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Forming Eclairs

I feel a little ridiculous posting this question, since I just answered a hotline about lo carb, lo sugar, gluten free diet, as chocolate eclairs are pretty much the polar opposite of all that . . . but . . .
My son wants to try his hand at making chocolate eclairs today. My question is about forming the pastry portion. The recipe I am using says to put the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip and "pipe the desired shapes onto the baking sheets." Ultimately I want to end up with 4-inch-long shapes that we can fill with the pastry cream.
So my first question is: Do I simply pipe one 4"-long line onto the sheet to make each eclair? Or do I pipe a 4"-long oval, in sort of a closed "round trip" motion, kind of like a closed race track? I have trouble believing that the 1 line approach will result in a shape substantial enough to fill, but I don't want to over-think this.
Also, can I use my icing bag set instead of a pastry bag?
Thanks in advance for your help. We are house-bound due to snow and extreme cold, and eclairs seemed like a good day-long project for a budding chef/engineer.

asked by TobiT 8 months ago
7 answers 410 views
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added 8 months ago

Thanks! (What I meant by icing bag is the piping bag I fill with frosting to decorate cakes and cookies - but I was thinking about ziploc too)

Stringio
added 8 months ago

I'm making cream puffs with my grandaughter today. we use a piping bag to make little puffs instead of the eclair shape. This is an easy project for kids.

Photo_squirrel
added 8 months ago

Tobi, he might also enjoy Gougeres wgich are the same choux pastry with added grated cheese (gruyere is the standard but it can be most hard cheeses, and Parm is good too). They are best warm (can easily be reheated in oven.) If you decide to do a few gougeres for fun, i would just leave a little choux pastry in the saucepan after you've piped your eclairs; stir in some grated cheese, and pipe small round mounds, glaze w/ egg wash, and bake. It's also a rewarding snack while you're filling those eclairs! Baked choux pastry freezes really well as long as it is well wrapped- because they can dry out a bit in the frzr. Eclairs really only taste great when they've just been filled, so better to fill a few when you want to eat them.

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added 8 months ago

Love the Gougeres idea, Le Bec Fin. They sound delicious. It also helps me move him away from sweets-only kitchen activities into cooking/baking more savory things! Thanks also for the freezing advice. Given our expected temps here during the next few days, freezer space should not be a problem - I have a great porch.

Photo_squirrel
added 8 months ago

yes, tobi, I'm just no. of Boston so I know what you mean! best time of year for making BIG stockpots of stocks so they can chill on the screen porch, have their (frozen layer!) of fat removed and then cooked down to concentrate for minimum frzr space.

Photo_squirrel
added 8 months ago

p.s. I don't know how old he is, but he might really enjoy having his sandwich filling in a gougere- chicken or tuna salad.....