the core recipes of French pastry. The mixing and baking can be tricky at first. Be sure to follow the

directions and these tips:

1. Be careful not to let the mixture boil before the butter has melted, or else some of your liquid may evaporate

while waiting for the butter to melt. This changes the recipe.

2. The amount of eggs used will vary, depending how dry the mixture is. You may not need them all or you may

need more.

3. Do not substitute other flours for bread flour. The extra gluten in bread flour has the needed strength to capture

the steam released during cooking, leaving the void that will be filled with cream.

Preheat the oven to 350?F (175?C). Line 2 half sheet pans with silicone baking mats. Ina medium saucepan,

combine the milk, water, salt, sugar and butter. Warm the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the

butter is melted. Then, bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add all the flour at once and stir

with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to the stove and continue to stir until all the liquid is absorbed and the mixture

comes together. Once you see a film of dough on the bottom of the pan and the mixture starts to pull away from the

sides and roll toward the middle, about 10 seconds, remove it from the heat. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of the

stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute to cool slightly.

Lightly mix the eggs to break up the yolks. Add about a fifth of the eggs to the warm batter and mix on medium

speed until they are completely absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add another fifth and allow to incorporate. The eggs

may slosh around a bit in the bowl, but slowly they will become absorbed. Continue adding eggs, little by little, until

the batter starts to look glossy and to loosen up, scraping the bottom of the bowl often.

Before all the eggs are added, test the batter by running your finger through it to create a trough. If the tough stays

stiff, add more eggs. If the trough slowly moves back inward, but does not close completely, stop. This step is

crucial. Adding too many eggs or not enough eggs will affect its ability to rise in the oven. Err on the side of less

egg, as with too much egg your choux may end up flat.

Place the pâte à choux in a piping bag fitted with a 1-centimeter (0.5-in) pastry tip. Pipe the dough in 6-centimeter

(2.5-in) straight lines on a silicone baking mat. At the end of the éclair, stop applying pressure to the bag and flick

your wrist slightly down and then up to release the dough from the tip. Leave a 5-centimeter (2-in) space between

each éclair for rising space. Gently place a piece of craquelin on the top of each one.

Place the éclair in the oven, spacing the pans evenly. Bake until the craquelin and the éclair bottoms are light golden

brown, about 30 minutes. Do not open the oven door the first 20 minutes. When they are done, immediately remove

the éclair from the pans and place on a wire rack to cool.


500 g milk

100 g egg yolks

125 g sugar

40 g cornstarch

25 g unsalted butter

28 g bourbon

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine all the pastry cream ingredients, except the bourbon. Blend them with an

immersion blender and then place the bowl in the microwave. Cook on high until the top and sides of the pastry

cream are set and jiggle like Jell-O when you shake the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. The center will still be a bit liquid and

the sides almost curdled. With a clean immersion blender, mix the pastry cream to combine, scrape the sides of the

bowl and continue to blend in the center and also just at the surface until smooth. If, after blending, the cream is still

very runny and has not thickened, continue to cook and blend until you have the consistency of pudding. Cover the

surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Transfer the cold pastry cream to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed

until smooth, about 30 seconds. Stir in the bourbon.


175 g Amarena cherries, well strained

Puree the cherries in a food processor.


400 g dark chocolate

Trace the template (page 198) 30 times onto the smooth side of a chocolate transfer (see Equipment and Ingredient

Sources, page 191) sheet and cut them out. Temper the dark chocolate in the microwave (see Techniques, page 190).

Spread the chocolate, using a small offset spatula, onto the tacky side of the transfer sheet. Place into paper towel

rolls cut in half to curve the sides while the chocolate sets. Work quickly. You may need to rewarm the chocolate

just a tiny bit in the microwave, but don’t overheat it or it will be out of temper. After about 15 minutes, remove the



Place the pastry cream in a piping bag tightly fitted with a small round pastry tip. Pierce the bottom of the éclair in

the center and fill while angling the tip toward each end. Pipe a thin line of pureed cherries along the top. Attach the

chocolate décor to the cherries. Once filled, éclair should be eaten within 24 hours.