At first glance, these éclairs might look beautiful, mouthwatering and innocent just like many other éclairs out there. Well, get ready to have your socks knocked off. Speaking of knocking someone’s socks off, let me give you some context. This story begins a while ago in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Victoria is known for 1) afternoon tea and 2) the Butchart Gardens, which are what I call “Disneyland for garden lovers”. The place is jaw-dropping (regardless of your love for gardens) and unlike anything you've seen before. But that is not all. You know me, I had to have afternoon tea there! And that’s how I came across Bachelor Button tea. It is a blend of Chinese black tea and sencha green tea flavored with bergamot, rhubarb and blue cornflowers, hence the name bachelor button. I am not a scented tea person but I wish you could smell it. Now back to our éclairs. They have that wow factor. Try them, have a bite. I challenge you to stop there. The pastry cream filling is infused with Bachelor Button tea, which means that you can smell and taste the tea and those little delicate blue cornflowers.
My Tea Eclairs
1 cup / 235 ml of water
1 cup / 130 gr of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup / 113 gr of unsalted butter
4 eggs at room temperature
4 cups / 1 liter half and half
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 vanilla pod
3 tablespoons Bachelor Button tea
For the pastry cream put the half and half in a pan. Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add vanilla seeds and pod to half and half and bring to a bare simmer. Add tea leaves and infuse covered for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside. In another saucepan mix yolks, sugar and flour to make a smooth paste. Add hot half and half a little at a time and mix well to prevent eggs from curdling. On a medium heat bring to a simmer stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Let cool and then store in the fridge until ready to assemble.
For the éclairs shells preheat oven to 425 F / 220 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Put the water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add the flour all at once and stir well until the flour is completely mixed in. Turn the heat back on to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Put the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle whisk, beat in the eggs one at a time. Fill a piping bag that has been fitted with a large round tip with the dough and pipe out logs a few inches apart on your baking sheet. Brush the top of the éclairs with some water and bake them for 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 F / 180 C and continue baking them for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown. As soon as they come out of the oven, use a skewer to make a little hole at the end of each side so the steam can escape, then allow to cool completely.
To assemble, fill a piping bag with the tea infused pastry cream and fill each eclair. For the glaze I just melted some dark chocolate and mixed it with some heavy cream. The mixture needs to be thick like a ganache. But you could just sprinkle your eclairs with powdered sugar, if you like. Serve with a cup of tea! Enjoy.
Recipe for the dough adapted from this recipe by Laura Vitale.
Disclaimer: This is my honest opinion. I was not asked nor paid to mention or review products or services that appear in this blog post.