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Irish Coffee Eclairs

Yields: about 40 three-inch eclairs

Ingredients

For the Choux Pastry

1 cup water

½ cup unsalted butter

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 eggs

For the Irish Coffee Pastry Cream

⅔ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

⅛ teaspoon salt

5 egg yolks

1 ¼ cup half and half (see notes)

1 cup strongly brewed coffee, hot

3 tablespoons Irish whiskey, divided

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

For the Chocolate Glaze

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

¾ cup heavy cream

For Decoration (Optional)

4 ounces white candy melts or white chocolate (see notes)

1 teaspoon matcha powder

1 tablespoon finely chopped freeze-dried strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the water, butter, and salt in a pot. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts and the water begins to simmer. Take the pot off the stove.
  2. Add flour and stir the mixture vigorously until it comes together in a thick dough.
  3. Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat and cook it for another 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, in order to dry out the dough.
  4. Take the pot off the heat, and let the dough cool for about 5 minutes. Give it a few stirs to help it cool off.
  5. Whisking constantly, add 4 eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. It will seem impossibly lumpy, but keep mixing and the batter will come together. The mixture should be smooth and shiny; if you scoop some batter out of the bowl, it should fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon and hold its shape on the surface of the batter. If it is too thick whisk the 5th egg in a separate bowl, and add it a spoonful at a time, until the batter reaches the right consistency.  (Don’t add the 5th egg all at once, or the batter may become too runny).
  6. Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip. (Or simply snip off the end of a gallon size Ziploc bag). Pipe 3-inch lines onto the parchment paper.
  7. Wet your fingertip and flatten any peaks in the batter you just piped.
  8. Bake the choux for 20 - 25 minutes at 425 F until they are a golden brown. Turn off the oven and crack open the door, and let the choux sit for 15 more minutes. The choux should be hollow and completely dry on the inside. Let cool completely.
  9. Make the microwave Irish coffee pastry cream (though you certainly could make it the traditional way over a stove). In a large microwaveable bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt, breaking up any clumps in the cornstarch.
  10. Whisk in the cream, followed by the egg yolks. Whisk until completely smooth. While mixing continuously, add in the hot coffee. Add in the cubed butter.
  11. Microwave on full power for 6 to 8 minutes (it will depend on the power of your microwave), stopping the microwave and mixing the pastry cream every minute or so. The pastry cream is done when it begins to boil and and thickens to a pudding-like consistency.
  12. Cover the pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least 3-4 hours to allow the cream to chill and set.
  13. Put the pastry cream in a piping bag with a small round tip.
  14. With a sharp knife, poke two evenly spaced holes in the bottom of each eclair that are large enough for the tip of the piping bag.
  15. Pipe the pastry cream into both holes of each eclair until they are filled and feel heavy in your hand.
  16. Make the chocolate glaze. Heat the cream on the stove or in the microwave until it just begins to simmer. Add the chocolate. Let sit for a minute, then stir until combined and smooth.
  17. Dip the top of each eclair in the chocolate, and place onto a cookie sheet to set.
  18. Make the decorations, if desired. Melt the white candy melts and divide roughly in half between two wax paper-lined cookie sheets. Spread into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle half with freeze-dried strawberry, and dust the other half with matcha. Let set completely, then cut into small pieces to place on top of the eclairs. You can also reserve a little bit of the candy melt and mix in some matcha powder to color it green. Pour the candy melt into a ziploc bag, and pipe small dots. Let set, and place ontop of the eclairs.
  19. Store eclairs in the refrigerator. They are best they day they are made, but can keep for 2-3 days.

Notes

You could substitute the half and half with a combination of whole milk and cream. I would advise against using all milk; the pastry cream requires some fat for flavor and texture.

Though I’m usually a snob about chocolate, I would advise using white candy wafers, or white chocolate without actually cocoa butter for the decorations (I used Nestle brand), since it doesn’t require tempering and will set more firmly.