Daring Bakers - Challenge FOUR!

And the challenge for August is ... *drum roll* ... Eclairs!

This month's challenge is Chocolate Eclairs, a Pierre Hermé recipe (GASP!) from Dorie Greenspan's book "Chocolate Desserts By Pierre Hermé" sexily hosted by Tony Tahhan and MeetaK.

You guys are in for a treat today! HEHEHE! Happy Ahmad had a lot of fun with this challenge. Especially with the photography too! I'm getting much better with lighting and whatnot and as you shall see, the pictures in this episode of The Daring Baker are probably the best I've done so far. This time around I'll not try to talk to much and let the pictures do the narration.

Anyway, time for obligatory background check, eclairs are basically choux pastry (read: shoo pastry) filled with a filling, in this case chocolate pastry cream, and optionally topped with chocolate glaze. Choux pastry is so easy to make, and its so amazing too since it puffs up insanely much using only its own steam (no baking powder! GASP.) Pate a choux, as it is also called, can go from this ...

... to this ...

... with only heat! Brilliant isn't it!? ^_^;;

But before you make your pastry shells, old experienced me suggests you make your filling first (especially if it is a pastry creme, since they need time to chill) to save yourself lots of heartache and frustration. Especially if your DAMN F*#%IN$ PASTRIES KEEP FREAKIN' COLLAPSING *Bashes head against counter-top*.

Ahem. Moving along.

Making Your Chocolate Pastry Cream:

The base of a good pastry cream is good fresh milk.

Stir continuously until it reaches a boil. Supposedly a "rolling boil" but I have no idea what that means. *Shrug*. Do you like my cool nifty whisk gadget? IKEA!

On the side, break some eggs and steal their yolks.

Throw some cornflour over them to stop their complaining.

Oooo! Pretty close up shot!

I should at this point in time, despite you having so much fun violating your eggs, remind you to keep stirring your milk, lest you end up with a nasty skin layer. Which has to be manually removed, and ends up looking ...

... slightly disturbing.

Whisk the egg yolks, and add them to the milk ...

... whisking continuously until ...

... it becomes thick and creamy-licious. Mmmm!

Melt your dark chocolate and pour it in (with one hand and camera in the other hand. Haha. My camera ended up so sticky by the end of this.)

Stir, then add soft butter...

Stir stir stir somemore and then you get the most delicious chocolate cream filling EVER. It's SO GOOD. I kept eating it with a spoon even though I hadn't even made my eclairs yet! Haha.

Be sure to chill. It's way tastier cold. Well, I think anyway.

Now for Step TWO!

Making Your Choux Pastry:

Melt your butter in your milky-water as quickly as possible to avoid water loss. Once I even melted my butter in the microwave and poured it in the milky-water. It was a good idea I think.

Then add your flour ALL at ONCE in one great floury flourish!

Stir over low heat until it gathers into a ball and unsticks from the sides. This little guy needs a bit more drying. Not quite together yet.

Add your eggs one at a time (LOL I really should practise what I preach haha) and use a mixer (or if your a masochist use a wooden spoon) until it becomes smooth. Here's where choux pastry gets a bit tricky. Because chickens are weird and can't make perfectly identical eggs all the time, you might not need all of the egg. You kind of need to make a judgement about how thick you want your pastry to be. I like to think the ideal point is where it can be piped and hold its shape with only slight drooping. But then again, I usually make things up as I go along.

Love this picture. And there you have your "dough".

Part Three!

Baking Your Shells:

By this point, I had generally made the recipe about 6 times (no exaggeration) and so besides knowing the recipe off by heart, I felt like experimenting with different shapes to see what kind of results I got. The first is with spoons, the second a regular pipe, and the third is a squiggly sort of shape I saw in some video on the internet. And the results are...

Wow. Fat. LOL!

Damn top heating element. Keeps burning all my crap! Never fear happy people, I bought a new oven and it's coming soon! Weee! The top heating element actually made the things crispier, which I really liked.

I cut them in half and glazed their tops.

And last but not least...

The Result!

I love how this looks. But even more, the taste is amazing.

Full-frontal shot.

I tried my hand at desert plating. Looked cute, but I think I'm not quite there yet.

Extra Fun:

I've been dying to try my hand at making a Paris Brest since forever and I thought this was the perfect opportunity. Lots of leftoever choux! What to do!? That rhymed. By the way.

Hot, no?

*Phew*. That was fun. Now I have to go wash the damn dishes. My silly FAT family keeps eating all my food and never helps me clean up!

Blog Hiatus...

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Lots of stuffs happening. Don't worry, will be back very soon. Daring Bakers post coming up too. And lots of other joyfulness as well! And lookie look! The counter is over a 1000 now. That's always a plus :D


I joined the uni taekwondo club. Met a cool guy. Who then kicked me in the stomach 5 times. It hurts. But I like. *SADO MASO SADO MASO*.

Noodley fun!

Just did a linear algebra online quiz/assessment and got full marks WOOT!

Anyway, I feel like guiding my happy readers through my adventure of making Malay style fried noodles (Mi Goreng). One of my favouritests things (when my mum makes it anyway). I was really hungry and no one felt like making anything so silly old me got up and had all the fun.

Firstly, get a big fire going. BIG IS GOOD.

Get a wok. Put oil. Good child.

Dump in your daily allowance of eggs and watch them drown in cholesterol. Tasty.

Scrambled oil! Since there's more oil than egg!

Get a good onion and dice it up.

Fry the onions and add some potato too. For good measure.

Dump in some chillis; cos we Malays are just like that.

Add your prawns, or alternative meat of choice...

Now SHAZAM bam in all ur noodles!

Add the secret mix of sauces that every Asian momma knows and passes on to her kiddies!! AMAZING MAGICAL SECRET SAUCES.

Stir stir stir...

Voila! Tasty times!

Dirty Capitalist Scum


Life just feels like a blur these days. I dunno what I'm doing anymore. Sleepy patterns are majorly weird. Travelling is the ultimate blur. Coming back home from uni is such an out-of-body experience. I sit on the train and either go to sleep (barely; weird half-way to sleep sort of state) or sit there and look out the window and think weird things all the way home. I should stop thinking so much. Walking back home when its dark its very confusing. I get moments of "huh! Where am I?"

LOL this guy at uni told me this story of how he has to walk home and it takes 15 minutes and he has to go through bushland and how he saw this MASSIVE rabbit. Then he made this face like showing how the rabbit was just sitting there eating grass it was the funniest thing ever!

Sloppy grammar that last paragraph was.

I just fixed my wireless network adapter on this laptop. Which means I can blog again! Wireless internet = secret internet use = anonymous blogging. My family is much too nosy. Die die DIE!!! For anyone using an LG comp, reinstall your drivers and use Intel PROset to handle ur intarnets.

Mum just woke up. Damn. Let the nagging begin...

In more joyful news, I found this MOST AMAZING remix of the music from this old Sierra game I used to play (Zeliard a.k.a Best. Game. Ever. Go download it illegally from somewhere.) It's done by Jason Artman (link) and this is the one I am listening to over and over and over and over...

!! LINK !! Cavern of Malicia. Ah the memories. Such innocent times.

I'm gonna go ahead and break the cardinal rule of Blogging and flood this post with so many topics and ideas and events that no one reading this will be able to keep up and thus will:

1. Spontaneously combust...
2. Die in another evil way or worst...
3. Close the window and never come back.

I just watched a 5 minute clip of Tila Tequila trying to find love. Or something like that. Please someone kill me. I am scarred for life.

The Olympics volleyball is amazing. I just watched America VS Bulgaria. I went for Bulgaria. I love rooting for underdogs. Anyway, volleyballers really like to touch each other's butts. It's so very ... umm ... interesting. Disconcerting? Hmm. One day I want to represent Australia in the Olympics. Has the ship passed my harbour and left me behind?


I've seen some really weird things involving a monkey and a toad recently on the internet. Do not Google monkey + toad. DO NOT DO IT. Ok now that you've gone and scarred your eyeballs allow me to put them out with my handy dandy pens which I bought on an impulse buying spree at uni.

Best pens ever!

A bee sat (can bees sit?) on my arm today at the train station when I was waiting for the train. It was freaky. I hate bees. A bee stung me on my eyelid and so now I an apiarophobic. I made that word up based on my knowledge of English morphology.

Turns out I'm wrong. It's apiphobia. Close enough! Interesting note: Apeirophobia is the fear of infinity. How ridiculous! Actually, it's not that ridiculous. I had this dream once where I had to run down this really long spiral staircase. It was freaky.

The toilet lightbulb blew so I had to shit in the dark. It was uncomfortable. In uni today in my actuarial studies tutorial I got put in a group with Alex. That was even more uncomfortable. It's not his fault though. I'm just a bit awkward sometimes.

But it's ok.


I just attempted to satisfy my hunger by making a plate of fried rice.

I failed. The kitchen bin has steam coming out of it. I hope no-one notices. It really tasted quite foul. I'm sitting on the floor typing this out on my laptop, eating tuna out of a can and drinking fat-free milk. Yes, fat-free.

Clearly my life is in the pits.

Everyone in my family is so emotionally charged, my mum is mood swinging like CRAZY (I think she's going through menopause or something) screaming her head off, bursting into tears at really small things, staying in her room for days on end and then acting like nothing happened, and I gotta pick up the pieces since everyone else is really quite oblivious in their own little selfish worlds.

Or maybe I'm just too aware.

I tried not caring a few times. It didn't work. I ended up cleaning up the house, as usual. I just can't stand a dirty place. So now I'm the slave. Yay. Maybe I actually don't contribute at all and nothing would happen if I died and everything would stay exactly the same.

*My Mind is Blank*.

I'm really hungry. My mum doesn't cook on a regular basis anymore. I'm really hungry. I really really want to move out. I considered moving to Uni and living on campus, but now I don't want to do that anymore. I really don't like uni. I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe my degree is not for me, the people, I don't know.

I just hate going these days.

This tuna is actually not so bad.

Language Update...

Hello again happy people. I ditched uni again today. Weee~! One day, ONE DAY, I'll realise I'm in the wrong course and I'll stop going to uni altogether. But until that day, keep passing round the anti-depressants!

Anyway, language update time! How is my quest to learn 6 languages simultaneously? Did you say that? Of course you did. Now I shall tell you, in order of increasing hopelessness.

Malay: Ok, I guess. Still have very low vocabulary, and I don't know how to conjugate verbs properly. My grammar is all fugged up and I talk like a 3 year old street rat. But at least I can vaguely communicate!

Arabic: Not so ok. Still can't communicate with anyone. Mebbe cos all my Arab friends speaked slanged-up versions of Arabic that aren't worth learning anyway. Vocab sucks 100x worse than Malay (which is SAYING SOMETHING) but I've learnt all my basic verb conjugations! I'll write them all out for you now. Actually I can't be bothered.

French: Umm. I can say the French "r". Which counts for something, oui? LOL! I'm getting better, I can do simple prepositional phrases, and small verbal sentences. Les filles courents!

Japanese: Thank GOD Japanese is not a tonal language in the way Mandarin is. So much easier to learn. I don't really understand the grammar of Jap, but it's coming along slowly. Uma ni notte iru onnanoko! Also, I'm slowly learning the hiragana characters now, 5 a day. Should have them wrapped up in a while. Kanji will be hell though.

German: Haven't spent much time on German. I know a few nouns. Ein Mann!

Mandarin: Mandarin is satan! I can't even pronounce the words properly. The whole thing about the 4 tones is IMPOSSIBLE. My chinese friend got so frustrated and said that I had to be tonedeaf. How insulting. Hmph!

Olympics!! And my HUGE TV!!

Beijing Olympics are in FIVE DAYS. Can you believe it? I remember waking up to watch the Athens opening ceremony like it was yesterday. Gosh time moves so damn fast when you're not paying attention.

I'm so excited! I love watching the Olympics; it's so good. I love watching swimming, track events, gymnastics, tae kwon do and so many more I can't remember.

How good are the Olympic venues this time round?? I guess it's a lot easier for the communist government not having to really ask anyone if they want to build at a certain place. I remember during the Sydney 2000 Olympics there was a new airport that was going to be built but it was blocked by environmentalists who said it would destroy the habitat of the green tree frog or something. ^^;;

ALSO ALSO ALSO!! Breaking news!! I bought a new TV! YES! I'm breaking all the rules now. Usually we don't buy new things since we're so povo but me and my brother pooled our money and bought a 50 inch widescreen HD plasma tv.

Can't wait to watch the olympics on it!

Uni, pain and sickness

I'm so sick. O_O. I have a fever and I feel so woozy. Last night I went to sleep at 4 am with the biggest headache. I was sleeping all of today. I dunno how I'm gonna survive uni tomorrow from 9 am to 6 pm. Sigh. I really wanted to join the Tae Kwon Do society tomorrow too but I don't think I'll survive a training session feeling like this. I hate fevers. I'm feel so hot, but I also feel so cold. It's the worst. The coughing is terrible too.

*Drowning in uni work...*