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Archive for Agosto, 2008

Daring Bakers - Chocolate Éclairs

Domingo, Agosto 31st, 2008

This month’s  Daring Bakers challenge is Chocolate Éclairs, hosted by Tony Tahhan and MeetaK.

I have published some time ago a recipe of profiteroles and it came out just fine. Unfortunately this one was not so good.  The puff dough was fine and the glaze too, but the chocolate pastry cream was not creamy enough to pipe and I had to add a bit of flour to make it more consistent (which is not the ideal solution). I should have done it with chantilly instead.

Despite the problems, the éclairs were very tasty. Thanks for the challenge!


Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.  In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled.  Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it  remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104  F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly.  Then reduce the heat  to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or  a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.


O desafio dos Daring Bakers deste mês foi fazer Éclairs de Chocolate. Os anfitriões foram Tony Tahhan e MeetaK.  

Eu já tinha uma receita boa para a massa que permite também fazer profiteroles (recomendo). A que experimentei não correu tão bem. A massa e a cobertura de chocolate até que ficaram bons, mas o recheio de chocolate não teve a consistência certa para rechear e por isso tive que adicionar farinha (nada recomendável).

Deveria ter recheado com chantilly, para mim o ideal para éclairs e profiteroles. Desta vez não vou traduzir a receita, pois prefiro a que tinha publicado há uns tempos.


Blog Action Day

Sexta-feira, Agosto 29th, 2008

O Blog Action Day é uma iniciativa anual sem fins lucrativos que pretende unir os bloggers de todo o mundo ao publicarem no mesmo dia posts sobre uma mesma temática. O objectivo é que todos tomem consciência acerca da problemáica escolhida e consequentemente que se levante uma discussão global.

Este ano o tema é a Pobreza. Convidam-se então todos os bloggers a publicarem posts que tenham como pano de fundo o tema. A iniciativa decorrerá no dia 15 de Outubro. Inscrevam-se.

Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.

In 2008, the Blog Action Day theme is Poverty. Bloggers are free to interpret this as they see fit. We invite bloggers to examine poverty from their own blog topics and perspectives, to look at it from the macro and micro, as a global condition and a local issue, and to bring their own ideas, views and opinions on the subject.”

The Shining, um clássico a rever

Sexta-feira, Agosto 22nd, 2008

O filme é um clássico. Não diria de terror, apesar de assim estar classificado pela FNAC. Talvez o categorizasse como um thriller psicológico intenso que supera qualquer filme do género actualmente, salvo raríssimas excepções.

O fenómeno deve-se à realização de Kubrick e às fabulosas interpretações de Jack Nicholson e Shelley Duvall, não esquecendo o argumento baseado no livro de Stephen King.

Decididamente a rever.


The film is a classic. In my opinion it’s not a horror movie, but an intense thriller that overcomes any movie in that category nowadays, except for some fortunate exceptions.
This happens due to the direction of Kubrick and amazing performances of Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. And let’s not forget the script based on the book by Stephen King.

Definitely a must see.

Barcelona, por todas as razões e mais uma

Terça-feira, Agosto 19th, 2008

Barcelona é um óptimo destino de férias. Diz quem lá esteve há muitos anos, tantos que não se lembra de muito, apenas sabe que gostou imenso.

Entretanto, a cidade evoluiu ainda mais e tornou-se uma referência na arte da pastelaria, diz quem lá esteve recentemente e é fácil acreditar pelos links recomendados e pelas fotos.

Pois bem. Há a pastelaria Escribà, com dois estabelecimentos na cidade e com um site extremamente elaborado, fazendo jus ao lema: “Não fazemos só pastéis, criamos ilusões”.


(c) Escribà

Depois, o Bubò, uma outra pastelaria de renome com um chef multipremiado e autênticas obras de arte.


(c) Bubò

Na área específica do chocolate, Enric Rovira é um mestre com chocolates de diversos sabores e muito bem decorados.

Depois de toda esta informação resta-me recomendar Barcelona, por todas as razões e mais esta.


Barcelona is a great city. I visited it many, many years ago and I remember only a few things, but I do know it was wonderful being there.

Meanwhile, the city became a referrence in terms of patisseries and chocolatiers. Someone who has been there recently confirms it.

Well. There is the Escribà, a patisserie with two shops in Barcelona and an extremely elaborate website. It intends not only to make cakes but to create illusions. Then, we have Bubò, with an another award-winning chef and a patisserie full of masterpieces.

Finnaly, it’s well worth a visit to the chocolatier Enric Rovira , a master of different flavoured and decorated chocolates.

After all this I have to recommend Barcelona, for all reasons and one more.

Get Smart

Quarta-feira, Agosto 13th, 2008

Estamos na chamada silly season e nada melhor do que um filme leve e divertido. Recomendo pois o Get Smart, a versão cinematográfica da série Olho Vivo, pela qual não morria de amores, confesso. No entanto, o filme está bem conseguido e arranca gargalhadas. Vejam o trailer.

We’re at the silly season. Nothing better than a good funny movie to watch. If you can’t beat them…

Well, I recommend Get Smart, the movie version of the tv series which I didn’t like at all, I confess. However, I enjoyed this version and I laughed a lot.