As hard as I try for perfection, sometimes it just isn't meant to be. If I had a large family or more friends to practice on, I might have done a practice run with this recipe. But what you see is what we got. I couldn't decide what flavor I wanted to use, so I made coffee and chocolate. The end result wasn't quite what I had pictured in my head, but they were delicious, if not the most beautiful eclairs I've ever seen.
The recipe was time-consuming to make, all the steps were fairly easy. My only bump in the road was not cooking my eclairs long enough. At least, I think that was why they sank flat as pancakes. As soon as I rotated my pans, actually, I noticed them deflating. They looked golden brown and were firm to the touch, so I thought I should take them out so the bottoms didn't burn. I was able to cut them in half to fill with pastry cream, but just barely.
Using a plastic bag worked just fine for piping the dough. It took some time to get the sticky batter inside the bag, and the recipe does state that the dough should still be warm when you work with it. I wonder if that could be part of my problem with the pastries staying puffed? I would like to try this again, maybe with vanilla filling and glaze next time.
If eclairs would keep a few days, they would be the perfect dessert. They have presence and caché, they have pudding centers and shiny glazes. But be sure to have a lot of friends on hand to help you devour these because they get a little soggy after a while. I'm not holding my issues with baking the pastry against them. They turned out very well, all things considered. I especially loved the coffee pastry cream. It was kind of like a café au lait, very creamy with a hint of bitterness from the instant espresso powder.
I may not have felt like a French pastry chef while making these, and mocha eclairs may not be something you would find in Paris, but these sweet treats were definitely transporting. The best thing about making these? Knowing they were in the refrigerator waiting for me to come home from work. That's a happy ending. Don't forget to visit French Fridays with Dorie to see what flavors the other cooks used for their eclairs.