Thursday, February 10, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes by Maya Angelou


(Makes 16 Eclairs)

1 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
4 large eggs, beaten individually
Custard filling and/or Golden Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
Chocolate Syrup (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In large saucepan, heat water, butter, and salt to full rolling boil. Reduce heat to low, and quickly stir in flour and confectioners' sugar, mixing vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture leaves the sides of the pan in a ball.

3. Remove from heat. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until mixture is very smooth. (An electric mixer at a low speed makes this procedure easier.) Force mixture through pastry tube, or shape with spatula into 16 fingers, each 1 x 4 inches.

4. Bake on greased cookie sheets for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove at once to racks and let cool away from drafts.

5. Cut the pastries in half lengthwise, spoon onto the bottoms either Custard Filling or Golden Whipped Cream, and replace the tops. Drizzle Chocolate Syrup over the eclairs.

Custard Filling

(Fills 8 eclairs)

3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
Dash of salt
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat eggs, sugar, salt, and milk until blended in top part of double boiler. Put over simmering water and cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly and coats a metal spoon. Remove from hot water and pout into bowl. Add vanilla extract. Cool and chill 1 hour.

Golden Whipped Cream

(Fills 8 eclairs)

2 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip cream until it holds peaks. Gradually add brown sugar and vanilla extract. Cool and chill 1 hour.

Chocolate Syrup

6 ounces (6 squares) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In small saucepan, mix melted chocolate with sugar and salt over low heat. Add boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool, add vanilla extract, and refrigerate.

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