Eager as always to find out what the next Daring Baker challenge would be, checking almost hourly for the new baking assignment, my jaw must have hit the floor when it was finally announced. Seriously, talk about unbelievably well-timed coincidences- Having finally made some serious headway on making vegan cream puffs, who could have even hoped to guess that we were assigned the task of creating éclairs?! Not me, that’s for sure!
Although there was still some work to be done on the recipe, as I had mentioned previously, I was confident that this one would be a breeze. Naturally, that was my major downfall, right from the start. Putting it off for weeks, certain that all would go well, there was no time left to correct mistakes should they occur. …Can you see where this is going?
While the first batch of pate a choux may have appeared stunning, they looked much better than they tasted. Tough and rather bland, spectacular pastries they were not. In attempts to tenderize and inject some more flavor, they became structurally compromised and fell faster than a soufflé out of the oven. Not a disaster, but definitely not an éclair, all that could be done was use two of the flat ovals to create one whole pastry. Forming a top and bottom from the skinny choux pieces instead of slitting one in half as directed, they looked good enough that I could let it go. Sad to say, I’m not yet ready to release this recipe, but there should be a lot of good alternatives out there now, thanks to this challenge.
Then came the choice of what to fill these with! Reaching deep into into my cupboards for inspiration, I settled on a peanut-butter-scotch mousse, which was rich, decadent, and delicious…. in theory. In reality, it was unctuous and over-sweetened, nothing that I would wish to share outside of the family. Alas, these éclairs have nothing more than pretty facades covering up unappealing, insipid personalities. Someday soon I hope to revise both recipes, but this particular challenge didn’t work out so well after all.
Disappointing to be sure, but still, I wouldn’t consider it a complete failure. It’s just one step closer to the perfect vegan pate a choux.