Chocolate Eclairs, Cheese Soufflé and other French culinary masterpieces!

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of attending a French cooking demo at the home of Madame Caroline de Poncins, wife of the French Ambassador to Bulgaria.  She was kind enough to give us the afternoon with the Yannis Richard chef to the French residence, who taught us how to prepare an amazing lunch! 

I didn’t know what to expect from this demonstration and was surprised that we would have a chance to cook as well.  We were lead down to the kitchen in the French residence and there were three stations set up for us.  We were a group of 15, so 5 per group.

The calm before the storm!
The storm!
Chocolate Eclair mise en place
Blanquette De Volaille A l’Ancienne (Old Chicken Stew)
The first recipe that we started to prepare was Eclair au Chocolat (Chocolate Eclair), which was something completely new for me baking wise.  The dough was Pâte à chou and I have never prepared anything like this before, so I was quite enthusiastic.  We were given all the recipes, but they were in French, so I will translate a few of them for you, but keeping the measurements in metrics, because translating sucks and metrics are more reliable!!!
Eclair au Chocolat

Dough:
25 cl Water
125g Flour
60g Butter
20g Sugar
3 Eggs
Salt
Pastry Cream:
50cl Milk
100g Sugar
50g Flour
20g Cocoa Powder
3 Egg Yolks
Glaze:
200g Dark Chocolate, broken into small pieces
40g Butter
160g Vegetable Cream
Dough: Bring a pot with the water, salt and sugar to a boil.  
Add the all the flour to the boiling water mixture.  Using a spatula, continuously stir the mixture for a few minutes, until most of the water has evaporated.  Remove the pot from the heat and add the eggs, one at a time and mix nonstop till completely incorporated and forms a moist ball. (You will really need some arm muscles for this, so don’t be discouraged, keep at it.  When it is ready the ball of dough will make a slapping sound when you shake the pot.)
Once you have the right consistency, place the dough in a pastry bag with a wide tip or opening.  You can pipe the dough on to a baking sheet, buttered and floured or on a silicone baking mat.
Make sure to pre-heat the oven to 170C, then bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

Chocolate Pastry Cream: Place the milk into a pot and bring to a boil.  Separate the egg yolks and then combine the yolks with the sugar, whisking until the mixture is white and fluffy. 

Then add the flour and the cocoa to the yolk sugar mixture.  Continue mixing till fully incorporated. 

Pour the boiled milk on the mixture and whisk continuously till it is smooth and creamy.
Place the mixture in a clean bowl, and press plastic wrap on to the surface of the pastry cream, so a skin doesn’t for then refrigerate till ready to use.
Glaze: Heat the cream and the butter in a pot, then add the chocolate, mix until melted and incorporated.  The glaze should be shiny and brilliant, set aside in a warm place, so the glaze doesn’t harden.
Finishing the eclairs: Using a pastry bag fitted with a small – medium size tip, fill the eclairs, use your hand the feel the weight.  You should be able to see the chocolate disperse through the eclair.  Fill them slowly to avoid rupturing the eclair.  Once full they should feel heavy. 
Then dip the tops of the eclair in the chocolate glaze and set aside till you are ready to enjoy!
We also had a chance to prepare and Old Chicken Stew, which was our main course, served with Rice Pilaf.  I will not translate this recipe, but I will share the photos of the process.  I also took some videos of the Chef Richard cutting up a chicken, which was really interesting.  I’ve posted the 4 videos on my Facebook fan page.  Please view them here and become a fan if you aren’t already.
The chicken cut into pieces
All the chicken, plus carcass into the pot with Maggi Chicken Cubes (I don’t feel bad now when I cheat and use them, which is infrequently, but the guilt is real!)
Carrots for the stew.
Pouring the broth through a chinois, which will help to remove impurities.
Our lunch served with the Rice Pilaf, on the official French dinnerware.
Where lunch was served!
This was a fantastic demo. I have omitted one dish, which was the Cheese Soufflé because I plan to make this recipe soon and do a separate step-by-step post about it. 
The IWC has again done a wonderful job organizing this wonderful intercultural culinary exploration.  Many thanks to everyone! Your hard work is appreciate.  I look forward to next month!
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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria www.caseyangelova.com

14 thoughts on “Chocolate Eclairs, Cheese Soufflé and other French culinary masterpieces!”

  1. What a treat this video was! The kitchen, as you said was a private home, was gorgeous and then the dining room! – WOW! I eclairs absolutely glistened and your ingrediant list did not indicate what percentage of dark chocolate you used – I was curious. Abolutely delightful! Thank you.

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  2. wow, that looks like FUN! i love the dinnerware, and that kitchen is amazing. is that in a house? LUCKY!

    your blog kicks ass casey! keep up the great work!

    oh and if you want to send me a bite of that chicken dish, that would be just swell.

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  3. Thanks everyone for stopping by!
    Polly – I hope you had a wonderful demo!
    Sharlene – There were quite dangerously delicious. I will have to try them at home! I love using a pastry bag.
    Ana – This was the home of the French Ambassador to Bulgaria. It was a gorgeous mansion. I felt lucky just to get through the door. The chef just used “dark” chocolate. He didn't give a specific percentage, but I wouldn't go above 70%.
    Jenna – Yes, someone actually lives there. I was quite blown away by the place… I made the chicken for dinner this week and it was quite tasty. Even though the meat was gone, I saved the gravy with the carrots and the mushrooms and ate it with plain rice. I took pictures and the translated recipe will be coming soon complete with pictures. I messed up a little, so I need a re-do!

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  4. I noticed in the pastry cream recipe that it didn't use vanilla extract. If/when you make this, add a teaspoon or two, it brings up the flavor to another level and it also counter balances the cream's richness. Sometimes, instead of vanilla, I use Bailey's Irish cream or brandy or Kahlua.

    Pastry cream is a great canvas to experiment with different flavor infusions.

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