Day number three with the jackhammers demolishing our garage floor. The noise has been deafening. Things have vibrated off wall, and the house is covered in a fine dust. I can only imagine how irritated the neighbors next door are with the noise from 8 am to 4 pm. I’ve tried wearing my headphones, I sat outside, I put on a movie, I went for a drive, and I’ve baked. Nothing has taken away the irritation of the jackhammering and mess. I’m furious with the contractors that poured a messed-up floor. Irritated that it has taken this long to fix the problem in the first place. And super irritated with the fact the garage freezer is sitting in my kitchen while this project finishes. The entire process has been infuriating.
The last two days trying to bake hasn’t been that helpful to me. A small distraction at best. Extra calories at worst. I gave it a go anyway. I made chocolate mousse for the first time ever yesterday. The result was so-so. I don’t think I folded in the whipped cream gently enough. It set, but not as airy as it should have. It tasted just fine, don’t get me wrong. Just wrong texture. I made some small layered cakes with the mousse, and used it as filling in some eclairs.
Let’s talk about eclairs. Choux pastry has been a nightmare for me. The eclairs rose. They fell flat. They did both at once. What a nightmare! One afternoon I attempted 4 different batches. Those eclairs are now called “the tear-filled eclairs”. Yep, I actually broke down in tears over eclairs. I sat on my floor staring into my oven and cried as batch #3 slowly sank down to nothing. Thank the baking goddess the fourth time was the charm. Who knows what the 5th failed attempt would have brought? I will never again laugh at the contestants on The Great British Baking Show. I get the tears now. I can’t explain it, but I relate.
I tried many different recipes for choux. The recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible is what finally worked. Simple to follow and so far, fool proof. Even with my oven vibrating from jackhammers the choux held up. I filled them with the so-so mousse from yesterday and put raspberry icing on top. Here’s hoping tomorrow will be quieter. Next time… vanilla crème patisserie in the eclairs. Happy Baking!
Swiss Roll Cake
**I cut the sponge into circles with a 1 cup measuring cup, placed dark chocolate mousse in between layers, and sprinkled powdered sugar on top. This was my first ever mousse and I wanted to see how it would set and hold. The cake was good, the mousse was ugly. I think I needed to fold in the whipped cream better.
This is a delicious sponge cake. I’ve made a Swiss Roll with lemon curd, and one with fresh raspberry jam. Both delicious. While the cake is still warm roll it, gently. Then unroll, let cool, cover with thin layer of filling, and reroll. Rolling while still warm once helps it to role easier once filling goes on.
Swiss Roll Sponge
- 100g self-rising flour
- 4 eggs
- 100g caster sugar
- Icing sugar for sprinkling
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C and grease a swiss roll tin (13x 9 in) and line with baking paper.
2. Beat the eggs and sugar together until light and frothy and then add the sifted flour, carefully folding it into the mixture.
3. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for around 10 minutes, until it’s lightly browned and coming away from the tin at the edges.
4. Place some baking paper on a work surface and sprinkle with caster sugar, before upending the sponge from the tin and peeling off the baking paper. Neaten the edges and leave to cool.
5. Spread with jam and add any other fillings and score the sponge lightly 2.5cm from one end. Roll carefully. Neaten up the ends with a knife.
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 7 oz bittersweet chocolate (melted and kept lukewarm)
- Heat 2/3 cup of cream in small saucepan until it just begins to steam.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, and sugar, then add ½ the hot cream, whisking constantly, until mixture is combined.
- Add the warm egg-cream blend back into the hot cream in saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 165 F.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate. Chill the custard thoroughly
- Beat the remaining 1 1/3 cup heavy cream in separate bowl until it forms stiff peaks.
- Thoroughly stir in ½ the whipped cream into the chilled custard, then gently fold in the rest.
- The mousse is ready when chilled through
Raspberry Dark Chocolate Eclairs
Bake at 425F for 10 min then lower temp to 375 F for 20 min.
**do not open oven to check on during baking! This will make the choux collapse if not cooked
- 150ml water
- 50g butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
- 65g plain flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
For the Icing
- 125 g icing sugar
- 2 Tablespoons freeze dried raspberry powder
**(I made liquid paste with the raspberry powder a bit of water then added together with the sugar and dipped eclairs in the mixture)
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease two large baking sheets, line with baking parchment, or use a baking tray with a silicone slip mat.
- For the choux pastry, put the butter and 150ml water in a small pan over a low heat. Bring slowly to the boil, tip in the flour, then remove from the heat. Stir vigorously.
- When a smooth paste develops, return the pan to the heat, stirring. The mixture will dry out a little and form a soft ball that comes away from the sides of the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat again, leave the mixture to cool slightly, then gradually add the eggs, beating really well between each addition until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2in plain nozzle. Sprinkle the baking sheets with water (a water spray with a fine nozzle is good for this). Pipe the mixture onto the baking sheets into 3in lengths, leaving room between each éclair for them to spread a bit.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375F and bake for a further 20 minutes. Poke a hole in bottom of each éclair to allow the steam to escape. Put on wire rack to cool.
- Once the éclairs have cooled completely pipe in filling of choice.