Welcome, Susan, to the Patchwork Quilt Blog. We'll start off with a recipe and then move on to Susan's newest novel, Sara's Surprise, that has just released.
Here’s a recipe for French Eclairs from Sara's Surprise.
KAY’S ECLAIRS AU CHOCOLATE
Preheat oven to 375º F and lightly grease two large baking sheets. Makes twelve éclairs.
½ cup butter
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
• In a medium saucepan, heat butter, water, and salt to boiling. Remove from heat and add flour all at once. Stir until mixture forms a ball.
• Add eggs, one at a time, beating until the batter is smooth. Cool slightly.
• Drop by one-fourth cupsful onto cookie sheet two inches apart, in rows six inches apart to make ten eclairs. Form into a rectangle and round the edges. (You can also use a pastry bag.)
• Bake for 40 minutes, until the éclairs puff up and turn golden brown. Turn off oven and let them sit in the cooling oven for 10 minutes.
• Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before filling.
• Make Pastry Cream.
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups whole milk
6 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla (or almond flavoring)
1 ½ cups heavy or whipping cream
• In a saucepan mix sugar, flour and salt. Add milk. Heat mixture until it thickens and boils (about ten minutes). Boil for one minute.
• In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Stir yolks into mixture.
• Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats a spoon. (Do not boil.)
• Remove from the heat, stir in vanilla, and chill for about two hours before filling pastry.
• Beat whipping cream to stiff peaks and gently fold into custard before filling eclairs.
• Make chocolate glaze.
2 squares of semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk
• In a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate then stir in sugar and milk until smooth. Remove from the heat immediately. Stir in almond flavor and let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Assembling the Éclairs
• Slice off about one-third of the top of each shell and fill with cream.
• Replace tops and spread with glaze. Refrigerate until serving.
ABOUT THE NOVEL . . .
Sara O’Neill, works as an assistant pastry chef at the magnificent Thousand Islands Crossmon Hotel where she meets precocious, lovable, seven-year-old Madison and her charming father and hotel manager, Sean Graham. But Jacque LaFleur, the pastry chef Sara works under, makes her dream job a nightmare.
Sean Graham has trouble keeping his mind off Sara and Madison out of mischief. Though he finds Sara captivating, he despises LaFleur and misreads Sara’s desire to learn from the pastry chef as affection. Can Sean learn to trust Sara and can she trust herself to be an instant mother?
In researching how to make pastries that’ll delight your palate, I learned way more than I’d ever dreamed. Like how to properly break an egg and how to cream sugar and eggs the right way. And did you know that you laminate Pain au chocolat?There’s much to learn about French baking, to be sure, and you’ll learn along with Sara. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and give some for Christmas gifts as it’s a lovely Christmas story as well. And if you ever get harassed, please speak up. You’ll be glad you did.
ABOUT SUSAN . . .
Susan G Mathis is a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Katelyn’s Choice, the first in The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, is available now, and book two, Devyn’s Dilemma, releases in April, 2020. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are available now. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children's picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her wonderful husband, Dale, and relishes each time she gets to see or Skype with her four granddaughters.
Where can you find Susan?