Saturday, May 4, 2013

Eclair Ring

At work, people get famous for certain recipes.  Everyone knows that Dianah makes a great cheesy potato casserole, and Laura is the kielbasa person (no thanks).  And Diann is known for her amazing eclair ring.  It's a ring of puffy pastry, stuffed with vanilla cream and topped with chocolate frosting.  Basically picture an eclair blown up to insane proportions: amazing.  It always goes at work parties, and when she made it for Kenzie for her birthday this year, she brought home the leftovers and we devoured them.  So last week when I made that weird chocolate roll and wasn't sure how it would turn out, I decided to make this too as a back-up since I knew that it was going to be great.

Diann had texted photos of the recipe to Kenz, so that's what I used.  As with all hand-written recipes, I had to figure out some things for myself, but it was still a pretty easy recipe, considering the fact that there are three separate parts to this dish: the pastry, the filling, and the chocolate.  It all came together pretty quickly!

The pastry was very similar to the croquembouche I made for Thanksgiving (or, in laymen's terms, the cream puffs).  The dough is a choux and is thus made on the stove out of water, butter, flour and eggs.  You have to spread it onto a cookie sheet in a ring shape and bake it.  What was a little weird was that mine puffed up so beautifully, but collapsed when I took it out.  Diann said that happens to her sometimes too, especially if she doesn't preheat the oven.  I always preheat mine so that can't be it.  I will try to bake it for a little longer next time.  It didn't ruin the cake by any means, but it would certainly look nicer if it stayed all puffed up.

The next step was to make the filling, which was ridiculously simple because it is just 2 packages of vanilla instant pudding mixed with milk and cream.  Rich, smooth, and absolutely delicious (I may or may not have eaten the extra filling that didn't fit into the ring).

The chocolate frosting tastes exactly like the chocolate frosting on top of eclairs.  Who knew: it's just melted butter mixed with cocoa powder, confectionary sugar, milk and vanilla. Another very simple recipe.

To put it all together, you cut the ring in half and put the filling inside, then top with the chocolate frosting.  And, just like I expected, this dessert was a huge hit.  Everyone who had it rated it their favorite dessert when compared to the chocolate roll, and many people had seconds.  The next day, we were all still reaching into the fridge for more pieces, and by Monday afternoon, it was totally gone.  It's rare that I make a big dessert like that that literally everyone who tries it loves, but this was it, and I will definitely be making it again.  Thanks Diann!


eclair ring
from Diann at work :)


for pastry:
1 cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs

for filling:
2 packages instant vanilla pudding
1  1/2 cup milk
1 pint heavy cream

for frosting:
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1  1/2 cups confectionary sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla


1) Make pastry: Bring water and butter to a boil.  Add flour and salt.  Beat with a fork until a ball of dough forms.  Cool for 10 minutes.

2)  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until dough forms another ball after each addition.

3) Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet forming a ring with dough.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 325 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.  Cool, and cut in half.

4) While ring is baking, make filling: beat all ingredients together until smooth.  Refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

5) Make frosting: melt butter and stir in cocoa until dissolved.  Add confectionary sugar, milk, and vanilla, and stir.  Add more milk if needed.

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