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Simple Elegance: Sea Salt Caramel Vanilla Eclairs

Simple Elegance: Sea Salt Caramel Vanilla Eclairs
Simple Elegance: Sea Salt Caramel Vanilla Eclairs
Chef Larry Edwards/Casa de Cuisine

Sometimes you just want to prepare something special, something elegant, something to make people "oooh" and "ahhh" in wonderment. Though you may never prepare a dish for a member of royalty, there is no reason why you shouldn't pretend. This dish, an elegant dessert from the Edwardian era, is actually quite simple. It is really nothing more than the classic French pastry dough known as choux, filled with some vanilla scented whipped cream and draped with a silky smooth sea salt caramel.

This recipe will be in two parts. First there will be the choux pastry. Second will be the sea salt caramel. Both are very simple and almost fool-proof.

Ingredients needed to make Choux Pastry:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon sheet.
  2. Into a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter in the water and bring to a simmer. DO NOT LET IT BOIL.
  3. Into the water stir in the salt and flour until combined. Keep stirring the mixture until it forms a dough and breaks away from the pot (it doesn't stick to anything).
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment.
  5. Spoon the dough into a pastry bag. The tip you use depends on what you want to make.
  6. Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Place in the oven and bake 10 minutes.
  8. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.

Ingredients needed to make Sea Salt Caramel Sauce (makes about 1 cup):

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter

Steps:

  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the sugar, salt, water and corn syrup and stir until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is clear.
  2. Continue cooking and stirring until the liquid turns amber in color, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the cream and butter until you have a smooth sauce.
  4. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before using. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Putting in together:

  1. Slice the pastries in half. The interior will be hollow.
  2. Fill the bottom half with vanilla infused whipped cream.
  3. Lean the top half of the pastry against the filled bottom half.
  4. Drape the top with the sea salt caramel.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."