National Doughnut Day

    
June 2 is National Doughnut Day, an annual holiday set aside for Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts fans to indulge in their favorite treat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any other time…especially if there’s coffee nearby…

but instead of sharing the usual doughnut recipe, I thought this might be a good time to recap recent posts in my Taking Up Baking series about the French pate de choux.
  

  

French Crullers...These fluted, ring-shaped doughnuts with a light airy texture were once a specialty at Dunkin Donuts, but have been taken off the menu because they were too “difficult” to make. The following recipe should be a piece of cake…I mean, donut.

½C milk
1/2C water
8Tbsp butter
2tsp sugar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-¼Cflour
3 eggs
2 egg whites
4C confectioners’ sugar
Pinch kosher salt
4Tbsp honey
3Tbsp bourbon
6Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 450. Bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a brisk boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour all at once with a wooden spoon until a thin film start to coat the bottom of the pan.Cook 4 minutes, stirring continuously. 

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir the dough for a minute to help it cool. Turn the mixer to medium speed. Add one egg. Add the egg whites a little bit at a time until the dough becomes smooth and glossy and holds a little shape.

Refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes. 

Transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2″ star tip. Fill the bag with the cooled pate a choux. Pipe even rings of dough onto the prepared parchment paper, at least 2″ apart. The two ends of the dough, after being piped, must be brought together at the same level. 

Mix the confectioners’ sugar, honey, bourbon, and milk together until smooth. Dip the top of each cruller into the honey glaze. Set on a cooling rack to dry.

Bake 5 minutes.Reduce oven temp to 350. Bake another 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Open the oven door a crack. Let crullers sit for 5 minutes before glazing them.Glaze them. Serve.

Paula Deen’s French Quarter Beignets

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Nonstick spray
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

    Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Beat eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture. Add the shortening, and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. 

    Remove dough from the bowl. Place onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth. 

    Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours. 

    Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. 

    Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside. Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thickness and cut into 1″ squares. 

    Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. 

    After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly
       

     
    Eclairs

    • 1C water
    •  8Tbsp butter
    •  1/2tsp salt
    • 1-1/2tsp sugar 
    • 1 cup flour
    • 3 eggs

    Preheat oven to 475. 

    Bring water, butter, salt, and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. 

    Return to  heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. 

    Move the dough to the mixing bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed one minute. Add eggs. Continue to mix until you have a smooth, glossy, thick paste-like dough.
    Spread the mixture onto a sheet pan and cover with Saran Wrap until cooled to room temperature.
    Draw a dozen 3-1/2″ lines on a piece of parchment paper, spacing the lines about 3″ apart. This will serve as a template or guide. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the template under the parchment paper.

    Place the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe eight to twelve oblong lengths of dough, about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog, onto the lined baking sheet using the template as a guide.

    Whisk an egg and water together in a bowlto create an egg wash. Brush the surface of each eclair with the egg wash. This gives the pastry a lovely golden brown sheen and allows you to smoothe out any imperfections on the surface of the pastry. 

    Bake 15 minutes. Remove shells from oven. Let cool to room temp.

    Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Bake shells 15 more minutes. 

    Remove from oven. Place on a wire rack to cool. Poke each of the shells with a toothpick to release any steam trapped inside.Let them cool completely before filling them.
      

    Eclair Filling...

    •  2C milk  
    • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
    • 6 egg yolks  
    • 2/3C sugar 
    • 1/4C cornstarch 
    • 1Tbsp cold unsalted butter

    Heat milk and vanilla bean, to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat. Set aside to infuse for 15 minutes. Whisk egg yolks and  sugar until light and fluffy. Add cornstarch. 

     Whisk in 1/4C of the hot milk mixture vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until milk starts to foam up. Remove from heat. Stir in butter.

    Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate up to 24 hours. 
    Split the pastry shells in half, lengthwise. Place pastry cream into a piping bag. Fit the piping bag with a medium-size plain tip. Pipe filling into each eclair shell. 


    Chocolate Glaze.
    ..

    • 1/2C heavy cream 
    • 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 4oz coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate

    Heat chocolate over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately pour it over chocolate. Stir in vanilla. Whisk until melted and smooth. Cover.

    Dip the top halves of the eclair shells in the warm glaze, letting the excess drip off. Place on a wire rack to dry for ten minutes.
    Once the glaze is dry, gently place the top half of the pastry shell on the cream. Spread icing over the top of each. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes, until the icing hardens, before serving.

    Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.

    The Making of a Steel Magnolia

        

    One of my original goals
    for writing this blog was to record the stories and lessons that I learned as I studied the names on my “Official Roster of Steel Magnolias.”

    This “Official Roster of Steel Magnoliasw” listed a group of women chosen from both history and literature whose lives I thought might be the most interesting to read about…

    …those women who may appear as beautiful as magnolias, but as tough as steel…

    …those women who make a difference in the lives of those around them…

    …those women who will be remembered and talked about so fondly of for decades…

    …those women whose random acts of kindness will be written down and read about for centuries…

    …those women who are admired, adored, and revered for exhibiting the essential qualities of a “Steel Magnolia.”…characteristics such as…

      

     1. Compassion…Steel Magnolias act intentionally to improve the lives of others without trying to attract any notice.

    Steel Magnolias have a selfless attitude and a servant heart. 
    Steel Magnolias display a sense of concern and kindness for others, especially those in need.

    Steel Magnolias truly care about making the world a better place.

        

      2. Confidence…Steel Magnolias must be confident enough to make risky decisions. 
      Steel Magnolias develop this confidence by achieving progressively larger accomplishments.

         

        3. Conviction…Steel Magnolias have a set of strong, unshakable thoughts and beliefs that can never be altered.

        4. Courage…Steel Magnolias always overcome their fears long enough and calmly enough to take risks when others are simply looking to hide from reality.
        Steel Magnolias confront any challenge head on and display confidence under stress.

        Steel Magnolias have the determination to achieve the goal, regardless of the challenging obstacles.

          

        5. Dedication…Steel Magnolias are selflessly committed to the task at hand and work whole-heartedly until the task is complete.

        6. DeterminationSteel Magnolias are unflinching in their determination and believe in their abilities without the shadow of a doubt.

        7. FocusSteel Magnolias have definite motives and keep their eyes fixed on the targets that they have wanted to achieve or establish all of their lives.

        8. Honesty…Steel Magnolias are always honest with everyone around them and always tell the truth. 

        Steel Magnolias refuse to tell people only what they want to hear and expect honesty from others…

          

        9. Humility…Steel Magnolias do not actually want credit for what they do or what they have done. Steel Magnolias give credit to all the people behind their success and realize their own weaknesses.
        10. Integrity...Steel Magnolias can be trusted because their inner values never change from inner values, even when life is hard…
        11. Passion...Steel Magnolias are passionate about their work. Their assurance inspires and motivates others.

          12. Perseverance…Steel Magnolias do not simply give up.

          Steel Magnolias are ready to withstand all the consequences that they may encounter and fight until they are successful.
            

           13. Responsibility...Steel Magnolias take on responsibilities with the utmost sincerity and finish out these responsibilities to logical conclusions.
          14. Sacrifice-Steel Magnolias willingly cast off the personal preferences and comforts whenever they are called upon for a higher cause or responsible for the welfare of others…

            15. Selflessness…Steel Magnolias always put others first without any expectation of payback. 

            Steel Magnolias are more concerned about the success of the group than with their own. 
            Steel Magnolias serve as an inspiration for others and earn respect as they face life’s challenges.

                
              After blogging for the last several months, I have decided that this was also a far loftier goal than I had anticipated. 

              No list could ever include the name of every single “Steel Magnolia” thoughout history…and each of us has our own unique Steel Magnolias in our own lives that have uniquely shaped our personal lives and made each of us into the people we are today…

              Instead of working alphabetically through the list as if I were obsessive-compulsive or something, I will be highlighting the lives of these women on their respective birthdays.

              Regardless, here is my original  “Steel Magnolia Hall of Fame,” listing all of the women whose story I had intended to study when I first began blogging.

              • Abigail Adams 
              • Louisa Adams
              • Jane Addams
              • Susan B. Anthony
              • Marie Antoinette
              • Saint Joan of Arc
              • Hannah Arendt
              • Mary Kay Ash
              • Aspasia of Miletus
              • Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor
              • Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
              • Jane Austen
              • Ella Baker
              • Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike
              • Clara Barton
              • Florence Bascom
              • Simone de Beauvoir
              • Aphra Behn
              • Ruth Fulton Benedict
              • Shirley Temple Black
              • Elizabeth Blackwell
              • Bonnie Kathleen Blair
              • Rosa Bonheur
              • Louise Arner Boyd
              • Pearl S. Buck
              • Calamity Jane
              • Marie Anne de Cupis de Camargo
              • Rachel Carson
              • Catherine the Great
              • St. Catherine
              • Tennie Chaffin
              • Chien-shiung Wu
              • Lady Randolph Churchill
              • Empress Dowager Cixi
              • Marie Von Clausewitch
              • Cleopatra
              • Louisa Creighton
              • Juana Ines de la Cruz
              • Marie Curie
              • Agnes George de Mille
              • Emily Dickinson
              • Amelia Earhart
              • Marian Wright Edelman
              • Eleanor of Aquitane
              • Beatrix Jones Farrand
              • Edith Flanigen
              • Anne Frank
              • Rosalind Elsie Franklin
              • Betty Naomi Friedan
              • Elizabeth Gurney Fry
              • Margaret Fuller
              • Indira Gandhi
              • Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
              • Betty Green
              • Sarah and Angelina Grimke
              • Esther Hill Hawks
              • Sally Hemings
              • Caroline Lucretia Herschel
              • Judith E. Heumann
              • Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin
              • Ariel Hollinshead
              • Rachel Jackson
              • Mary Phelps Jacob
              • Helen Keller
              • Billie Jean King
              • Aleksandra Mikhaylovna Kollontai
              • Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
              • Susette La Flesche Tibbles
              • Lisa Lang
              • Gail Laughlin
              • Agnes Lee
              • Maya Lin
              • Belva Lockwood
              • Juliette Gordon Low
              • Mindy Macready
              • Anne Sullivan Macy
              • Mammy Pleasant
              • Wilma Mankiller
              • Jo March
              • Beryl Markham
              • Barbara McClintock
              • Margaret Mead
              • Catherine de Medici
              • Lise Meitner
              • Rigoberta Menchu Tum
              • Ada Isaacs Menken
              • Maria Montessori
              • Mother Theresa
              • Lucretia Cotton Mott
              • Beryl Markham
              • Audrey Munson
              • Baroness Murasaki Shikibu
              • Florence Nightingale
              • Sandra Day O’Connor
              • Scarlett O’Hara
              • Georgia O’Keeffe
              • Annie Oakley
              • Vijaya Lakshimi Pandit
              • Emmeline Pankhurst
              • Rosa Parks
              • Cecilia Penaferdes
              • Eva Peron
              • Lucy Pevensie
              • Christine de Pizan
              • Pocahontas
              • Queen Anne
              • Queen Elizabeth I
              • Queen Isabella
              • Queen Victoria
              • Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy
              • Martha Jefferson Randolph
              • Jeannette Rankin
              • Nancy Reagan
              • Sally Ride
              • Alexandra Romanov
              • Eleanor Roosevelt
              • Sakajawea
              • Lisbeth Salander
              • Irene Sandler
              • Margaret Sanger
              • Sappho
              • Rose Schneiderman
              • Margaret Chase Smith
              • Kate Chase Sprague
              • Germaine de Stael
              • Elizabeth Cady Stanton
              • Gloria Steinem
              • Lucy Stone
              • Harriet Beecher Stowe
              • Harriet Russell Strong
              • Bertha von Suttner
              • Emma Tenayuca
              • Valentina Vladimirovna Nikolayeva Tereshkova
              • Margaret Thatcher
              • Alexandrine Pieternella Francoise Tinne
              • Sojourner Truth
              • Harriet Tubman
              • Tz’u Hsi
              • Yoshiko Uchida
              • Maria Von Trapp
              • Ida B Wells
              • Paula Wengeroff
              • Phyllis Wheatley
              • Oprah Winfrey
              • Mary Wollstonecraft
              • Victoria Woodhull
              • Virginia Woolf
              • Matilda Wormwood
              • Rosalyn Sussman Yalow
              • Malala Yousafzai 

              June Editorial Calendar in Progress

                
              So hard to believe that another month has come and gone…seems like Christmas was only a week ago…oh, how quickly this year is flying by.

              Today I have been sitting here gathering ideas for future blog posts and contemplating ways to make the month of June special for our family.
              In my last post, I listed some of my blogging and life goals for June. They were…

              STARTING THE DAY OFF RIGHT…In June, I will continue character studies with the Rebekah book in this same series.

              GETTING DRESSED…In June I will share the forty piece wardrobe that I have finally finished creating, review the app ClosetSpace, do a segment on foundation, and hopefully start working on my laundry room.

               EATING BREAKFAST…In June, want to gather resources to help you write and publish cookbooks, and possibly other books, in order to have a cookbook published in time for Christmas.

              DROPPING THE KIDS OFF...In June I want to develop a survival game plan for the remaining timespan that my daughter is home from Ole Miss for the summer.

              HEADING OFF TO WORK...In June, I hope to create a command center that will eventually become my reception/reservations center for our bed and breakfast. 

              LASTING THROUGH LUNCH...In June, I want to begin a monthly series of three posts per month on packing lunches for work…The Bento Box, Fat Stanley, and Keeping Cool. 

              MAKING DINNER PLANS…In June, I will study the importance and role of eggs in baking.

              SATISFYING THE SWEET TOOTH...In June I want to focus on red, white, and blue desserts during this patriotic season.

              CREATING A HOME…In June I hope to begin to do a series on doing laundry, talk about scents in the home, and finally start to clear, organize, and decorate our laundry room.

              GETTING HEALTHY...In June I hope to study the best foods to meet your daily protein recommendations.

              CELEBRATING LIFE/SEWING A STRAIGHT SEAM…In June I hope to get my sewing room back into working condition, write my review of Stalin’s Daughtet, and begin another selection from my book list.

                
              The month of June has been designated, by some authority that exists, as…

              —Adopt a Cat Month
              —African-American Music Appreciation Month 
              —California Avocado Month
              —Great Outdoors Month
              —LGBT Pride Month 
              —National Candy Month
              —National Dairy Month
              —National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month
              —National Grilling Month
              —National Horseradish Month
              —National Hot Dog Month
              —National Iced Tea Month
              —National Oceans Month
              — National Papaya Month
              —National Seafood Month
              —National Turkey Lover’s Month

                  
                Each day in June has been designated, by some authority that exists, as… 

                June 1…Children’s Day …Global Day of Parents…World Milk Day…National Hazelnut Cake Day…Flip a Coin Day…June 1, 1926: Marilyn Monroe, actress

                June 2…National Rocky Road Day…National Rotisserie Chicken Day… National Doughnut Day…National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day…June 2, 1960: Kyle Petty, race car driver

                June 3...Confederate Memorial Day..National Chocolate Macaroon Day…National Egg Day…World Clubfoot Day…June 3, 1906: Josephine Baker, dancer, singer, and activist

                June 4...International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression… Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 Memorial Day… National Cancer Survivors Day…National Cheese Day…National Frozen Yogurt Day…National Cognac Day…Hug Your Cat Day
                June 5...World Environment Day…National Gingerbread Day

                June 6...Anniversary of the Normandy Landings…UN Russian Language Day…National Applesauce Cake Day…National Gardening Exercise Day

                June 7…National Chocolate Ice Cream Day…June 7, 1917: Dean Martin, actor, singer, and comedian

                June 8...World Brain Tumor Day…World Oceans Day… Seersucker Thursday…Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day…June 8, 1867: Frank Lloyd Wright, architect

                June 9…International Men’s Health Week…National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day

                June 10Herbs & Spice Day…National Iced Tea Day…National Black Cow Day…June 10, 1922: Judy Garland, actress and singer

                June 11…Kamehameha Day…Children’s Day…National German Chocolate Cake Day

                June 12…Loving Day…World Day Against Child Labour…National Peanut Butter Cookie Day…Red Rose Day

                June 13...Kitchen Klutzes of America Day

                June 14…Flag Day…World Blood Donor Day…National Strawberry Shortcake Day…Army Birthday…June 14, 1811: Harriet Beecher Stowe, author

                June 15...World Blood Donor Day…Global Wind Day…National Lobster Day…June 15, 1954: James Belushi, actor and comedian

                June 16...International Day of the African Child…National Flip Flop Day…National Fudge Day

                June 17...Bunker Hill Day…World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought…Eat All Your Veggies Day…National Apple Strudel Day

                June 18..Father’s Day…Autistic Pride Day…National Cherry Tart Day…International Picnic Day…National Splurge Day…June 18, 1942: Paul McCartney, singer and songwriter

                June 19…Juneteenth…World Sickle Cell Day…World Sauntering Day… National Dry Martini Day

                June 20...West Virginia Day…World Refugee Day…National Vanilla Milkshake Day…First Official Day of Summer
                June 21...Go Skateboarding Day…International Sushi Day…National Peaches and Cream Day…Summer Solstice 

                June 22…National Chocolate Eclair Day
                June 23…International Widows Day…United Nations Public Service Day …Take Your Dog to Work Day… National Pecan Sandy Day

                June 24...Midsummer Day…National Pralines Day

                June 25…National Catfish Day…Statehood Day (Virginia)…World Vitiligo Day…

                June 26…International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking… International Day in Support of Victims of Torture…Forgiveness Day…June 26, 1892: Pearl S. Buck, author and activist

                June 27...Helen Keller Day…National HIV Testing Day…National PTSD Awareness Day… National Indian Pudding Day…National Orange Blossom Day…June 27, 1949: Vera Wang, designer
                June 28Stonewall Riots Anniversary…National Tapioca Day…June 28, 1577: Peter Paul Rubens, painter

                June 29
                …National Almond ButterCrunch Day

                June 30...National Ice Cream Soda Day…Social Media Day 

                    
                  Finally look at what blog topics usually trend in the month of June…

                  • Father’s Day…gift guides…how to make this the best Father’s Day ever…stories about how your own Dad made your life better…stories about fathers making sacrifices for the good of their family
                  • Graduation…Stories about recent graduates…advice about what to do next and how to do it….what to wear for your first interview
                  • Patriotism…American history…ways to celebrate Flag Day…how to plan the perfect Flag Day party 
                  • Summer…how to plan a family reunion…summer hair care

                  Method to My Madness…June

                     

                    
                  Some days I feel like I am writing about so many different topics that there seems to be no method at all to my madness…but my goal is to actually walk through each part of my day and share some things that I have learned that month.

                  So looking back on May…the month that I have been crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s with the Pantone color of Primrose Yellow… 
                       

                  STARTING THE DAY OFF RIGHT…

                  My goal for the year has been to “dig in deep” and study the Book of Genesis for the entire year. 

                  In May, I began character studies about the different women in the book of Genesis…starting with the book Sarah, first in a series written by Orson Scott Card.

                  In June, I will continue character studies with the Rebekah book in this same series.
                     

                       

                  GETTING DRESSED…

                  My goal for the year has been to establish a 40-piece capsule wardrobe, convert to organic skincare and cosmetic products, and transform my laundry room and bedroom closet into places that I would proudly post on both my blog and Pinterest. 

                  In May I honestly got sidetracked by starting my posts in a different section.

                  In June I will share the forty piece wardrobe that I have finally finished creating, review the app ClosetSpace, do a segment on foundation, and hopefully start working on my laundry room.
                     

                      

                  EATING BREAKFAST…

                  My goal for the year has been to start putting together a cookbook of Southern breakfast recipes that I can sell at my bed and breakfast. 

                  In May, I honestly got sidetracked by starting my posts in a different section.

                  In June, want to gather resources to help you write and publish cookbooks, and possibly other books, in order to have a cookbook published in time for Christmas.
                      
                      

                   
                  DROPPING THE KIDS OFF…

                  My goal for the year has been to make sure that the quantity time that I spend with our three year old is quality time also. 

                    In May, I honestly got sidetracked by starting my posts in a different section.

                      In June  I want to develop a survival game plan for the remaining timespan that my daughter is home from Ole Miss for the summer.

                           

                          
                          
                        HEADING OFF TO WORK…

                        My goal for the year has been to move closer to the opening of our bed and breakfast. 

                        In May, I honestly got sidetracked by starting my posts in a different section.

                        In June,  I hope to create a command center that will eventually become my reception/reservations center for our bed and breakfast. 

                          
                        LASTING THROUGH LUNCH…

                        My goal for the year has been to create a system of keeping healthy, portable snacks and lunches available to grab as we hurriedly run out the door each morning. 

                        In May I started blogging by finishing a series of posts on on packing the perfect basket.

                        In June, I want to begin a monthly series of three posts per month on packing lunches for work…The Bento Box, Fat Stanley, and Keeping Cool.

                          

                          

                        MAKING DINNER PLANS…

                        My original goal for the year was to study one different cooking technique per month. I have decided that this was much too big of a goal…instead I will look at one cooking method per quarter..starting with baking.

                        In May my goal to begin a new weekly series of posts on Sunday’s called “Taking up Baking” ended up as a detour through the possibilities of pate de choux, including homemade eclairs and chicken-and-dumplings, the ultimate Southern comfort food.

                        In June, I will study the importance and role of eggs in baking.

                          

                            

                        SATISFYING THE SWEET TOOTH…

                        My goal for the year has been to to start a binder with seasonal desserts to use as a reference once our business is open. 

                        In May I studied pate a choux.

                        In June I want to focus on red, white, and blue desserts during this patriotic season.
                           

                            

                        CREATING A HOME…

                        My goal for the year has been to create minimalistic systems and organization so that “everything can be done decently and in order.”

                        In May, I honestly got sidetracked by starting my posts in a different section.

                        In June I hope to begin to do a series on doing laundry, talk about scents in the home, and finally start to clear, organize, and decorate our laundry room.
                          
                          
                         
                        GETTING HEALTHY…

                        My goal for the year has been to start exercising again and to learn to prep foods that are more appropriate for my diabetic husband. 

                        In May, I honestly got sidetracked by starting my posts in a different section.

                        In June I hope to study the best foods to meet your daily protein recommendations.
                              

                         CELEBRATING LIFE/SEWING A STRAIGHT SEAM…

                        My goal this year has been to do some things honestly just for me…such as finish the umpteen thousand sewing projects sitting around here, start a historical biographies book club, among other things.

                        In May, I honestly got sidetracked by starting my posts in a different section.

                        In June I hope to get my sewing room back into working condition, write my review of Stalin’s Daughtet, and begin another selection from my book list.
                          

                        Now, it’s time to turn the calendar page to June and crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s with the Pantone color Hazelnut.

                          
                          

                        When Life Gives You Lemons, Either Clean (or Make Lemon Cake)

                          
                        Being the traditional Southern belle that I am, there is always at least one gallon of sweet tea in my fridge…as well as lemons.

                        But there are many uses for lemons around the house other than their simply lounging in sweet tea glasses with their best friend, ice…or squishing them in the juicer to make fresh lemonade…

                            
                        Lemons arenaturally antiseptic and energizing…and can be used around the house for…


                        1.  Un-Stinking Garbage Disposals: Toss leftover lemon and orange peels down the drain. The baking soda absorbs the odors in the air while the rinds release an energizing, citrusy smell.

                        Cut three or four lemons in half. Remove the pulp. Fill the empty rinds with a few tablespoons of baking soda each. 

                        Place the rinds in a bowl in an out-of-the way spot. Keep the lemon halves there for a few days or until you don’t notice the citrus smell anymore. Then, if you have a garbage disposal, send the rinds down it — they’ll clean and freshen your drain on the way.


                        2.  Un-Dulling Pots and Pans...Rub the cut side of half a lemon all over them, inside and out. Buff with a soft cloth.

                        3.  UnFunking Faucets...Rub lemon rind over mineral deposits on tarnished chrome faucets. Rinse well. Dry with a soft cloth.

                        4.  Un-Lazying Laundry Detergent...Add 1C lemon juice to the washing machine during the wash cycle.

                        5.  Un-Messying Microwaves…Combine 3Tbsp lemon juice with 1 1/2C water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 5-10 minutes. Wipe away the softened food with a dishrag.

                        6. Un-Obnoxiousing Odors…Place a couple of lemons, cut side up, in a dish in the room.

                        Simmer Pot…Simmer 2 sliced lemons, 2 sprigs rosemary, and 1Tbsp vanilla in pot filled with water to about 1″ below brim.


                        7.  Un-Smellying Cutting Boards…Rub cutting board with cut side of half a lemon. Keep insects out of the kitchen.

                        8.  Un-Stinkying Refrigerators…Dab lemon juice on a cotton ball or sponge. Leave it in the fridge for several hours. 

                        Cut a few lemons into quarters. Put them in a pot of boiling water to release citrus-infused steam into the air.
                        9.  Un-Unsightlying Underarm Stains…Scrub the stained area on shirts and blouses with equal parts lemon juice and water. 

                        10. Un-Inviting Unwanted Ants, as if any ants are wanted…First squirt some lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Then squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Finally, scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance. 

                        11.  Un-Inviting Unwanted Roaches and Fleas...Mop your floors with the juice and rinds of 4 lemons and 2 liters water.

                        12.  Un-Wearying Weary Whites…Soak delicates in a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda for at least half an hour before washing, instead of  household chlorine bleach.

                        13.  All-Purpose Kitchen CleanerMake your own using real lemon-scented all-purpose cleaner by mixing together lemons and some white distilled vinegar. 

                        Vinegar is a potent cleaner that is useful around the kitchen for all sorts of tasks…such as removing stains, breaking down soap scum, cleaning wood cabinets, killing mold, inhibiting the growth of some strains of E. coli, and more. 

                        But vinegar smells like vinegar. 

                        Mask this harsh vinegar smell by soaking lemon rinds in a large Mason jar of white vinegar in a dark place for at least two weeks. The longer you let it sit, the more the lemon will infuse into the vinegar. After two weeks, strain the mixture using a fine-mesh sieve placed over a large bowl. Discard the peels.

                        Add the lemon cleaner to a spray bottle and use it as you would any other all-purpose cleaner.


                        14.  Un-Inviting MosquitosBreak block of  100% organic beeswax into pieces. Place in a glass bowl over a pan filled with simmering water. Melt over medium heat. Stir citronella oil into the melted wax. 

                        Slice lemons in half. Insert a knife carefully around the edge to separate the fruit from the peel. The inside should be dry and free of any pulp.

                        Once the wax begins to melt, cut wooden wicks.  Dip the ends of the wicks into the wax. Coat the base of the wick with enough wax to adhere it to the bottom of the lemons. 

                        Pour into each lemon. Hold the wick steady while you’re pouring and until the wax is hardened enough for the wick to stand on its own. Repeat with each of your lemons.

                        Set aside twelve hours to cool and harden.
                        15.  Un-Inviting-Clogging Tub and Shower Drains…Boil a big pot of water on the stove. Pour it down the drain. Wait for the water to drain. 

                        Slowly pour 1C baking soda down the drain, using a spoon or funnel. Add 1C lemon juice. Use your tub stopper or a rag to cover the drain. Wait 30min.

                        Uncover the drain. Pour more boiling water down the drain. Repeat until your drain is no longer clogged.

                        Do this once a quarter to prevent those big clogs from building up again.


                        And on those days when you don’t feel like cleaning, bake a lemon cake instead

                           

                        Lemon Cake

                        1. Preparing to Bake…Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 9″ round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the paper.
                        2. Making the Batter…Cream together…4 eggs…1tsp vanilla… 2tsp lemon zest…1Tbsp lemon juice…1 1/2C sugar. Sift together 2 1/4C flour…1Tbsp baking powder…1tsp salt. Add to batter.
                        3. Bb aking the Cake…Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.  Bake 30min. Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
                        4. Place one cooled cake layer on a cake plate. Generously spread 1/3C lemon curd over the top. Add next layer of cake. 
                        5. Make the Frosting: Whip 1 1/2C heavy whipping cream…3Tbsp sugar. Gently fold in 3Tbsp lemon curd.
                        6. Frost the top and sides with the whipped lemon cream frosting. 
                        7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
                        8. Dead skin cells, soap scum, random food scraps, human hair, pet hair, and just regular ol’ dirt — these are all the things you regularly wash down your sink or tub’s drain. And if they sound gross now, image how much worse they are once they’ve congealed into a stringy, slimy ball of gunk inside your pipes. Yuck!

                          Taking Up Baking…Profiteroles

                            
                          As most other treats made with choux dough-croquembouches, éclairs, French crullers, beignets, St. Honoré cake, quenelles, Parisian gnocchi, dumplings, gougères, chouquettes and craquelins-making profiterole requires that you first prepare the choux pastry dough.

                          Next you either pipe the dough through a pastry bag and bake to form hollow puffs, or drop the dough into small balls into boiling water to cook.

                          Profiterole are typically filled with a typically sweet and moist filling, such as whipped cream, custard, pastry cream, or ice cream….but may also be served as savory items by filling the shells with pureed meats and cheese.

                          Profiterole then may be left plain or garnished with chocolate ganache, caramel glaze, or a dusting of powdered sugar. 

                          Profiterole are the building blocks for both croquembouches and the outer wall of St. Honoré Cake.

                            
                          Profiterole

                          1.  Prep
                          …Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a pastry bag with a 1/2″ plain round tip. Line two rimmed baking sheets with baking parchment. 

                          2.  Make the Dough…

                            1C milk
                            1/4tsp salt
                            1C water
                            8Tbsp butter
                            5 eggs
                            Pinch cinnamon

                              Bring the milk, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk together the flour and salt. Once the butter melts, reduce the heat. 

                              Add the flour mixture to the saucepan all at once. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. 

                              Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Let cool for 4 minutes. The mixture does not have to be cold, just cool enough not to cook the eggs when added. 

                              Add the eggs. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cinnamon.

                              3.  Piping the Dough…
                              Spoon the dough into the pastry bag.  Pipe into 18 puffs, each 1-1/2″ wide x 1 ” high onto the baking sheet, spacing at least 1″ between each. Dip your finger in water and smooth the top of each ball where the pastry bag released the dough. 

                              Note…The dough can be frozen at this point on the tray then collected into freezer bags and sealed.

                              4.  Baking the Profiterole …Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time to insure even cooking. 

                              Turn off the oven. Allow them to sit in the oven for another 10 minutes.

                              When done, the puffs should be light, airy and dry inside…and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. 

                              Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape.  

                              Set on a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before icing.

                              5.  Making the Chocolate Sauce…


                              1/2C heavy cream
                              12oz semisweet chocolate chips
                              2Tbsp honey
                              2Tbsp prepared coffee

                              Bring a saucepan with 1″ of water to a boil.  Place the cream and chocolate chips in a metal or heatproof glass mixing bowl. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan with boiling water, being careful that the mixing bowl does not actually touch the surface of the boiling water. Stir just until the chocolate melts and everything is combined. Add the honey and coffee. Stir until smooth. Remove bowl from heat once the chocolate has melted.

                              6.  Serving the profiterole…
                              Cut each profiterole in half horizontally. Fill each with a small scoop of high-quality vanilla ice cream. Replace the top. Drizzle with  warm chocolate sauce.

                                Taking Up Baking…Parisian Gnocchi

                                  
                                Learning the basic techniques behind good cooking, such as how to make a good pâte à choux, is far more important than mastering a specific recipe.
                                As shown in recent posts, this dough can be piped into decorative logs and filled with pastry cream to make eclairs…sandwiched with dollops of chantilly or ice cream to make cream puffs or profiteroles…deep-fried to make light and puffy beignets…or mixed with herbs and cheese and baked for savory gougères.

                                Regardless of what you are making, the basic technique behind making pâte à choux remains the same…

                                First, boil water and butter in a saucepan…then dump in flour all at once and stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon until a smooth ball of dough forms. Finish making the dough by adding eggs and beating the dough until creating a sticky, paste-like dough that holds itself together just well enough to be piped from a piping bag.

                                Today we will be talking about Parisian gnocchi.
                                Parisian-style gnocchi are very different than the traditional Italian potato version and actually easier to prepare. 

                                Parisian-style gnocchi are made by piping the pâte à choux directly into boiling water, cooking until they rise to the surface, and finally searing them lightly to create texture.

                                Parisian Gnocchi

                                 1tsp salt
                                1⁄4tsp nutmeg
                                3 Tbsp butter
                                1C flour
                                3 large eggs
                                1⁄4 cup freshly grated parmesan, gruyere, or asiago cheese

                                  
                                1. Making the Dough...Combine water, salt, nutmeg, and 2Tbsp of the butter in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Add flour all at once. Beat dough with wooden spoon until thick. Cook, stirring to dry out dough, about 30 seconds.

                                Beat 1 egg into dough until incorporated. Beat in 1/4 cup cheese and another egg until blended. Beat in last egg until dough is smooth and shiny. 

                                At this point you may also add chopped fresh herbs–chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon-for a more savoury version.

                                Gnocchi dough can be refrigerated overnight before boiling and baking. 

                                  
                                2. Cooking the Gnocchi…Transfer dough to medium bowl. Let cool 5 minutes.

                                Bring large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Set bowl of ice water near stove.

                                Transfer dough to large pastry bag.

                                Reduce boiling water to gentle simmer. 

                                Hold bag over water with one hand. Squeeze out dough into the water, using a small sharp knife to cut it into 1-1/2″ lengths.

                                Simmer gnocchi 3 minutes. 

                                Drop cooked gnocchi into nearby bowl of ice water. Drain on paper towel-lined baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil. Allow to cool.

                                Cooked gnocchi can be transferred to a sealed container and stored in the refrigerator for up to a few days until you’re ready to fry or broil them just before serving. 

                                  
                                3. Finishing the Gnocchi...The next step and the toppings for the gnocchi now are totally a matter of personal choice. you may bake them, broil them, or Sauteeing them in butter.

                                Baking…Grease 9×13 baking dish with 1Tbsp butter. Scoop gnocchi into the dish.Top with 2Tbsp cheese. Bake 25 minutes. 

                                Broiling…Preheat broiler. Broil gnocchi 6″ from heat for 1 to 2 minutes. …

                                Searing…Add gnocchi to aa very hot skillet. Add just enough butter to cover them. Top with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Cook over high heat for thirty seconds. Be careful not to agitate them too much when searing. As they heat, they get even more tender. 

                                Sautéeing…Sautée gnocchi with butter, lemon, and fresh parsley.

                                The gnocchi can now be used as a blank palate for any number of seasonally-based pasta dishes….just like any other type of pasta.

                                Taking Up Baking … Gougères

                                  
                                Gougères are another pastry made from the classic French pâte à choux.
                                These baked savory pastries are made with a generous amount of grated Gruyère, Comté, or Emmentaler cheese folded into the dough before baking. 
                                They are said to have come from Burgundy, particularly the town of Tonnerre in the Yonne department, where they are generally served cold when tasting wine in cellars.

                                Earlier forms of gougères were more a stew than a pastry, including herbs, bacon, eggs, cheese, spices, and meat mixed with an animal’s blood, and prepared in a sheep’s stomach. In medieval France, gougères we’re a kind of cheese tart or pie. Later, gougères were unknown outside what is now Belgium, and became associated with Palm Sunday.

                                Gougères can be served as an alternative to dinner rolls, offered as an appetizer, or stuffed with deli meat to make sandwiches.

                                Gougères are loved by everyone, including children…can be made weeks in advance or an hour before you need them…are  transformed easily by using different cheeses, herbs and spices…and are made from everyday items you most likely have on hand at all times.

                                Drier cheeses— Parmesan, Asiago, or Manchego—make better gougères because there is less moisture to drive out during baking, and they puff just a little bit better in the oven, making for crispier gougères.

                                  

                                Cheese Gougères

                                1C water
                                8Tbsp butter
                                1/2tsp salt
                                1/2tsp mustard
                                1C flour
                                4 eggs
                                1 1/2C grated cheese 
                                1.  Preparing to Bake…Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

                                2. Making the Dough…Place the water, butter, salt, and mustard in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring to melt the butter. Cook until the butter melts.

                                Remove the pan from heat. Add the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and resembles mashed potatoes.

                                Return the pan to medium-low heat. Cook 5 minutes to dry out the dough. The dough is ready when it is thick enough to hold a spoon upright and a film of starch forms on the bottom of the pan. If the batter is too loose when you begin incorporating the eggs, the dough will not puff properly come baking time.

                                Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. 

                                Allow the dough to cool for two minutes. 

                                Add the eggs, one a time, fully incorporating each one before adding another. Scrape down the bowl each time and check the consistency of the paste. It should be stiff enough to stand, but soft enough to spread. 

                                Add the cheese. 

                                3.  Piping the Gougères…Gougères can be made any size…smaller ones are great as appetizers… larger ones can be used to make sandwiches.
                                Drop dough onto the baking sheets, using an ice cream scoop, two spoons, or piping bag fitted with a wide round tip.

                                Be sure to leave an inch of space around all sides of your gougères to keep them from sticking together.

                                4.  Baking the Gougres…Bake 5 minutes.Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake 25 more minutes.

                                Turn off the heat. Allow the pastry to stand in the closed oven for 15 minutes so the insides can thoroughly dry out. Transfer the baking sheets to a cooling rack. Finished gougères will be deep golden-brown, and will feel light and hollow when picked up.

                                Serve warm or at room temperature.

                                Gougères may be baked up to three hours in advance and reheated in a 350 degrees oven for five minutes just before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or frozen for up to three months. Re-crisp in a warm oven before serving.

                                Taking Up Baking…French Crullers

                                  
                                French crullers another pastry made from choux pastry.

                                These fluted, ring-shaped doughnuts with a light airy texture were once a specialty at Dunkin Donuts, but have been taken off the menu because they were too “difficult” to make.

                                But the following recipe should help you make your own French Crullers at home, quite easily.

                                  

                                1.  Making the pate a choux:

                                • ½C milk
                                • 1/2C water
                                • 8Tbsp butter
                                • 2tsp sugar
                                • 1 teaspoon sugar
                                • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
                                • 1-¼Cflour
                                • 3 eggs
                                • 2 egg whites

                                Preheat oven to 450.

                                  Bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a brisk boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon  until a thin film start to coat the bottom of the pan.Cook 4 minutes, stirring continuously. Stirring continuously keeps the batter from getting lumpy.

                                  It is important when making the dough that it is not over mixed as you want a certain texture and elasticity to the dough. 

                                  Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir the dough for a minute to help it cool. Turn the mixer to medium speed. Add one egg. Add the egg whites a little bit at a time until the dough becomes smooth and glossy and holds a little shape.

                                  2.  Piping the Crullers…Refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2″ star tip. Fill the bag with the cooled pate a choux. Pipe even rings of dough onto the prepared parchment paper, at least 2″ apart. 

                                  The two ends of the dough, after being piped, must be brought together at the same level. 

                                  Nice ridges in the French Cruller will prove whether or not the donut was piped and cooked correctly. 

                                  3.  Glazing the Crullers…

                                  • 4C confectioners’ sugar
                                  • Pinch kosher salt
                                  • 4Tbsp honey
                                  • 3Tbsp bourbon
                                  • 6Tbsp milk

                                  Mix the confectioners’ sugar, honey, bourbon, and milk together until smooth. Dip the top of each cruller into the honey glaze.Set on a cooling rack to dry.

                                  Glaze crullers while they are warm, so that the glaze soaks into the choux. 

                                  4.  Baking the Crullers…
                                  Bake 5 minutes.
                                  Reduce oven temp to 350. Bake another 15 minutes. 

                                  Turn off heat. Open the oven door a crack. Let crullers sit for 5 minutes before glazing them.

                                  Glaze them. Serve.

                                    Taking Up Baking … The Classic Eclair

                                      
                                    Another pastry made with choux dough is the classic eclair.

                                      The éclair, originally called “pain à la Duchesse“or “petite duchesse,” were first made by Antonin Carême, the famous French chef, around 1850. The first known English-language recipe for éclairs appears in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln, published in 1884.

                                        Eventually the pastries came to be known as éclairs...the French word meaning ‘flash of lightning’…because the eclair is supposedly eaten quickly, or “in a flash.”

                                          The classic eclair consists of a crispy golden shell of pâte à choux, a rich pudding-like filling of vanilla pastry cream, and a chocolate ganache glaze on top…

                                            And a batch of eclairs takes about the same amount of time to make as required to make a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls. 

                                              So let’s “Take Up Baking”…

                                                

                                                1.  Making the Eclair Shells…The ingredients in pâte à choux are simple–merely milk, water, eggs, butter, flour, sugar, and salt…but actually making the pâte à choux and the eclair shells is probably the most intimidating piece of the puzzle.

                                                  

                                                2.  Starting the choux dough on top of the stove…Bring 1C water, 8Tbsp butter, 1/2tsp salt, 1-1/2tsp sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Using a spoon instead of a whisk or fork will keep the flour from getting stuck in the tines.

                                                Return to the heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball… about 2 minutes. 

                                                At this point, move the dough from the stove to the mixing bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Controlling the amount of air that gets worked into pâte à choux dough is crucial…because too much air will make the shells either crack in the oven or explode and collapse. Using a paddle attachment and mixing at a slow speed will keep both the amount of air in the eggs and the amount of air in the choux at a minimum.

                                                  
                                                3.  Finishing the choux dough in the mixer…Beat on low speed one minute.

                                                Add three eggs, one by one, making sure each egg is completely emulsified before adding the next. As you add the egg, the dough will at first break apart, but as you continue to beat it will come back together.

                                                Continue to mix until you have a smooth, glossy, thick paste-like dough…and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the fourth remaining egg.

                                                It is important that you only add as much egg as the dough will hold.  If you add too many eggs, you will have trouble piping the dough, and the pastries will have trouble puffing and drying out in the oven.

                                                If the dough is ready, it will look soft, creamy-colored, and very smooth…and will leave behind a little “V” of dough on the spatula if you scoop up a little bit with your spatula and let it slide back into the bowl.

                                                Spread the mixture onto a sheet pan and cover with Saran Wrap until cooled to room temperature.

                                                  
                                                4.  Piping the Shells…Draw a dozen 3-1/2″ lines on a piece of parchment paper, spacing the lines about 3″ apart. This will serve as a template or guide.

                                                Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the template under the parchment paper.

                                                Place the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip.

                                                Pipe eight to twelve oblong lengths of dough, about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog, onto the lined baking sheet using the template as a guide.

                                                Whisk an egg and water together in a bowlto create an egg wash. Brush the surface of each eclair with the egg wash. This gives the pastry a lovely golden brown sheen and allows you to smoothe out any imperfections on the surface of the pastry. 
                                                  
                                                5.  Baking the Shells…Preheat oven to 475. 

                                                Bake 15 minutes. Starting the baking process at a very high heat allows the steam from the butter and eggs in the dough to expand very quickly, which creates the space for the filling, the most important thing about an éclair.

                                                Remove shells from oven. Let cool to room temperature.

                                                Reduce the oven temperature to 350.

                                                  Bake shells 15 more minutes. Baking the éclair shells this second time dries out the choux and makes the shells extra firm and crispy.

                                                  The shells are ready once they are a nice light golden brown color and are almost dry inside when split.

                                                  Remove from oven. Place on a wire rack to cool.

                                                  Poke each of the shells with a toothpick to release any steam trapped inside.

                                                  Let them cool completely before filling them.
                                                    
                                                  6.  Making the Filling …Eclairs may now be filled with chiboust cream…chocolate, coffee, pistachio, rum, or vanilla custard…fruit-flavoured filling…lemon curd…pastry cream..or whipped cream.

                                                  Eclair Filling...Heat 2C milk and 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, to a boil over medium heat.  Immediately turn off the heat. Set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.  Whisk six egg yolks and 2/3C sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1/4C  cornstarch.  Whisk in 1/4C of the hot milk mixture vigorously until no lumps remain.  Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until milk starts to foam up. Remove from heat. Stir in 1Tbsp cold unsalted butter. 

                                                  For a chocolate pastry cream, simply stir two ounces of finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate into the hot pastry cream.

                                                  For a mocha flavor add 1 1/2tsp instant coffee or espresso powder.

                                                    Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. 

                                                    Cool to room temperature or refrigerate up to 24 hours. 

                                                      
                                                    7.  Filling the Eclair Shells…Split the pastry shells in half, lengthwise. Place pastry cream into a piping bag. Fit the piping bag with a medium-size plain tip. Pipe filling into each eclair shell. Use just enough filling to fill the inside…Don’t stuff them full.
                                                      
                                                    8.  Making the Glaze…The final step is to ice or glaze the eclairs with vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, or chocolate glaze. Caramel-glazed eclairs are often referred to as bâton de Jacob.

                                                    Chocolate Glaze…Heat 1/2C heavy cream over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately pour it over 4oz coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate. Stir in 1tsp vanilla extract. Whisk until melted and smooth. Cover.

                                                    Glaze can be made up and stored in the refrigerator up to 48 hours in advance. Rewarm in a microwave or over hot water when ready to use.

                                                    Dip the top halves of the eclair shells in the warm glaze, letting the excess drip off. Place on a wire rack to dry for ten minutes.

                                                      
                                                    9.  Assembling the Eclairs…Once the glaze is dry, gently place the top half of the pastry shell on the cream. Spread icing over the top of each. Let sit for about 5-10 , until the icing hardens, before serving.

                                                    Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.

                                                    Finished eclairs can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days…if they last that long…