I have some very good news. Cafe Fernando was named the “Best Culinary Travel Blog” at Saveur’s 1st Annual Food Blog Awards! Many thanks to Saveur for nominating and YOU for voting. Congratulations to all the other winners – it is an honor to be in such great company.
This calls for a celebration and the best way I know how is to bake something fantastic.
What makes these pistachio eclairs fantastic is a secret ingredient. In fact, so secret, it even managed to hide from me for more than a year. Actually, I might be the one to blame… I have a very clumsy cleaning lady. She is super sweet, but God knows you can set up a bar with the glasses she’s broken. And not just any glass; she somehow manages to find the rarest piece. I’ve learned my lesson over the years, so whenever I buy or receive something precious, I hide it. I hide it at the very back of the hardest-to-reach cabinet, which is on top of the refrigerator (she’s 5′ 1″), and make sure to camouflage it with cheaper items – just in case she decides to climb on a chair.
Although this sounds like a great idea, it creates another problem: Hard-to-find ingredients that are way past their expiration dates.
More than a year ago, Sara of Ms. Adventures in Italy visited Istanbul. She was too kind to bring me gifts from Italy and among them was a jar of Crema di Pistacchio.
As you’ve probably guessed, it is a creamy paste prepared with pistachios from Bronte, a town in Sicily considered to be the world capital of pistachios. World-famous pistachios in a glass jar – just the kind of thing my super sweet cleaning lady would gladly destroy.
So, as soon as I brought it back home, I immediately stuffed it in my super-secret hiding place. AND forgot all about it. I initially planned to wow the guests at the New Year’s Eve Dinner Party with David’s Pistachio Gelato recipe, but then my Paris trip pulled me in a different direction.
Well, now is the time. I prepared my usual pastry cream (without butter and half the sugar) and whisked in a whole jar of Bronte pistacchio cream. I don’t know how, but it is as if someone roasted a ton of pistachios and magically trapped the smell inside this tiny jar. I stuffed the eclairs with this fantastic mixture and glazed them with a sticky chocolate ganache.
And don’t worry if you don’t have a generous friend living in Italy, you can find Bronte pistachio cream online here and here. And if you’re living in Turkey, here’s a very nice substitute: Bronte’s Turkish cousin, Fıstıko! It has twice the amount of pistachios (%80) and is much more grainy than the Italian version, but I’m sure it will work great with the recipe (can be found at Carrefour Express).
Pâte à choux (14 eclairs)
- 1 cup water
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1+1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
Pistachio Pastry Cream (2 cups)
- 1+1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch, sifted
- A jar of Bronte Pistacchio Cream (7 oz)
Chocolate Ganache Glaze (1 cup)
- 4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (%70), chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 2 tsp light corn syrup (optional)
- To prepare the pistachio pastry cream (I recommend preparing this a day in advance), fill a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil and set aside.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch.
- Whisking constantly, drizzle one quarter of the hot milk over the yolks. Continue adding the hot milk, half a cup at a time, until it has been incorporated.
- Put the pan over medium heat and whisking vigorously, bring the mixture to a boil.
- Keep at the boil (still whisking) until thick, for 1-2 minutes, then take off heat and whisk in the pistachio cream.
- Scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl, put the bowl over the ice bath, and stirring frequently, cool the cream to 140 F (60C).
- Remove the cream from the ice bath, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap (press the plastic against the cream’s surface to create an airtight seal) and put in the refrigerator. Pastry cream can be refrigerated for 2 days.
- To prepare the eclairs, preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Bring water, butter and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over high heat.
- Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium low and quickly start stirring with a wooden spoon, until a light crust forms on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for a couple more minutes to dry the dough. Take off heat.
- Add eggs one by one while beating the dough until it is shiny and thick. Once all the eggs have been incorporated, the still-warm dough should be used immediately.
- Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a plain 3/4-inch tip and pipe out 4- inch-long strips, making sure to leave about 2 inches of puff space between them.
- Bake for 10 minutes before slipping the handle of a wooden spoon into the oven to keep the door slightly ajar. After the 15th minute, rotate pans front to back and top to bottom and continue baking for another 10 minutes (total baking time is 25 minutes) until the eclairs are golden, firm and puffed (adjust cooking time accordingly). Transfer the eclairs to a rack and let cool.
- To prepare the chocolate ganache glaze, bring cream and milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Place chopped chocolate (and corn syrup if you’re using) in a mixing bowl and pour the hot cream mixture, through a sieve, over the chopped chocolate. Wait for a minute and then stir slowly with a spatula until smooth. Let stand, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened.
- Assembly – When the eclairs reach room temperature, cut them lengthwise into two, fill the bottom layer with the pistachio pastry cream, glaze the top with chocolate ganache glaze and place on top of the bottom layer.
Bread and Beta
Congratulations on being named Saveur’s Best Culinary Travel Blog. It is an award well deserved.
Congratulations on your blog placement on Saveur’s list!~~ I was fortunate to have enjoyed Bronte pistachios on a trip to Sicily and THEY DO NOT EXPORT THE NUTS, just that awesome jar you used in your recipe. Great recipe…the flavors must be amazing.
Omigosh. That looks like it came straight from the display case of Pierre Herme or Sadaharu Aoki. Is cream di pistacchio sweetened? We have a patisserie here that makes a sweet pistachio butter-type thing. I love it.
Congratulations on the win!!
these sound delicious!
The Hungry Mouse
Congrats on the award, man! Very well deserved! 😀
And these look amazing. Need to get my paws on a jar of that stuff.
These are just amazing! The pistachio cream really gives them that wow factor. Congrats on your award! (I totally voted for you – your blog is seriously awesome.)
Congrats ! And a recipe regal enough to celebrate.
Congratulations on the win!
Eclairs really do seem like a great way to celebrate!
I tend to just lose ingredients out of my own forgetfulness. It’s never fun to come across something amazing that has expired! I’m glad you caught your Crema di Pisstachio!
As a clumsy person I think you’re being totally unfair on your cleaning lady! I can’t stand up straight after spending a single hour of cleaning my tiny room I can’t begin to imagine her condition after spending hours everyday cleaning houses. Man, always someone there to clean after you! First your mothers, then your cleaning lady and finally your wives.
Ahahah sorry for the rant but I just had to comment for that 🙂 Otherwise congratulations!
sarah (Catch A Cub In Its Den)
what a fun/original take on a classic food!
Your blog is new to me but I like what I see. You are now in my reader. Congratulations on your win.
Congratulations on your nomination. And the eclairs look gorgeous. I love the flavour of the pistachio filling, not forgetting the green colour as well.
when i saw that filling, I died for just a moment….gosh…i need my fix of pistachio!
Oh my goodness! These look so wonderful. I love the idea of pistachio in the center more than cream…
Congrats on the Saveur award. I just found your blog and am enchanted by those eclairs. I never knew about pistachio cream but will have to grab some next time I’m in Italy.
Congrats on your award. I can always find inspiration here both in the food and your photos
you’ve got me with this one! i love pistachios and i love eclairs. you’ve combined them so wonderfully here. I have a jar of pistachio cream too – i wanted to use it in something else but you’ve tempted me!!
Congrats on your award!I just discovered your blog and think it is great. I know exactly what you mean about San Francisco- I also lived there for a while and have been missing it ever since. One of my favorite places in the world!
Your eclairs are perfect!!!
Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy
I think we need to schedule another meet-up! 🙂
Anything with pistachio. . . I’m there.
Congratulations on your well-deserved win!
Thank you for the marvelous food that you bring to us and help us create for ourselves. I love the new ingredients that you find to share.
My eclairs are already sought after by friends and family, I think I will not be left alone, should I make these! Pistachio is a huge favorite in my family.
Those look very nice, congrats and thanks for sharing
Congratulations on your award and thank you for this post: I’m flying to Istanbul in a couple of days and will look for Fistiko… and Carrefour Express which I didn’t notice last time I was there….
Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams
Beautiful éclairs so perfectly made one would think they come right out of a Parisian pâtisserie. Well done and congratulations on receiving the award.
Cenk, the award is really deserved – congratulations!
Your eclairs are so pretty – look at the color of that filling! Stunning.
We’re in sync, I made dulce de leche profiteroles the other day.
Aysegul - nysdelight
Cenk – congrats on the Win! Most deserved! So, we want to see more of your travel photos that are always breathtakingly awesome!
& Just as delicious as those pistacio filled eclairs..
Great recipe, I love the combination of the chocolate and the pistachio.
I have been proudly following you for a while here in the East Bay, so happy for you. Saveur is a great magazine and this award shows that they know what they are doing..
Lots of goodness to your way..
I’m nominating you for Happy 101 award because I really like your blog and I enjoy reading it all the time.
Your food and recipes looks amazing.
amazing!!! I am so proud of you Cenk! You are incredible!!! You can also make your own pistachio cream, what are the ingredients in that jar? also can you please make these eclairs gluten-free and vegan? then we can get married and live forever:)
Uzun araştırmalar sonunda nihayet resimdeki fıstık kremanın aynısını buldum. Roma ziyaretim esnasında Porta Portese’yi gezerken yerel Sicilya ürünleri satan yaşlı bir teyzenin tezgahında rastladım ve hemen satın aldım elbette. Ancak şimdi bu muhteşem görünümlü tatlıyı denemek için yorgun ve hasta olmadığım bir günün gelmesini bekliyorum. Bir de bu sosu asıl olarak makarna yapımında kullanıldığını söyleyen teyzenin de sözünü dinlemek üzere bir kısmını makarna sosu için ayıracağım. Aklına gelen yaratıcı bir fıstıklı makarna sosu tarifi gelirse paylaşır mısın lütfen? evde bolca parmesan, pesto di pomodoro, peperoncino ve fıstık sosu var ve bunu hemen tüketmeliyim:)
what is the baking temperature for the eclairs?
shasa – Sorry for that! It is 375F (190C).
thanks! 🙂 i tried making them, but they didnt puff nicely like yours! they puffed up, but the shape were messy! any tips?
shasa – If they puffed up messy, something must have gone wrong while piping. Did they look uniform after you piped them? My only suggestion would be to practice piping. Scoring the top of the dough (after you pipe them) also helps them to puff up uniformly. Just score the tops with a fork without applying too much pressure.