Wisconsin is a funny place in some regards. There is a very French heritage in the state that is present in the name of its cities and towns (e.g. La Crosse, Eau Claire). The French heritage is quite old and mostly forgotten now. It came with the French fur traders. Then there is the German heritage which everyone is more familiar with. I’ve been told many times that Wisconsin has so many Germans because the landscape reminded the German immigrants of Germany, so they stayed. That is where some of the most familiar Wisconsin things come from (e.g. beer and sausage).
Even though most of the French heritage has been forgotten in all but names, there is one thing that remains. While other states boast of “fried everything on a stick” at their state fairs, Wisconsin’s most popular state fair item isn’t fried at all. It’s a cream puff. A humongous, delicious cream puff piles with tons of fresh whipped cream and powdered sugar. They even have a drive thru outside the fairgrounds for cream puffs! Whenever I go to the Wisconsin State Fair I always make sure to see the pig races and then there are two things I always eat, a corn on the cob and the other is a cream puff. That’s all I need.
The cream puffs at the Wisconsin State Fair are made out of the same dough that this week’s TWD recipe for Bubble Eclairs is made out of, a pate de choux. This recipe comes from Dorie’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook, which is a lovely compilation of French inspired desserts. I’ve never made a pate de choux before, but I have to say that it came together quite quickly and easily. I made it all in one pot and with one utensils, a wooden spoon.
For the filling for my Bubble Éclairs, I choose to go with Dorie’s chocolate pastry cream. This pastry cream also only required one pot, and it pretty much just like chocolate pudding. My éclairs baked up beautifully. Instead of brushing mine with egg though, I did milk since I didn’t want to waste an egg. They still browned nicely. Once assembled, I sprinkled them with powdered sugar and we dug in.
All four of us enjoyed these. I would love to say what we said about them, but instead of talking it was mostly silent at the table. In my mind, that is a better response than words. They did remind me of the Wisconsin State Fair, which sadly, we didn’t make it to this year for my annual cream puff. These éclairs will hold me over though.
Please go over to the TWD site to see how other people filled and enjoyed their Bubble Éclairs. And if you want the recipe, please buy the book.