Passion Fruit Éclairs

A little tropical vacation in each bite. # 138: Passion Fruit Éclairs

I keep coming back to éclairs. I could make them every week and be oh so happy! They’re the perfect canvas for whatever flavors and textures you’re craving. My pumpkin cream éclairs from last fall were velvety and rich, perfect for November. These on the other hand, are bright and fresh with just enough whipped cream to mellow out the tartness of the curd.

I can’t wait to try making some with craquelin on top for added crunch! Similar to the sweetened topping on a concha, or pan dulce, it is a separate dough that is baked on top of choux and cracks as the choux puffs up. Maybe that will be my autumn challenges this year! From what I’ve read (and watched on GBBO, obviously), it looks difficult to get right. You don’t want it to be too heavy that it keeps the choux from puffing up, and it also cooks faster than the choux, so it tricks you into thinking it’s ready before it really is.

Before this weekend, I had never ever held a passion fruit in my hand. How crazy! They sell them at the fancier grocery stores like Berkeley Bowl but they’re so expensive that I never considered them a regular flavoring option. As luck would have it, one of my dad’s dispatchers at work has a passion fruit vine in her backyard and has more than she can possibly eat. *pause reading for happy dance*

A fresh passion fruit honestly looks like purple potato with brains inside. The pulp is only concentrated around the seeds, which reminded me of a pomegranate. Passion fruit have a very floral scent and are high in acidity, making them super tart. They do get sweeter as they continue to ripen, and they’re full of vitamins too – bonus! Since I was mixing them with a bunch of sugar in a curd, I cracked em open as soon as I got them.

I strained them first, so I could control the amount of seeds I added back in. I ended up reserving all of them this time, but in the future it could be a fun texture component.

Prep complete.

Fruit curds still boggle my mind. How can you get something so luscious from this few ingredients and no heavy cream? Baking is a lovely mixture of science and magic.

Bain-marie time! Cause ain’t nobody want scrambled eggs in their curd.

Looks like butterscotch pudding – yum! I strained it through a sieve to reach peak smoothness. Pop it in the fridge and try not to eat it all before you use it in your bake.

Now on to the choux. Always choux-ting for perfection with these lil guys!

You can skip arm day at the gym – beating choux into submission is a total workout.

The recipe I use calls for four whole eggs, but I still test the dough after each egg addition to make sure it’s not too soft.

One of the tricks I learned from GBBO is to take a small amount of dough between two fingers and pull it apart. If it tilts over like this, it’s ready to go! If it stays standing upright, add another egg.

As always, you need to pat their little points down with water so they don’t burn before the pastry is fully cooked.

When one has extra choux, one should always make profiteroles.

Poof! I poked holes in the bottom of each puff to let the steam out, but I sadly didn’t do it in time for the éclairs. They still held their crispiness! But they would’ve been even more structurally sound if I had.

Whipped cream time! It lightened the curd to fluffy cloud status, and added a bit more sweetness and vanilla to the mix.

Make sure you fold it in gently so you don’t deflate the cloud!

Oo la la.

Piping tips add so much class!

Chocolate jackets and scarves are all the rage. Gotta keep up with fashion trends. Happy munching!

Curd recipe from:

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