Day 80 21 March – éclairs

Tonight is the season finale of the Great British Beak Off (2015), and I have my money on Nadiya. I am always inspired to bake every time I watch this show. These are ordinary people; mothers, fathers, labourers but all with a common interest, home baking. They strive to improve and correct their mistakes. But what I am most impressed with is the their determination to create difficult bakes with each challenge. I would have withered into a ball of hopelessness if I had to come across a ‘flop’.

In honour of the show, and to finish off my own baking challenge, I decided to bake éclairs. I have made choux pastry before and it is such an easy dough to make, but for some reason I have always thought that making an éclair is much harder than profiteroles. I found this easy to follow coffee éclair recipe.

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I find it therapeutic beating the choux with all my might to get it shiny and to a dropping consistency, and lightly squeezing the piping bag to create perfectly even (yeah right) finger size shapes. My mind escapes to an old bake house, where I bake in for the small village community. The residents waving as they pass the window and greeting me with their thick yet delicate accent. I have no worries, no concerns, no anxiety.

Once the oven buzzer goes off, I noticed the top tray’s éclairs didn’t rise as well as the bottom ones. It wasn’t after they came out that I realized I never sprinkled water on the grease-proof paper before piping the dough. I did however do that for the second batch and they are perfect. From what I understand the sprinkle of water provides the moisture for the dough to create steam. I surely wasn’t going to waste the not so perfect éclairs and also filled them with vanilla cream and dipped them into the coffee icing and you couldn’t tell the difference, basically you fake it till you make it!

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Baking feeds more than the soul, it nourishes the mind too.

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Day 79 20 March – patisserie

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Ah, there is nothing better than taking a short 5 minute break and walk across the courtyard to the French patisserie, Cuff Café, and ordering my regular single shot flat white, with a baked goodie. The soft instrumental music playing in the background, the glass display case filled with decadent patisseries, the aroma of fresh brewing coffee and the welcoming smile of the owner makes my Monday a little bit sweeter.

I have always been fascinated with France, Provence to be exact. I don’t know if it is because I am of French decent, or if it’s the old romantic in me. I often day dream of strolling through Old Town, visiting historical museums or taking in the capturing sights of the lavender fields.

*sigh*

C’est la vie.