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Bon appetite chocoholics

VIKAS RAI CHAUHAN, pastry chef of Hotel Taj Malabar, shares some baking basics to make chocolate éclairs.

Choclate eclairs.

MY MOTHER always use to complain, that the fabulous dishes that I make in the hotel......... can't be made in the same grandeur at home, but, she was proved wrong, when I made the same things, and some even better at home, and she is now a big hit in her social circles!!

Even you can do the same, the only two things required are, the conviction in yourself, which you can do it, and the other is, a bit of planning... that comes with practice. So, even if things don't come out well the first time, don't give up, because there is no dearth of guinea pigs!!! Try try, till you succeed!

Now, I have been given the opportunity to tell you, the readers, and an array of products, which can be prepared at home only, with a minimum of fuss!!

We'll start with the basics, and then gradually move up to the exquisite gastronomical delights!!! But for those who are aware of the basics, try going through the basics, and you might find something, which you have missed!

We start with the Choux Paste, the stuff from which éclairs are made of!

For this you require the following:

Water: 1 litre
Salted butter: 400 gms
Refined Flour: 600 gms.
Whole Eggs: 15- 18.

In a saucepan, bring the water and butter to boil. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, add the refined flour, and with a spatula, keep on stirring the mixture, till it dries up and leaves the sides.

Now cool the mixture. When the mixture is about room temperature, whisk in the eggs one by one, till all the eggs are incorporated. The resulting batter should be of a Colgate toothpaste consistency!!! Therefore, you have to add the eggs one by one only, otherwise, if it becomes too loose, the whole effect goes away.

The number of eggs that are incorporated, depends on the drying of the flour and water mixture on the range, the drier the mixture is, more it will take the egg, and will rise much more

Now, fill the mixture in a piping bag, or a piping apparatus, affixed with a fancy nozzle.

On a greased baking tray, pipe half the choux paste into small rosettes of equal size, and the rest, into long cylinders of three-inch length.

Bake them in a preheated oven at 200 degree centigrade for 12 minutes, allowing them to rise,

When they become a bit firm and light golden, switch the oven of, and open the door, till the temperature drops to 150 degree centigrade.

Dry the choux paste in the oven till they become hard and golden in colour.

Now you have a versatile product with you, and you can fill it with any of your chosen filling!!!!

Chocolate rum filling:
Dark or bitter chocolate: 200 gms
Cream: 100 ml
Sugar: 50 gms
Rum: 30 ml!! (or more for more fun!)

Now melt the chocolate, as described in the previous article, in the Diwali issue (November 4)

(Melt the chocolate in the microwave first for two minutes. Then stir it, and microwave it again for a second time for another two minutes.) and divide it into two parts.

Drying the mixture.

Whip the cream with the sugar; till it forms soft peaks, that is, when you lift the whisk from the whipped cream, it forms peaks, which are semi soft.

Well, if you over beat... . You'll end with white butter!!! Which is not required in this recipe!!!

Then you fold in half of the chocolate in the cream.

Now, you can add the rum!!! If you, or your friends, enjoy it, you can add more too!! But then, the filling shouldn't get too runny, or you won't be able to pipe it in the éclairs!

You can substitute the rum with any other flavouring, like whisky, or vodka!

Now, make small incisions in the base of the round rosettes, and fill in the filling.

Temper the other half of the chocolate, as told in the Diwali issue.

Add eggs, one at a time.

Fill the chocolate in a piping bag, and make a zigzag design on the chocolate filled éclairs.

Keep in the refrigerator, till the chocolate on the top sets!

Capable to make any gathering a hit, and allow you to implement your ideas!

Orange filling:

For the fruity fresh tangy taste, try this:
Orange juice- 500 ml
Sugar- 100 ml
Cream- 100 ml
Cointreau- (optional) 30 ml

Reduce the orange juice with half the sugar till only 100 ml remains, and allow it to cool.

Whip up the cream to stiff peaks with the remaining sugar. Add the cold orange juice reduction, and the cointreau, the orange flavoured liqueur! Whip the mixture till semi soft peaks form

Alternatively, you can use tang or the new Rasana product according to your taste instead of the reduced orange juice.

Make two small opening on the base of the barrel éclair, and fill in the mixture.

Dust the top with icing sugar, and a few caramelised nuts!

You can arrange both of the varieties on a platter, and let the others enjoy the dexterity of your culinary acumen! You can also play with the flavours; it can be mocha, or pineapple, fudge... ... ... ... ... ... all depends on you!

If you have been making pies at home, you can enhance them by piping the mixture in a lattice pattern on the top, and then bake it .The effect is different altogether, try it out when you bake a pie the next time.

You can even create the famous gateaux Mont blanc using the rosettes of choux paste, by filing them with any filling of your choice, and arrange it in the shape of a mountain, pour the chocolate truffle (recipe give on Diwali issue), dot with rosettes of cream, and red cherries.

Or maybe a croquembouche for an elaborate party!!!

Bon appetite!!

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