I was in the grocery line on Valentines Day doing some last minute shopping for our camping trip . We would be celebrating Valentines Day over the long President's Day weekend. The grocery clerk was making small talk and asked what plans I had. Of course I was bubbling over with enthusiasm about the upcoming trip and told her we were going to a new campground on the Washington Coast that we had never been to before. When I told her the name -Cape Disappointment-her mouth dropped and she said: "Oh" with a sad frown face. Then she added that it didn't sound like a very good place to be celebrating. Isn't it funny how we allow people to interfere with our happiness ? As I walked out of the store I realized I had allowed her to steal my joy. By the time I got the groceries loaded into the car I realized how silly I was. Shame,shame,shame on me for allowing her to be a black cloud over my happiness.
Cape Disappointment ? No! More like "Cape could never be disappointed" because it's so beautiful .
These Creme Brulee Eclairs were definitely a challenge. I knew the creme brulee pastry creme would be less firm than regular pastry creme . I decided that I would slice the eclairs in half and fill them that way, rather than trying to fill them with a pastry bag . My reasoning was that I was fearful that the torch to brulee the tops would melt the filling. I should have been more fearful about burning the tops of the eclairs ! Since I had a rounded surface to work with, the sugar kept falling off . And the nooks and crannies associated with eclairs started to burn around the edges. I set quite a few on fire ! Trust me,burnt sugar and burnt pastry are not very tasty.
I used my new go to recipe for eclairs from Tom Douglas's book: The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. His recipe produces perfect eclairs every single time ! And I used Joe Pastry's recipe for the creme brulee. For the hard crack caramel topping I cooked 2 cups of sugar with 1/2 cup water over medium high heat until it turned a nice amber color-about 15 minutes. Once you take the caramel away from the heat you have to work quickly because it's still cooking in your pot-be careful , it's extremely hot ! I dipped each top into the caramel very carefully. After the caramel hardened I filled the other half of the eclair with the creme brulee filling and placed the two halves together-Voila !
Oh, I almost forgot to share with you the good fortune that came my way this week ! The HuffPost Taste Section used my photo of my Kouign Amann posting from April 2011. When I got the email from them I thought it was a scam or virus and almost didn't open it . So glad I did-that news was like the icing on the cake after our wonderful weekend ! Thank you Huffington Post !