Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Éclairs

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!

44 comments:

Cristine said...

Wonderful eclairs! They look gorgeous. I am going to pass this on to my vegan friends. Great job!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very pretty and scrumptious looking! Great job!

cheers,

Rosa

maybelle's mom said...

bravo. great veganizing.

VeggieGirl said...

I LOVE your version of this month's DBC!!! They actually remind me of little profiteroles, haha ;0)

Arika said...

Oh wow, These look incredible and just the right size too! Love your blog.

Arika

Animal-Friendly said...

Those look so fancy! I love the little cocoa nibs on top- too cute.

shellyfish said...

Looks beautiful as usual, Amanda! I just loved this challenge! I also loved eating it.

Marija said...

Such cute minis!

Mcwhisky said...

That is one plate of adorable eclairs! Thumbs up!

Carrie™ said...

Kudos to you for recreating not only the pastry but the cream as well. If they taste as good as they look, it would be heaven.

sweetpotato said...

Wow, those photos are so pretty! Great job!

Hannah said...

Glad to see that not all of the vegans came out of this challenge disappointed. :)

Angela said...

Bravo! Your éclairs came out wonderfully!

Ricki said...

What gorgeous eclairs! Love the cocoa nibs on top. They look just luscious, bubble and all :)

Maggie said...

Gorgeous puffs! I wish I had made a vanilla bean filling.

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Ohmygod. You are my hero.

Speedbump Kitchen said...

Very nice, I'll have to try your choux recipe!

Leonor said...

Your éclairs look lovely and cute...
:)

Veronica said...

Cute! I'm anxious for the day that the vegan cream puff is perfected... until then - gorgeous!

the little one said...

Great job! I voted for your cupcake. Good luck!

Urban Vegan said...

You daring bakers are a bunch of temptresses...this is the 3rd lucscious eclair I've seen tonight. *drool, drool*

jennycestcake said...

Excellent job on this challenge! Your photos are fabulous, too!

aTxVegn said...

Very impressive eclairs! I'm truly amazed to see these vegan versions. My dad loved them and I would bake them (nonvegan) for him occasionally, but I never dreamed of vegan eclairs. Really great job, Amanda!

Vegetation said...

Mmmm yum, those eclairs look incredible!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Ooh, they look gorgeous & delicious!

Lauren said...

OMG! I LOOOOOVE ECLAIRS!! I don't think I've had one in 10 years! How sad!

Dragon said...

These are more than cute, they are adorable. You have an artistic flair for plating!

Dragon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Destiny's Vegan Kitchen said...

Wow, it seems you've had the best results of the blogs I've read so far! That's great! They look exactly like the traditional ones too.

jane said...

I am impressed. These look wonderful. While I truly enjoyed the taste of my eclairs. Yours put me to shame!
I love the idea of using cocoa nibs on top.
Great job!
Jane of VeganBits.com

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Incredible photos! I love the black and white motif.

Bert said...

Those eclairs look fantastic and I bet they taste even better. PS: I voted in the Cupcake challenge - good luck!

Amber said...

"in the land of meat eating republicans" that is pretty funny. I do not know how you vegans are so creative, it is amazing, and your eclairs are beautiful.

Mihl said...

Obviously I don't take part in this challenge, but whever the results are out, your blog is one of the first I check and I am never dissapointed. The eclairs look wonderful.

Cookiemouse said...

Very nice!

The Voracious Vegan said...

WOW! These are the best vegan eclairs I have ever seen. You are so talented, I bet they are so tasty! Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures.

Bianca said...

Wow! You are awesome! I wouldn't have a clue how to recreate an eclair! I wish I could pop a couple of those in my mouth right now!!!

tofufreak said...

ooooh. aaaaaaaaaah. very lovely eclairs and presentation!

i need to try these out sometime soon!

twoveganboys said...

The eclairs look terrific. And you are right, it has been too hot to stand over a stove. Gotta love the Texas heat. It has been 100 degrees here lately in Austin.

Krys

Stacey and Sergio said...

Your photos are always so neat! These look great! I don't think I've ever had an eclair! Is there any vegan French food? We'd like to travel to France one day.

jessy said...

awwwwwww! they're adorable! glad you had such success! i do think the little bubble is the cutest! :) and i love the nibs on top! mmmmmmmmmm!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Gosh, we REALLY need to open a vegan bakery... well, actually, you are so good that you don't even need me; you could easily open an amazing bakery all on your own. Just promise me it'll be in Texas, so I can visit, 'kay?

Anonymous said...

OMG you need to open up a Bakery.. here in Houston. like in the Heights i would so go everyday!!! lol!! i would love to taste one of your cakes or treats.. For sure going to order one for the Holidays coming up... will be in contact.. but think about it.. Vegan Bakery!!! Go for it!!

Sugar Plum Vegan said...

Your eclairs look divine. I am adding you to my blogroll fellow vegan and daring baker.