About The Saturday Chef

Midwest, United States
I am NOT a professional chef. I am what I affectionately dub a Saturday Chef—a weekend warrior of the culinary variety, fortified by the education I have gleaned from two high school cooking classes, the Food Network and my own gastronomical experiments. While I’m not ashamed to spend all day making bagels by hand, and proudly call myself a foodie, I’m not a food snob. I enjoy an Extra Value Meal as much as the next girl. My culinary escapades are still relegated to the weekends, but my love for cooking is stronger than ever, galvanized by more successes than failures, and the beautiful fact that the more I cook, the more people there are to feed. So please stay tuned for fun recipes, inevitable disasters and hopefully, a lot of good food.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Do-Able Chocolate Eclairs: A Saturday Chef Show-Stopper


When I go to the grocery store, I almost always pick up one pristine, fantastic éclair from the bakery. I feel that this pastry alone could solve all the worlds problems—the war, the recession, global-warming, even the swine flu. With most foods I love, I had to find out how difficult it was to make at home. Surprisingly, the dough is not hard to make at all. It’s a classic pastry dough with a variety of applications and can be made with simple ingredients that we all have in our fridges and pantries—flour, water, eggs, butter. The pastry cream and icing, however, can not only be time-consuming to make, but also incredibly fattening.

Last month I had to plan a dessert party at work, and I wanted a show-stopper. So with a little culinary ingenuity and some help from a couple supermarket staples, I came up with an easy way to make eclairs that will impress your co-workers or guests--no heavy cream needed.

1 cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add water and heat until boiling. Add flour and stir until mixture forms a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let cool before adding the eggs, one a time. Dough should be sticky.

Drop tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Note: Most chef use a pastry bag and pipe dough onto the cookie sheet, but this works just as well.

Bake in oven for about 30 minutes until light brown. Set aside to let cool.

1 3.4oz box Instant French Vanilla Pudding
6 ounces of Cool Whip

Prepare filling according to instructions. Once pudding has thickened, add Cool Whip and mix to combine.

When pastries have cooled, slice puffs open lengthwise, but not completely through. Spoon in filling.

1 can Milk Chocolate Frosting

Microwave frosting until warm and running. Drizzle chocolate frosting all over filled pastries.
Eat immediately or chill and serve within 12 hours.

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