Eggless Mini Chocolate Eclairs – Memories from my Childhood

Chocolate-eclair

Do you remember the first time you ever ate a chocolate éclair? I do. I was about seven years old and there was a single bakery that made them in the little city I lived in. I remember the cream oozing out of the choux pastry, on which the chocolate ganache had begun to crack… I remember looking forward to visits to the bakery, reserved only for special occasions.

Needless to say, chocolate éclairs have a very special place in my heart and life. So, among the things that I knew I’d miss, when I gave up eggs, was that delectable little éclair from my childhood. 

Last night, I was watching the movie bridesmaids and the officer with a sweet tooth, mentioned cream puffs. That’s when it began – my search across the web for vegan/vegetarian cream puffs and chocolate éclairs. 

The choux pastry is really the toughest part of the recipe. The original recipe I referenced was by Veganbits. I’m not 300% satisfied with the pastry, because although it inflated, tasted very well, I feel the texture could use a little improvement aka it could be softer. However, the overall effect of this pastry is so delectable, I’m not hesitating to post it.

Ingredients

Makes 12 mini-eclairs

For the choux pastry 
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp EnerG egg replacer whipped stiff with 1/3 cup of warm water
1 cup milk

For the vanilla cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache
2 oz semi-sweet or milk chocolate, chopped
A little less than 1/4 cup of whipping cream
1/2 tbsp butter

 Directions

I The Choux Pastry

Choux_pastry

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder.
3. Bring milk and butter to a boil – use a heavy bottom pan and keep stirring to ensure the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom.
4. Prepare the egg replacer on the side.
5. Add the flour mixture to the boiling milk mix, set the heat to low.
6. Keep stirring the flour until it folds into a ball and separates from the sides. It’s best to use a thick steel spoon for this – the dough gets a little tough. Make sure you don’t cook the flour for more than 3 – 5 minutes.
7. Remove the vessel from heat, and stir in the egg replacer 1/3rd of the quantity at a time. The dough will nicely form a ball.
8. Shape the dough into mini eclair sized pastry and place on the parchment paper.
9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Thereafter, lower the temperature to 350 degrees, turn the baking tray around and leave in the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes. Check to make sure the choux is golden brown and isn’t burning. Turn off the oven, stick a wooden spoon in the oven door and let the pastry cool in there for about 30 minutes. After that, you can turn it out on to a cooling rack. Wait another 30 minutes before filling and glazing.

Note: You need to work really fast through this recipe, which is a little challenging but do-able.  

II The Chocolate glaze

1. Bring the whipping cream and the butter to a boil
2. Pour over the chopped chocolate and set aside for about 5 minutes
3. Gently stir the chocolate with the cream to form a glossy sauce

Tip: The flavor of the chocolate will dominate the ganache. If you’re stuck with semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate that’s too bitter for your taste, simply put in some powdered sugar over the chopped chocolate before pouring the warm cream. 

III The Cream Filling

Whip the cream with the vanilla extract and sugar until stiff.

IV Assembling the Eclair

Mini-eclairs

1. Once the choux pastry has cooled down, slice the pastry with a serrated knife, but do not let the two parts separate.
2. Using a piping bag, squeeze the cream filling between the two halves of the pastry.
3. Pour the glaze (or spoon it if it’s too thick), on to the pastry top.

This was delicious. And although, it won’t compare with what I ate as a little kid in that bakery in small town India, it’ll do just fine for now.

Yummy Chocolate Cake in a Hurry… Baked in a Cup!

Cakeinacup

It’s been a busy week for me… cooking for myself, trying new recipes out. Among the many that I did try, were fresh tortillas, rosemary and thyme bread and a traditional gujarati (indian) dish called “chauli-dhokli” which is basically long beans sauteed with coin-sized flour bread. I’d post the recipe, but this is, after all, a desert blog.

The thing with vegetarian baking, is that it’s always SO time consuming! Especially for someone like me who’s trying a new recipe out with more than just a little trepidation!

So, imagine my delight at finding this recipe for a 5 minute cake, baked in the microwave, that I quickly adapted into a delightful vegetarian version! (As a side note, if you love cooking, scouring the net for food blogs, you absolutely need to sign up for gojee.com – it’s a delightful website for searching through recipes!)

Note: This cake is delicious and addictive. But it’s best served warm, perhaps with some ice-cream if you wish. If you let it get too cold, it might become too crumbly.

Ingredients

Make it in one tea cup or a couple of bowls

3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2.5 tbsp sugar (or maybe 3 if you prefer your chocolate sweet)
1/2 tsp cinammon (optional – but it does give it a lovely kick!)
1/2 tbsp plain yogurt (or vanilla) + 1/2 tbsp yogurt liquid
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp canola/vegetable oil/butter melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 tbsp water (or milk)

Icing sugar/cocoa/strawberries for the garnish

Directions 
Mix the dry ingredients in your cup first. Then whisk in the liquids and yogurt.
Ensure that it’s full only 2/3rds of the way in your cup/bowl.
Microwave the mix for 2 minutes (at the most 3, depending on the power of your microwave)

This cake is very moist – don’t let it dry out in the microwave. Think of it like a cake with some fudge sauce in it.

Enjoy! 

Vegan Petit-Fours

For almost a decade now, it has been my dream to visit France. To visit the moulin rouge in Paris, to enjoy a glass of wine in Champagne, to feel the wandering gaze of Mona Lisa…

But most of all, to experience a gastronomical tour of delightful desserts. Now, I think that dream may go unfulfilled, as I’ve recently given up eggs altogether.

So, imagine my delight when I found this recipe for Petit Fours at http://veganyumyum.com !

Definitely a very ambitious project, but one I think I will try out soon, nonetheless.

http://veganyumyum.com/2008/01/petits-fours/

 

Chocolate Ganache over Mini Eggless Dark Chocolate Bundt Cakes

Mini-bundtcake1

Last night, I met up with some of my friends after a very long time. I’ve also been particularly stressed off late, and was looking forward to an opportunity to cook. The menu was a potpourri of mostly vegan dishes from across the world:

Guacamole with chips
Pasta in arabiatta sauce
Spicy cilantro rice
Black pepper sauce with vegetables and tofu
Biscuits

Along with a bottle of Resiling from V. Sattui.

Anyway, a few weeks back, I stopped by Bed Bath & Beyond and found a delightful mini-bundt cake pan from Wilton

Minifultedpan

I have been looking forward to using this pan ever since and was glad that last night’s party provided an occasion to do so. I loved making these mini chocolate bundt cakes, topped with velvety dark chocolate ganache, served with vanilla ice cream on the side.

Mini-bundt_with_icecream

Ingredients

For the mini bundt cakes
Makes 15

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar (or more if you like your cakes sweet)
1 cup milk  (you can switch this with soy milk or water for a vegan version)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tsp oil + 1 tbsp cocoa for greasing and dusting 
Finely sliced almonds to garnish 

For the chooclate ganache
Makes enough to cover 28 cakes

 I adapted this recipe from something I saw at joyofbaking.com
8 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp butter
2.5 tbsp cointreau 

Directions

Mini Bundt Cakes

  1. Dust and grease each of the mini pans
    Tip: The cocoa will be hard to dust by swirling the pan. Use a seive to dust the cocoa in each of the cavities.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Sift the cocoa in the flour along with the sugar, salt and baking soda.
  4. Add the vinegar to the milk. Mix in the vanilla, oil.
  5. Gently fold in the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix.
  6. Pour the mix into the moulds and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a knife through the cake comes out clean. 

 

Velvety Chocolate Ganache

  1. In the microwave or the stove, bring the whipped cream and the butter to a boil.
  2. Pour over the chopped chocolate pieces and let sit for a couple of minutes. Pick a chocolate you like to eat. Since I wanted dark cakes that weren’t too sweet, I chose dark chocolate here too. 
  3. Gently stir the mix – try not to incorporate any air into it.
  4. Add the cointreau to your ganache. You can skip this step altogether, or pick another liquor to go with it.

Once the cakes are done, let them cool in the pan for a couple of minutes. Gently knock the pan on all sides and pull the cakes out on a rack. With a brush, coat them with the ganache. Garnish with almond flakes, if desired.

Serve as is or with vanilla ice-cream.