Eating Alpha Eclairs
Alpha Episode 1, Is There More To Life Than This?
“I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.” - Ecclesiastes 1:14
These simple yet elegant eclairs are two metaphors in one. We will fill only one side of the eclair with a rich raspberry cream while leaving the other side empty.
We will also use two different chocolates, one bitter with no sugar to cover the empty side, and a 70% dark on the raspberry filled side.
The empty and bitter Chocolate side represents how even though people can look good on the outside, the trials of our broken world can often leave us empty and even bitter. It also represents the emptiness that “chasing after the wind”, or only seeking the pleasures of life readily brings.
The second side represents how exploring and discussing life’s biggest questions in a community of others who are also on the same journey can lead to a more abundant and satisfying life. We may not have all the answers, but God is faithful to enrich our lives with meaning and purpose as we seek him with our whole hearts.
Place a raspberry or a small mark on the raspberry filled end of the eclair. Then be sure to instruct your guests to eat the hollow side first to be able to get the full effect of this edible metaphor.
1 medium sized pot
A stand mixer with paddle or hand mixer
1 Spatula or wooden spoon
2 Piping Bags or 2 large zip lock bags. Masking tape if using zip lock bags. See note below for using Ziplock bags.
½” Star piping tip (Wilton #8B) (Highly recommended)
1 small straight piping tip
1 cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Fine mesh strainer
2 small Microwave safe bowls
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
400g frozen Raspberries
12-15 Fresh Raspberries for garnish (Optional)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Choux Pastry The following is a standard Choux pastry recipe from Le Cordon Blue Culinary school. This will make 15 - 4” long Eclairs. Weighing your ingredients is the most accurate method for baking eclairs. I have also given the equivalent measurements in cups and ml.
Choux Pastry Ingredients
175 g or170 ml or 3/4 cup of milk
70 g or 1/3 cup of butter
7 g or 2 teaspoons of sugar
1.5 g or 1/3 teaspoon salt
100 g or 7/8 cup flour
3 eggs (140 g) Whisked.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1- 2 Tablespoons of icing sugar
Choux Pastry Method.
Heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over low heat. When the butter melts, bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat immediately. Add the flour into the hot liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until a firm dough forms. Return the saucepan to low heat to dry out the dough; continue beating until it forms a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the saucepan. Transfer the dough to a your mixer bowl and let the mixture cool for 5 minutes. Add 3 eggs, one at a time to the choux pastry dough, beating vigorously after each addition.
Using a fine sieve, sprinkle icing sugar over the piped eclairs. The icing sugar will help them be crispy and golden brown. Bake in the oven at 350 F for 30 - 35 minutes until the eclairs are golden brown. When they are finished, turn your oven off and let them slowly cool down and crisp up in the oven with the oven door ajar for an additional 5 minutes. Remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack until they are cool completely.
If you do not have a piping bag with a star tip you can also use a large zip lock bag and masking tape. Tape 3 layers of masking tape on one of the bottom corners of the bag. Then using scissors cut a 45” diagonal about 1/2” of the taped corner. Then cut 4 “V”’s out making your own star tip. The masking tape gives the ridged edges you need to imitate a pastry tip. See picture below.
Heat the frozen raspberries in a pot on medium heat, stirring occasionally until berries break down and turn into a syrup. Add 1/4 cup of sugar (optional).
Pass the melted raspberries through a fine meshed strainer to separate the seeds. Discard the seeds and place the raspberry sauce in the fridge to cool.
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add 1 teaspoon of Vanilla to the cream. Whip the cream. Gently fold in the cooled raspberry Coulis into cream. Place the raspberry ream in Pastry bag that is fitted with a small straight tip. Fill one side of the eclairs by poking a small hole in the bottom of the eclair with a small paring knife. Gently fill the one side of the eclair with the raspberry cream by squeezing the cream from the pastry bag through your small hole in the eclair. You will feel the eclair fill and plump up.
***Only fill one side of the eclair leaving the other side empty***
Double Chocolate Topping
1 -100 gram bar of Lindt 85% Chocolate
1 - 100 gram Bar of Lindt 70% Chocolate
Finely chop or grate your 2 types of chocolate separately. Melt ⅔ of each type of chocolate separately in a microwave safe bowl 30 seconds at a time, stirring between bursts for a total of 90 seconds or until the chocolate is fully melted. Chocolate will burn easily, that is why it’s important to heat and stir in bursts.
Once the chocolate is melted, add the remaining grated chocolate and stir to incorporate. This will help temper your chocolate.
Once you have your two chocolates melted separately, spoon them out onto a plate forming two circles of melted chocolate that just touch in the middle.
Then simply dip your eclairs in the melted chocolate. Centring the middle of the eclair into the middle of the two chocolates, ensuring that the 85% chocolate is on the hollow end of the eclair.
Serve the 85% chocolate and hollow side first and explain the metaphor.
The hollow bitter side represents our search for meaning. The filled side represents the satisfaction we find through pursuing God.
Enjoy your eclairs and conversation!
Feel free to ask questions you might have in the comments section below.