For 20 years, I begged my husband to let me get chickens. "Please, please, please?" I'd say. "They don't take up much room, and we can have all the eggs we want."
Eventually we built a shed in the back yard and sectioned off a chicken coop. We built the Fort Knox of chicken runs, with posts and wire and underground booby traps. Living on 11 acres of wooded land in the heart of Vermont means predators of all varieties, so we were extra careful in our preparations, and it's paid off well.
And eggs? Oh yes, we have eggs. Big ones, little ones, double yolkers. Eggs warm from the nest, eggs laid under the water stand, and the occasional egg underfoot when some lady forgets herself and lays one by the door. Four years in now, and I still get egg-cited for fresh eggs. (Sorry, I promise no more egg puns).
Egg scrambles are a must-have on weekends at our house, and often include leftovers of veggies and meats from the week. We take turns cooking them, and styles vary. I tend to be heavier on the cheeses and veggies, Dave tends to be a ham-n-eggs diehard. Either way, it's different each time – and always delish.
When the idea of breakfast éclairs was tossed around at a blog meeting, I was all over it with an enthusiastic "Pick me, mee, mmmmmeeeeee!" I love making pâte à choux for puffs and éclairs; filling them with my favorite scrambled eggs was a win-win situation. If you're looking to spark up your weekend mornings or your breakfast-for-dinner evenings, we've got just the dish for you.
First you'll need to make up your cream puff dough. Pâte à choux (say it "pat a shoo"), or choux paste, is a mixture of cooked butter, water, and flour mixed with eggs to make a soft dough that is piped into puffs or long éclairs. It's then baked, cut open, hollowed, and filled with sweet or savory creams, mousses, ice creams or, in this case, scrambled eggs.
Bring butter and water to a rolling boil, then add flour. Cook until it forms a soft dough, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
Cool the hot dough, then beat in eggs one at a time to make a soft paste. The eggs provide fat for tenderness, plus structure and moisture. Choux is leavened by steam alone – no baking soda, baking powder, or yeast here.
For éclairs, pipe the unbaked dough into 4" long strips onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 425°F oven. Reduce the temperature to 375°F, and bake for another 15 minutes until well-browned and dry to the touch.
While you can use a sharp serrated knife to open up your puffs, I find a good pair of kitchen shears to be the easiest tool. Snip, snip, snip all the way around until your cover pops right off.
Try to keep your tops and bottoms together as you work through your pile of éclair shells. This will save a lot of hunting for the right sized top later on.
If you're serving just a few people, the uncut puffs will freeze very nicely for up to 3 months. Because they're hollow they thaw in a flash, too.
Ready for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner? Cook up your favorite egg scramble, lay a bed of greens or arugula in your shell, and fill it to the brim.
This scramble has eggs from my gals, plus smoked ham, onion, Gruyère cheese and a touch of heavy cream to make it extra creamy and saucy.
Add the top hat...
...and serve hot. The crisp éclair shell makes a perfectly portable little boat if you want to eat hands-on; or you can be fancy and serve with knife and fork.
We've already been thinking of other wonderful fillings you could use in breakfast éclairs. How about mac and cheese? Or a little pulled pork? I'm a bratwurst fan, and think a sausage-onion éclair would be a morning stunner with a hot cup of strong coffee. The list is endless!
And so, my dears, we're at the end of our blog. Is the moral of the story to make éclairs part of your breakfast lineup? Or to think of sumptuous fillings?
No, I think it really boils down to this... ask your family to help you raise chickens. For if you have those chickens, you'll have the eggs. If you have the eggs, you'll want to make the choux. If you make the éclairs, you'll want to fill them with scrambled eggs. If you scramble up the eggs, you'll need more eggs, so you need to raise chickens. If you have those chickens, you'll have eggs...
Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Whole Wheat Cream Puff Pastry.
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