Ah, the éclair.... These delightful pastries remind me of the summer I spent a week with my mom and sister in the quaint town of Saint Amour, located in the Franche-Comté region of France. While my mom played her heart out in a flute masterclass, my sister and I were free to roam the streets in search of adventure. While we didn't find much to do besides waiting for stores to open (they seemed to always be closed!), we did make a point of stopping by the local pâtisserie each day for crème-filled éclairs. When the August Daring Bakers challenge was announced, my taste buds were tickled. Could I recreate a vegan version of the eclairs I remembered so fondly?
Traditional éclairs call for a choux pastry, which contains butter, flour, water, and eggs. Perusing the internet for recipes left me doubtful that my vegan version would have that signature "puff." I gave my mini éclairs a fighting chance by adding a bit of baking powder to the "choux" (using a slight variation from this recipe). For the inside, I used agar flakes to create a vanilla bean pastry creme, not as thick as I would have liked, but one can only slave over a hot stove with agar for so long (especially in the heat of summer!). Topped off with chocolate ganache and a few chocolate covered cocoa nibs, and voila!
Check out that bubble in the vanilla bean pastry cream. Too cute, huh? And the best part? I could close my eyes, pop one in my mouth, and be transported back to the streets of St. Amour.... sitting on a bench with an éclair in my hand, a smile on my face, and two people I love by my side.
And just a reminder to vote here for the Iron Cupcake Earth Challenge before September 4 at noon!