Baking Through the Alphabet: D is for Dulce de Leche Eclairs

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Hello to all my new readers!

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It’s crazy how much my blog has grown the past few weeks, all thanks to Welcome Home on Facebook! I know there are a lot of comments sitting in my inbox, but I promise I’ll get to them soon! I’ve been swamped with finals and projects these past two week and haven’t had the chance to get around to them. But guess what? Finals are done, projects have been submitted, fall quarter duties have been relieved, so I can safely say…

HELLO WINTER BREAK!

Yes, I survived another quarter of college (all through the grace of God, of course). It’s been a crazy one, but I’m thankful for it all.

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I had meant for this post to be my “Happy Thanksgiving!” post, so let me just say…Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! I hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing Thanksgiving with your loved ones (food included!). I know I did–it was great to be at home during the week with family and friends. I had lunch with my family, reunited with (actually, MET for the very first time) some extremely distant cousins for dinner (we have the same great-great-great grandma), and hung out with high school and church friends. It was a weekend well spent!

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I’m still baking my way through the alphabet. I know I’m only four letters in, but this letter kind of sucked. I knew I wanted to do dulce de leche eclairs, but it took me THREE tries to get the filling right. First, I tried making this diplomat cream, which is basically a combination of whipped cream and pastry cream. It was perfect since I had a bunch of leftover egg yolks from making macarons. But I messed up because I overcooked the pastry cream and ended up with this ugly, chunky, scrambled egg mess. Not good. Delicious!, but not good. I decided to make a dulce de leche whipped cream by beating together dulce de leche and heavy cream. All was well, until I got a little selfish and wanted stiffer peaks. So I put the bowl back under the wire whisk, turned it on, and ran to get my camera. I swear, it was only like 20 seconds, but by the time I got back the cream was overbeat (is that a word?) and had turned into a curdled mess. Boo.

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Third time was the charm. I used my trusty cream puff recipe from Joy of Baking, and piped logs instead of little mounds. The eclairs did come out a little fatter than I would’ve liked and I’ll have to pipe thinner logs next time, but they were still delicious. I spread a little dulce de leche on the bottom shell of the eclair, filled it with dulce de leche whipped cream, topped it with its other half, and topped that with chocolate ganache. The chocolate and dulce de leche go so nicely together, and it’s a nice twist to your typical cream puff/eclair. My roommates said it was a little too sweet for them (it was okay for me), but if you want it less sweet, you can spread less dulce de leche onto the bottom puff or skip it altogether. Either way, the chocolate ganache with the eclair shell and the dulce de leche whipped cream will be tres excelente (insert the “ok” hand emoji here).

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Dulce de Leche Eclairs
Makes 16 eclairs
Adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:

For the Choux Pastry:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup dulce de leche (more or less, to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the chocolate ganache:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1. For the choux pastry: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a Silpat or parchment paper. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat; bring to a boil. Make sure the butter is completely melted before the water boils. Remove it from the heat, and using a wooden spoon, add the flour, sugar, and salt, stir until combined. Return the saucepan back to the heat, and keep stirring until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball.

2. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, and beat it to release the steam from the dough. When the dough is lukewarm, mix in the eggs until you have a smooth, thick paste. The dough will separate but will come together to form a thick paste. The dough should fall from the spoon in a thick ribbon.

3. Place the dough in a pastry bag and pipe oblongs of dough onto the baking sheet. I made mine slightly larger, but the original recipe piped “12 oblongs of dough about 3/4 inch wide. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the shells are an amber color and are almost dry inside when split. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack.

4. For the filling: With a whisk attachment (or a whisk, if you’re doing it by hand), beat the cream until soft peaks form. Mix in the dulce de leche, and beat until the cream holds stiff peaks. Add more dulce de leche if you want a stronger flavor. Mix in the vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to use.

5. For the chocolate ganache: Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream until just boiling and pour it over the chocolate. Gently stir until the chocolate is melted.

6. For assembly: Split the pastry shells in half, lengthwise. Take the top shell, dip it into the chocolate glaze, and let the excess drip off. Let it dry. Spread a little dulce de leche onto the bottom half (you should have some extra from the can), and fill it (can spoon or pipe) with the dulce de leche cream. Place the top half of the pastry shell on the cream. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it can be stored for two days. Enjoy!

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!