Learn how to make the perfect éclair from a master Pastry Chef
Celebrity Pastry Chef Johnny Iuzzini ushers in grand opening of Le Meridian
Drawn from their European roots, Le Méridien Éclairs allow guests and locals another way to unlock their destination. Through local recipes and a modern perspective on this quintessentially French pastry, Le Méridien éclairs enable us to offer unique, memorable guest experiences in signature Le Méridien Hubs and restaurants around the world.
In part of Le Méridien’s Parisian heritage we chose the chic Parisian treat because we knew we would be able to use different local ingredients to create them. The éclair shell acts as a blank canvas, and by using local ingredients we allow guests to unlock their destination through cuisine. Éclairs also provide an authentic taste of local culture through a medium that has become synonymous with Le Méridien.
Le Méridien hotels around the world will continue to feature a variety of destination-inspired éclairs, offering guests an authentic taste of the local culture, from the Maple Bacon Éclair and Texas Honey Pecan Éclair at Le Méridien Dallas by the Galleria to the Dulce de Leche Éclair (infused with coconut) from Le Méridien Panama. In Germany, Le Méridien Munich offers a savory éclair with goat cheese, cranberry and pumpernickel crumbs, while Le Méridien Bangkok features a citrus-inspired treat with mango, lime and ginger.
Johnny Iuzzini, Executive Pastry Chef
Chef Johnny Iuzzini’s interest in the pastry arts began at age seventeen when he started working at The River Café in Brooklyn, New York. Although his primary responsibility at the restaurant was in garde-manger, Johnny frequently visited the pastry kitchen to marvel as Pastry Chef Eric Gouteyron piped chocolate butterflies. As Johnny’s fascination with pastry grew, he began assisting Chef Eric after completing his regular shifts in the kitchen. He learned the techniques of tempering chocolate from Eric, who went on to become the Executive Pastry Chef of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Johnny eventually moved to pastry full-time, cementing his desire to pursue a career as a pastry chef.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Johnny joined the pastry department of the original Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Over the next three and a half years, he mastered all of the dessert stations and became Pastry Chef François Payard’s right-hand man. When Chef Francois launched his eponymous pastryshop in the summer of 1997, Johnny joined the opening team and was named Sous Chef, a position he held for six months. As a student of his craft, Johnny traveled to Europe in 1998 where he apprenticed in some of France’s finest pâtisseries. Johnny returned to the US and work for some of the finest chefs, winning nurmorus awards along the way.
In May 2006, the James Beard Foundation awarded Johnny “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year”.
Johnny’s highly anticipated first cookbook, DESSERT FOURPLAY: Sweet Quartets from aFour-Star Pastry Chef, was published December 30, 2008 and his second, SUGAR RUSH was released last year and is available on amazon and all major book retails. For more information, visit his website www.johnnyiuzzini.comRECIPES – Chef recommends that you always read a recipe all the way through and make sure you have all your ingredients out and ready before your begin.
Herbes de Provence Éclairs
165 g bread flour
6 g Herbes de Provence, ground
125 g whole milk
125 g water
113 g unsalted butter
4 g sugar
5 drops all-natural green food coloring
4 g kosher salt
5 to 6 eggs, large
as needed vegetable oil cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Combine the flour and Herbes de Provence and sift together. In a large saucepan, slowly bring the milk, water, butter, sugar, food coloring and salt to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat, add the flour mixture in all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until combined and evenly moistened.
Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir continuously for approximately 2 to 3 minutes to dry the mixture out or until the internal temperature taken with a thermometer is 170°F. The mixture should now form a dough that should pull away from the sides of the pan and a skin should begin to form in the pan’s base.
Transfer the dough to a standing mixer bowl and use the spoon to spread the dough out in
a thin layer against the sides of the bowl.
Let stand for at least 15 minutes until cool.
Attach the paddle to the mixer and turn the mixer on to low speed. Add 2 of the eggs and blend until completely incorporated.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on to low,
add another egg and mix until incorporated.
After 3 eggs, the dough should hold a peak when you pull the paddle out, but should immediately fold over onto itself. If the dough is too firm, add the 4th egg and mix well. The dough should now be smooth, elastic and firm enough to pipe and hold its shape but not be runny. You can test it by putting a heaping tablespoon onto a plate. The dough should collapse slightly but still hold a rounded shape. If the dough is still too firm, beat another egg in a small bowl until combined and add about half of it to the dough. Mix on low speed until it is incorporated and check the consistency.
If the dough is still too firm, add the 6th egg and mix well. If the dough seems runny, refrigerate it for 15 to 20 minutes before piping.
To make the éclairs, use a 7⁄16″ star tip (Ateco #825) with a piping bag.
To pipe them, hold the piping bag at a 45° angle away from you and start squeezing the bag.
When the dough starts to flow, pull the bag up toward you over the point where you started (as if creating an “S”) and pipe 3-1/2″ to 4″ long cylinders. When long enough, stop squeezing and lift the bag straight up and over the dough, which will leave a point
at the closest end.
With a wet finger, press the points where you stopped piping into the dough. The éclairs should now have rounded ends with no points. Use a wet finger to mold any misshapen éclairs. Spray a light coating of cooking spray over the surface of the éclairs.
Put the pans in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 325°F and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pans and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes until the éclairs are deep golden-brown and feel hollow.
Cool the éclairs completely on the pans before filling or freezing them.
Makes about 1 dozen 4-inch éclairs
LEMON VERBENA CURD
120 g lemon juice (from Menton
lemons, if possible)
15 g verbena leaves, dried and
ground into a powder
225 g sugar
4 eggs, large
3 egg yolks, large
1 g lavender salt
2 gelatin leaves, bloomed and strained
113 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 lemons, finely zeste
Combine the lemon juice, verbena powder and sugar and whisk together well.
Place in a bain-marie of barely simmering water.
Meanwhile whisk the eggs and egg yolks together well in a bowl. Add them to the juice mixture, and while whisking gently, continuously cook to 180°F. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Whisk the salt and gelatin into the sieved liquid and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Using an immersion blender, blend in the butter and lemon zest until smooth.
Spread the curd into a thin layer on a baking sheet and lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably, overnight.
When ready to use, transfer the curd to a bowl and stir with a rubber spatula to loosen it slightly. Curd should be used within 3 days.
To fill the éclairs, poke a hole in both ends of each éclair with small, straight piping tip or paring knife. Using a pastry bag fitted with a slightly larger tip, gently and carefully fill the éclairs from both ends, making sure to completely fill the empty cavities.
The éclairs should now feel much heavier. 120 g lemon juice (from Menton lemons, if possible)
15 g verbena leaves, dried and ground into a powder225 g sugar
4 eggs, large
BLOSSOM FONDANT +
ORANGE FLOWER BLOSSOM FONDANT
250 g fondant icing
10 g orange flower water
all-natural orange food coloring
(two parts yellow to one part red)
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
1 drop jasmine essential oil
Gently crush the blueberries, do not puree.
Combine the fruit, lemon juice and sugar
in a pot and bring to a rolling boil while stirring constantly. Add the liquid pectin and return to a rolling boil and cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Pour into a container and allow to cool at room temp for 20 minutes and then chill in the refrigerator until set.
lavender salt with scraped seeds from 1 vanilla bean crystallized flowers (violet, verbena, rose) thin-sliced candied mandarin or candied Menton lemon
To finish decorating each éclair, sprinkle a few grains of lavender salt across the glaze. Place a small piece of each of the crystallized flowers in a random pattern and lay 2 to 3 thin-sliced candied citrus
peels onto the crystallized flowers.