An eclair with chestnut cream will be the dessert of my 3-course menu for Christmas. It works in the menu but also as a delicious wintery dish on a stand-alone basis. I have a main article with the complete 3-course menu for you here. Also here are the links to the starter (creamy mushroom soup with chestnuts) and the main dish (Beef Wellington with mushrooms and chestnuts).
This article has been published in a collaboration with Delhaize. They sponsored the bigger part of the used ingredients. They set-up a challenge every month, outlining a few guidelines. For the December 2016 challenge, the guidelines are a “3-course menu for Christmas”. Furthermore, they ask to mainly use products of their home brand and set a budget. In this case, besides those guidelines Delhaize only asked to publish what I did with the budget.
Eclair with chestnut cream
The main reason why I picked eclair for the dessert is because they look really fancy, taste great, but aren’t too difficult to create. Boy, was I wrong! But let’s start at the beginning…
There is a big difference between cooking, baking, and pastry. Those three topics are separate trades for a reason. I am a really great amateur chef, a decent baker and an OK-ish pastry chef. An eclair demands plenty of finesse and making a proper cream isn’t that straightforward. Especially if you do more than whipped cream, like in this recipe.
My first try on the eclair dough was a disaster. The dough looked weird and when I baked it – I simply gave it a try – nothing happened. I re-did the eclair dough and had my wife oversee it (She’s an amazing baker and a really great pastry chef. She did our wedding cupcakes and the wedding cake!). This time it worked not perfectly, but I ended up with two neat looking eclairs and several eclair balls. The taste was great.
Then I did the cream, it worked fine, tasted great. Or though I thought. One of the steps is to properly blend the chestnut mix. I didn’t do that. I mashed it up until it looked fine. When I tried to fill the cream into the pastry, a small piece got stuck in the pastry tube and boom:
Quite a mess, a tasty one, but a mess nonetheless. Together with my wife we ate all of the disaster and out of the remains wanted to make at least one decent looking eclair for you guys. Here’s where I kind of messed up again. I didn’t cool the cream well enough. This means that by now it started to lose texture and got a little runny. I hurried to make the eclair and plated it. All things considered, it looks okay:
You can see how the cream isn’t as creamy as you’d imagine it for an eclair. That being said, it really tasted delicious. The crémant from Poll-Fabaire made for a great finish. In case you aren’t from around Luxembourg. The area here is a very well-known wine region. They make especially great white wines and when it comes to sparkling greatness, crémant is your poison of choice. I personally like it much better than your average sparkling wine and it’s also better than most champagnes in my opinion. If you have a chance to give crémant a try, do it. I am sure you’ll love it.
3-course Menu for Christmas
When I received the guidelines for the challenge I wanted to make something I had never cooked before, but also use ingredients I enjoy working with. Finally, they had to also fit the theme. Therefore my main ingredient was instantly found: chestnuts! They are the ultimate winter ingredient in my eyes (I could eat them ALL THE TIME!) and can be done in so many ways. Chestnuts will be the main ingredient of my 3-course Menu for Christmas and you’ll find it in the starter, main course, and dessert.
If you want to make the full version of my menu you find the remaining dishes here: starter – main. I strongly recommend you prepare the eclair with chestnut cream a day in advance. This will make your live much easier on the big day. You only need to take them out of the fridge, plate them neatly and serve the eclair. This will make your festive dinner much more relaxed and enjoyable – not only for your guests but also or rather especially for the host 😉
Failure, your moment to rise and shine: Eclair with chestnut cream edition
Why do I share this disaster with you? I simply wanted to show you that the internet isn’t a perfect place. It seems like a bubble of perfection, but it truly isn’t. Sometimes things go wrong, but no one sees those tries. I wanted to show you my efforts and tell you that there is nothing wrong with failure.
You cannot succeed without failure and failure is nothing less than the opportunity to learn, rise and shine. Next time I won’t make the mistakes that I made this time. I will become a better baker and pastry chef.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe. Let me know if it worked for you <3