Long food post ahead, you've been warned.
Making things is wonderful. I like learning things that I can physically use in some way. I picked up a book about doing masonry work and laying bricks the other day. I can't really practice that right now but I can dream. I day dream about food pretty often. Which reminds me I never got around to making steamed pork buns last year. I have noted that for now. Anyway, whenever my eye catches a recipe with simple and cheap ingredients I pay well attention. Butter and cream are some of my arch enemies when it comes to wanting to play in the kitchen because they are pricey. I usually give in regardless and buy them.
I came across a recipe for making eclairs today. It couldn't be much simpler. A bunch of eggs, some water, butter, sugar, and salt. But I wouldn't have delicious eclairs without a cream for the inside. I had never made a pastry cream to this point though. It didn't look that hard in comparison to the eclairs and I had a bit of experience from making custard ice cream last month. I doubled the pastry cream recipe so I would have plenty of cream to pipe into the heavenly eclairs I had envisioned earlier in the day. That was a mistake. I really should have tried it once first before sacrificing my milk.
I scorched the first batch of pastry cream just lightly enough that it ruined the entire 2 cups of it. I almost let myself use it because I'm too thrifty. Yet, if it isn't right then it's really no good. I remade it successfully being much more careful. I found out, however, that my home made vanilla essence seems to be pretty worthless now. I'm not sure what happened to it. I luckily had some vanilla oil to flavor the pastry cream. I let that sit and firm up while I attacked the eclairs.
It was super simple. I followed the baking instructions exactly and things looked great until I adjusted the oven temperature, as it stated. Most of the eclairs sank from their once puffy shapes. Upon later inspection they just weren't cooked through enough to support themselves yet. They need more cooking time on the initial puff. I managed to get some good ones despite this but also ruined a lot. I saved the best to fill with the cream. I taped a straw in the corner of a plastic bag to squirt the cream in. Not that effective but it worked.
They also got a dip in some melted chocolate to finish them off.
I can't complain. They taste great. I'll make them better next time. I might even make some cream puffs. Maybe...