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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Caramel Éclair "Thingies" ...inspired by Simply Irresistible {food 'n flix}

Girl inherits quaint restaurant with an amazing kitchen (gorgeous ceilings to covet).

Girl does not inherit the skill needed to keep restaurant afloat.

Girl meets handsome guy, prophesizing older man, and silent-but-magical crab.

Girl transfers hope, sadness, lust, joy...emotion...into her cooking and food.  Mystical fog, floating, passing a tear drop...  Girl can cook.

Life takes a turn for the better for girl, handsome guy, and everybody in her path.

Fun, flirty, mouthwatering, and totally cheesy.  What more can a girl ask for?

I've freely admitted many times in the past that I love a good chic-flick.  Make it a good foodie chic-flick and two free hours, and I feel revitalized!  Plus, Patricia Clarkson is GOLD is this flick.  In my favorite scene, she is taken over by desire when eating one of Amanda's "Caramel Éclair Thingies".   From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to make when I finished Simply Irresistible.

As Tom so eloquently put it, "But these are amazing...  The way it starts in your mouth just travels to your brain and then shoots down your spine and just explodes out of your toes...!"
Caramel Pastry Cream
slightly adapted from Hungry Cravings 
yield: ~2 ½ c.

5 oz. sugar
¼ c. water
2 c. milk, at room temperature
1 ¼ oz. cornstarch
1 oz. sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
½ oz. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine 5 oz. of the sugar and the water in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, brush down the sides of the pan with water, and boil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until caramelized. The sugar will be fragrant and a deep amber color when it is caramelized. Remove the pan from the heat and dip the bottom into an ice water bath for a second or two. Slowly stir in the milk. Return the pan to low heat and stir until smooth. Increase the heat to medium and heat to a simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining 1 oz. of sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg and yolks. Continue whisking while adding the hot caramel mixture in a thin stream. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes, or until it thickens and just begins to bubble. If you see any lumps in the pastry cream, push it through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.  Otherwise, just transfer to a clean bowl and stir in the butter and vanilla. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until ready to use.
Pâte à Choux
(sweet or savory)
adapted from Alton Brown  
yield: ~4 dozen cream puff shells or ~2 dozen éclair shells

1 c. water
¾ stick (6 Tbs./3 oz.) butter 
1 Tbs. sugar*
⅛ tsp. salt 
5¾ oz. bread flour
1 c. eggs, (~5 large eggs; just whisk together, then remove tiny bit extra)

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together, using a wooden spoon, and return to heat. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 or 4 minutes. With mixer on lowest speed add eggs, a little bit at a time, making sure each addition is completely incorporated before continuing. Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth, put dough into piping bag fitted with a round or star tip. 

Pipe immediately into desired shape and place ~2" apart onto parchment (or silpat) lined sheet pans. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350° F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Once they are removed from the oven pierce with a paring knife immediately to release steam.  Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

*If making savory shells, replace the sugar + ⅛ tsp. salt with 1 tsp. salt total.

note: for éclairs, pipe ~5" x 1" / for mini éclairs ~2 ½" x 1" / for cream puff, pipe golf ball sized "rounds"
Now that you have the rich, seductive cream filling and the baked, eggy casing, it's time to get down to the business of making the "thingies"...
Caramel Éclair "Thingies"
...or Caramel Cream Puff "Thingies"
yield: 2-4 dozen

1 recipe Caramel Pastry Cream
1 recipe sweet Pâte à Choux

Make the pastry cream the day before you want to assemble the "thingies".  Once it is cool, pipe the pâte à choux into desired shape/size and bake.

Once the shells are cooled a bit, put the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a small, round tip.  Stick the tip into the bottom or side of your shells and pipe as much cream inside each one as you like.  Enjoy!
Mi amiga Leslie of La Cocina de Leslie is hosting Food 'n Flix: Simply Irresistible this month!

I am also sharing this post with:
crazy sweet tuesday sweet treats thursday SweetToothFriday sweets for a saturday Tasty Tuesdays 33 shades of green TastyTuesdayBB

Would you like to comment?

  1. You get bonus points for the hilarious picture of the creme writing.  Brilliant idea.

  2. These look soooooo incredibly delicious!

  3. These look very delicious!
    -visiting from Sweet Tooth Friday-

  4. How did the pastry cream ever make it into the puffs? I would have piped it into my mouth!! lol,

  5. ThemadscientistskitchenDecember 22, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    will i ever be able to bake like this? They are delicious something that i drool over in the store.

  6. Zee @ The Recipe CodeDecember 22, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    you should have named these Heavenly Caramel Eclair Thingies

  7. Those caramel eclairs are the real stars of that movie!  OMG!  Your Caramel Eclair Thingies looks so good.  And the Caramel Pastry Cream looks so rich and sinfully delicious.  I'm drooling all over my keyboard. :P

  8. Oh yum! These are making me hungry. I've never seen that movie, but I have to add it to my list. Sounds like a perfect one. Thanks for sharing on Crazy Sweet Tuesday!

  9. you write the best reviews, and i love that there is always a food that accompanies them.  both look and sound wonderful!

  10. I am always so in awe of those who make PASTRY CREAM and PATE a CHOUX and GORGEOUS PASTRIES.  Oh my, Heather, these are amazing.

  11. I love the new design around here.  Nice job!  And those caramel eclair thingies are drool worthy.  I wish I had one or three right now for dessert.  Yum!

  12. These are way too complicated for me to make, but I would gladly eat them...preferably by the dozen.

  13. Those really look great and the movie sound great.

  14. Those eclairs look fantastic with caramel pastry cream!

  15. Between the quote and the photos, I am willing these to come to my door. Now, about that silent magical crab...???

  16. Sounds like something I need to check out. These "THINGIES" are something out of this world!

  17. The movie sounds wonderful!  The eclaire thingies are out of my baking comfort zone!

  18. Those look irresistible, indeed! I love that caramel filling. Simply divine.



  19. Highly addictive and irresistible caramel eclairs..

  20. YES! eclair and patte a choux. *melting away*

  21. Awww man! Now my day won't be complete unless I can get a choux bun!

  22. Pastry creams are one of my favorite snacks. Thanks for thinking of me.

  23. Your "thingies" look amazing and are a great pick for the movie. I have to admit it is not one of my favorites but I agree totally that Patricia Clarkson was excellent in it. ;-)