Sunday, March 2, 2008

Matcha Eclair

Bakeries are wonderful. The aroma of baked bread and sights of rows of cakes and pastries really makes one's soul happy and elated. So far, I have never seen a quiet bakery. Be it the baker or the cashier or the customers, the baked goods acts as a stimulant to good moods, happy faces and bewildered staring eyes.

The French is famous for its boulangerie and patisserie stocked with the freshest baguettes and all sorts of pastries, buttery and flaky. Who doesn't wish to sample every bits and pieces behind the counter and glass display cases and I am sure I have the sin 'Gluttony' written all over my face when I stare at those eclairs, friand and croissant.

Pastry making is an art. Although it is a simple combination of flour, yeast, eggs, butter and water, its process of dough stretching and folding, yeast rising and resting coupled with shaping can be daunting to an amateur with a small kitchen space like myself. Without patience and determination, the baking results can be a fiasco with either too hard to chew bread or soggy and dense Danish pastry. I am so glad that the technique Pate-a-Choux was invented and as long as my oven is not malfunctioning, the result is usually successful.

Going with the Japanese flair, I made this eclair with green tea/matcha cream filling and glazing. Matcha has a subtle smell and its strong green hue gives a sense of impending nutrients and goodness packed in every drop of it. I don't have an overbearing sweet tooth but I added an extra teaspoon of confectioners sugar to the filling as the eclair's flavor is insipid itself without any added sugar to its dough.

I was skeptical at first as I haven't done any baking for more than 2 years with limited space when Missy E was peeking in every minute in hope of joining in the piping of the pastry and Prince D being his usual busy body self, clamoring around for attention. Besides the piping, the whole process was simple enough to propel my spirits to try to bake something else next time. I can never handle the piping bag for long and after the 8th one, my hand was mushed in dough when it started squirting out upwards instead downwards on the baking sheet!!! But still, a dedicated mind and determination got me through the 2 hours process from cooking the dough to the glazing part and I was overjoyed when Missy E was gulping down 3 with comments of "ummhhh.... good... ummmh"! Kids never lie when come to food.

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