Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eclair 'Notdogs'

This is not a hotdog.

In fact, it's not even savoury. Or hot. Are you confused?

This is my 200th blog post, so it only seemed right to pull out something crazy & fun for the occasion. These are eclairs, made with a chocolate pastry cream for the 'sausage', raspberry sauce for the 'ketchup' and lemon icing for the 'mustard'. And they taste really, really good.
I know I must sound like a total nutjob right now, but I kind of love these. It was an idea that I've had for a long time, making choux pastry and filling it with chocolate pastry cream to make it look like a hotdog. The only problem was, I had never made choux pastry. In fact, I didn't really like choux pastry. Is that a terrible, shocking thing to say? I've just had so many badly made profiteroles that are hard and tasteless at birthday parties, it had totally put me off choux pastry. When did people give up on the humble birthday cake?? But then I had a really wonderful, freshly made one at Blancharu, and I knew I had to try making it for myself. After watching all the crazy drama of the croquembouche making on Masterchef, I was expecting it to be scary and guaranteed to fail.
But then I started making my pastry cream. And it came out smooth, and silky and rich. It was divine, and it chilled to the perfect texture. And then I prepared my very first choux paste, and it went quickly, smoothly and just like the pictures in my Le Cordon Bleu cooking book. Then I piped my mixture out and stuck it in the oven and like magic, they puffed up! Even my little practice profiterole came out like a perfect, little hollow sphere. Yep, it was magical.
But then I sliced open my cooled eclair pastries, and proceeded to pipe my little chocolate 'sausages'. And then I realised they looks a little bit like dog turds. Shoot. It was mostly the fact that they were sausage like and very shiny. I tried to solve the dog turdness by sprinkling some cinnamon over the top of the sausages, which I think was quite cool since it sort of gave them a kind of charred look. And the squiggles of the raspberry sauce (which was a little runny so it bled into the pastry unfortunately) and the lemon icing seemed to reduce the poo effect. But some people still made dog poo comments.
The part that surprised me the most about these is that they tasted so much better than I expected. The pastry was light and crisp, the pastry cream was smooth and creamy and the sauces on top provided a gentle acidity and a little extra texture. And to me, they were pretty close to looking like hot dogs. There's something so satisfying about creating something that looks nearly exactly like you pictured it in your crazy brain. And it was surprisingly easy. On the matter of choux pastry, I think I might be converted. They were so fun to make! Don't be scared off by the long method and all the different ingredients, if you are organised and do the pastry cream the night before, then it will all come together easily.

Eclair 'Notdogs'
(adapted from Le Cordon Bleu 'Complete Cooking Step-by-Step')
Yield: About 16 mini dessert hotdogs

For the choux paste:
125g butter
1/4 tsp salt
150g plain flour
4 medium eggs

For the pastry cream:
335ml milk
3 medium egg yolks
15g cornflour
100g caster sugar
75g dark chocolate

For the 'condiments':
Ground cinnamon
Raspberry jam OR 100g frozen raspberries + 1 tbsp sugar
75g unsalted butter
75g icing sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
yellow food colouring

Prepare the pastry cream; bring milk to the boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks with caster sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in cornflour until combined. Gradually whisk hot milk into yolk mixture in bowl. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a double boiler or in the microwave.

Return mixture to pan, cook over high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and boils. Do not take your eye off it or it will turn into scrambled eggs. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in melted chocolate and then pour pastry cream into a shallow dish. Press cling film onto surface to keep skin from forming as it cools. Refrigerate pastry cream for at least 2 hours hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and line two baking sheets with baking paper. Heat butter, salt and 225 ml water in a 3 litre saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture boils. Remove from heat. Using wooden spoon, vigorously stir in flour all at once until mixture forms ball and leaves side of pan.
Cool slightly. Add eggs to flour mixture, once at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is smooth and satiny.
Spoon paste into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1cm round nozzle (or use another zip loc bag). Pipe paste into strips about 8cm long 2cm wide, 2-3cm apart, onto baking sheet.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Transfer eclairs to wire rack to cool.
If using the raspberries, gently heat raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan on low heat, mushing them up with a fork until they cook down into a thick syrup. Strain out seeds and then cool. Beat butter and sifted icing sugar using an electric mixer in a small mixing bowl. Add lemon juice and enough yellow food colouring so that it looks like American mustard. Place both the raspberry sauce and the lemon icing in two separate squeeze bottles or piping bags with narrow tips.
With your cooled eclair pastries, use a serrated knife to slice horizontally through the top middle of each eclair. Cut halfway and leave the bottom half still attached.
Pipe your pastry cream using piping bag a 1cm round tip (or a zip lock bag with a hole cut out of one of the bottom corners, this will save you a lot of washing up), along the middle of the eclair where you made your cut. Try to make it look as much like a sausage as you can, using your fingers to gently pinch the edges so they are slightly rounded and peek out each end of the eclair. Dust the surface of the piped pastry cream with ground cinnamon.
Pipe the raspberry sauce in a squiggle over the top of the pastry cream to represent the ketcup, followed by a squiggle of the lemon icing to represent the mustard.
Serve immediately. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but is best eaten on the day it was baked.
So as I mentioned before, this is my 200th post on this blog. It's taken a little longer to rack up my second 100, but I've had even more fun doing it and I hope it continues that way for the however many hundred posts that there may be in the future. I do this because it's a fun hobby and an escape from the drab routine of fulltime work, I don't think I would keep it up if it felt like a chore or a job. It's exciting to challenge myself to be a better baker. Plus it's a good excuse to go out and eat tasty food with my friends :) So thanks for reading, and for all your lovely comments, you know I appreciate them so much!
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  1. Brilliant! They really do look like hotdogs and it's amazing that the unsplit eclairs look like pide. It's only 8:30m and this is seriously screwing with my not-quite-awake brain =p

    Congrats on the Big 200!!

  2. Now this is all kinds of awesome! I was totally fooled by the first picture! What a way to start with your first attempt at choux pastry and congrats on your 200th post! Looking forward to reading many more!

  3. That's brilliance in a faked-out-savoury-sweet Miss Steph! Congratulations on hitting the second hundred - I can't wait to see what the next hundreds bring :)

  4. A very delectable, yet unusual 200th post! Nice one

  5. Happy 200th post Steph! And what a cute way to celebrate it! I can totally see how they would work although they do look very much like hot dogs!

  6. Your notdogs look so real! And great work on the choux pastry. Congrats on your 200th post, bring on the next 1000!

  7. Woah! that is mad....... so clever! I reckon this will go down well at a kid's party! or a food blogger party! LOL congrats on the big two-Oh-OH!

  8. haha oh steph you crack me up bigtime! these are so creatively deceiving! congratulations on your 200th post!

  9. What a post for your 200th. The Notdogs look amazing, by the first pic you would never ever know. Well done on the eye trickery, they look fantastic.

  10. Omg you've reached 200 posts already? I'm not even there yet... I think, gawd I'm so lazy!

    But congrats x 1000! And ummm... gimme some of that pastry cream!

  11. Happy 200th post! Those eclairs rock! Wow, so creative.

  12. I love this, but am simultaneously grossed out by it, but am quite sure that the love is greater than the grossness :D Brilliant 200th post for such a creative cook. Nice one yet again Steph, you clever clogs.

  13. dude that is freaking awesome! congrats on the 200th post!

  14. Haha, I totally thought they were hot dogs. Congrats on your 200th blog post! I definitely want to try this out sometime. See how many people I can fool :).

  15. Happy 200th post! You are a total genius!!! I was fooled at first and I was thinking, "What is it if it's not a hotdog?"

  16. Steph they look amazing. How creative. How cool would they be at a
    birthday party. Ehhehe

  17. congrats on your 200th post!! and these look like hot dogs...seriously

  18. Congrats on your 200th!!! These elcair notdogs are adorable and really had me fooled!! My initial reaction was - is someone really reviewing or making hotdogs??! And the faux mustard and ketchup sauces are a nice finishing touch. CUTE!

  19. These are amazing! I was definitely fooled - and wouldn't believe it even as I was reading the post!

  20. Congrats on reaching your 200th post! The notdogs are a great idea and I love the name as well!

  21. This is sooo clever! Kids -- of any age -- would go gah-gah for these. Even those old enough to prefer beer with their not-dogs. ;)

  22. Congrats on reaching your 200th post! These not-dogs are crazy!!! Brilliant :)

  23. Awesome!!! I was fooled by the first two pics. But congrats on your 200th post.

    I expect a roast chicken cake for your 300th :D

  24. Heehee... sooo adorable. I know I can leave it up to you to confuse my senses and then make it all hungry and better in the end! Happy 200th!

  25. Brilliant Steph. Very tricky! Kids would especially love the concept. Congratulations, 200! Thanks so much for keeping it up. Great job.

  26. I made choux pastry at high school in my home ec class and it worked perfectly ... one might say nothing to it! But then I tried to make some again last year (admittedly there have been a fair few years inbetween attempts!) and it failed in the most spectacular way. You've inspired me to give it another try though. Great concept, happy 200th post.

  27. You are a crazy lady! They look fab and congrats on your 200th post. What a way to celebrate :)

  28. what the sausage??? eclair? steph you are one creative baker!!! COngrats on the 200th post!!! gosh cant believe you've posted soo manyy you go girl!

  29. Wow! That looks fantastic! I must make it for our next morning tea and serve it to our resident vegetarian!! hehe Thanks for the great idea!

  30. YAY! Congrats on your 200th post Steph! These notdogs are so awesome, and so creative! I love them! They look like the perfect way to celebrate too! Here's to 200 more fabulous posts :) xx

  31. mademoiselle délicieuse - Haha they do look like pide, I didn't notice that before! Haha trust me I confused a lot of people with it :) Thanks!

    Helen (Grab Your Fork) - Haha yay! I was scared people would be like, 'Uhh that looks nothing like it'

    shez - :D Thank you! I like doing the whole 'but wait, is it what you think it is?' thing!

    john - Haha thanks very much!

    Lorraine - Thank you! It turned out surprisingly tasty, I expected disaster!

    Belle - Yay thank you! It's very satisfying getting them to work :)

    billy - Haha yeah! I definitely would have loved it as a kid. Maybe i'll make it for the next blogger party :) Thanks!

    Trisha - Heehee :) Glad you liked them!

    Sara - Aww thank you so much! I had to celebrate somehow :)

    Karen - Haha I know, it's a little nuts. Trust me, I'm slowing down.I had so much of it leftover I was eating it like choc pudding!

    Velva - Thank you very much!

    Conor - Hahaha oh good, I wouldn't want to grossness to outweigh everything else! Thank you :)

    chocolatesuze - Haha thanks very much!

    unmacaronrose - :D Awesome! Hope you manage to fool people :)

    Ellie - Thank you dear! haha yeah some people came up with some pretty wild guesses when i showed it to them...

    A cupcake or two - They would be awesome at a birthday party! I will have to do that sometime

    panda - Haha yay thanks!

    Flirting with Flour said - Thank you so much :) Haha yes that would be a pretty boring blog post!

    Su-Lin - Heehee, that's kinda awesome :D

    Jacq - Thanks Jacq! haha apparently they already use them for vegetarian hot dogs, but whatever!

    Carolyn Jung - Haha well I'm a big kid, which is probably why I had to make them! :D Haha thanks!

    Ladybird - Thanks!

    foodwink - Hehe :D Thank you very much! Haha I'll work on it ;)

    Trissa - Haha yay! So are you hungry for an eclair or for a hotdog now? ;)

    Kate -Thanks so much!

    Chele - Aww thats too bad they failed the second time! You should give it a go again, it's not too hard to get right!

    lili - haha I pride myself on my level of crazy :D Thank you!

    Leona - Heehee thanks Lee :D I know, I post too often, I have no life!

    SoRMuiJAi - haha do it! let me know if you do!

    Betty - Whee welcome back! Thank you :)


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