Mini-eclairs with savory mousse

June 16, 2011  • 

In the early eighties, I had moved to  San Luis Obispo, a charming college town in California bordered by ocean and hills. I had been living in Paris prior:  Every party or pot-luck I was invited to, brought a platter of mini-eclairs filled with store-bought chocolate pudding (for expediency); it was easy to make and people were duly impressed.

This time, the idea of making mini-eclairs and stuffing them with a sweet cream sounds less appealing; instead, these  come with a light chicken liver mousse.

Now, if you are not a fan of liver, trust me, this recipe (discovered by trial and error) has eliminated the strong taste of liver.


How? I blended a few dollops of Puck with the liver and onions. If you can’t get Puck, use sour cream or crème fraiche or cream cheese.

You can make the liver mousse ahead; the day of the party, whip up some cream puff dough and pipe the mini-eclairs that morning; crisp them up right before the guests show up and fill them with the mousse and a few fresh basil leaves.

And watch them disappear.

INGREDIENTS: Mini-eclairs: (Will make about 25)

  • 1 cup of water (can be replaced with a light chicken stock if you wish)
  • a dash of salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (4 ounces or 115 g.)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour

Chicken liver mousse:

  • 1 pound of chicken livers
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • olive oil, as needed
  • salt, pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon of pomegranate molasses, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of sumac
  • 1/2 cup and up to 1 cup of Puck or any other creamy cheese spread or sour cream (or 4 wedges of the laughing cow)
  • 30 fresh basil leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

METHOD:

  1. Pour 1 cup of water (or bouillon) into a saucepan; add a dash of salt, and a stick of butter; let the butter melt slowly and bring the water mixture into a simmer; drop one cup of flour into the saucepan and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the flour mixture (called panade) leaves the sides of the bowl; this should take 3 minutes.
  2. Transfer the flour mixture into the bowl of a mixer or food processor or a regular bowl. Add one egg and beat until the egg combines into the flour mixture; continue with the other three eggs and when the mixture is glossy and creamy, stop beating and get a pastry bag ready and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe small 4-inch eclairs and bake them in a preheated 375F oven for about 30 minutes, leaving the oven door ajar to let the steam escape (by planting the handle of a wooden spoon in the oven door) after about 20 minutes of baking. Cool the mini-eclairs and set aside. If you are planning to use them the following day, store them in a ziploc bag and crisp them up a few minutes in a 300F oven the next day.

TO MAKE THE CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE:

  1. Slice the onions and fry until golden and soft; add the chicken livers, pomegranate molasses and spices; raise the heat and sear them until cooked but still pink inside. Splash the wine and remove the livers into a bowl. Let the sauce reduce and transfer to the bowl with the livers. Transfer the livers and onions into the bowl of a food processor. Process, adding a few dollops of Puck or sour cream or cream cheese; taste and adjust, if you like it creamier, add more cheese.

ASSEMBLY:

  1. Transfer the liver mousse into a pastry bag; slice the mini-eclairs open; line one side of the eclairs with two or three small basil leaves; pipe the mousse on top, close the eclair gently and place on a serving platter.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap up to one hour before serving time; remove the wrap and let them come to room temperature. Serve the mini-eclairs with extra basil leaves as a garnish.

Comments

20 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Caffettiera says:

    While I’m totally sold at the idea of making savoury eclairs, I think I’ll pass on the chicken liver pate, although you are tempting me with the idea that you managed to take off its taste…

  2. Rosa says:

    Fabulous! I love liver and savory éclairs! A great treat that tastes even better when enjoyed in a garden, park or on a balcony.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Sarah says:

    This is such an interesting dish! I love chicken liver in Indian stir fries and curries.. never tried it in a mousse.

  4. Priya says:

    Never thought of this beautiful savoury eclairs, simply fabulous and marvellous..

  5. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    Such an interesting dish! I’ve never tried savoury éclairs but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!

  6. Jumanah says:

    Such a unique idea. But I think I would prefer the chocolate filled ones seeing that I am not a fan of liver.

  7. Juanita says:

    If you looked very quickly, you’d grab that thinking it was a choccie eclair and get a BIG taste surprise indeed! 🙂

  8. Karen says:

    Great idea for easy summer entertaining! Love the savory twist.

  9. Faith says:

    These are so pretty and I love the idea of a savory eclair filling! The pomegranate molasses was a great addition, I love the flavor it adds.

  10. lisaiscooking says:

    I love the idea of a savory eclair! The chicken liver mousse sounds delicious too. This is great party food.

  11. Susan says:

    Wonderful idea and the possibilities are endless!

  12. deana says:

    I’m a big fan of savory eclairs… they were all the rage in the 40’s and it’s time for a renaissance if you ask me. It makes for a splendid snack at a party or luncheon full of all kinds of good things… like your mousse… lovely ingredients!

  13. Lyndsey says:

    I love a savory filling in eclairs, the mousse sounds interesting I would love to try it. You’re so creative!

  14. Tova says:

    These eclairs look OUTRAGEOUS! I’m actually a huge fan of chicken liver mousse even though I know a lot of people who don’t like it.
    I’m going to be driving through San Luis Obispo this weekend. Have you been to the Madonna Inn? It’s my absolute favorite place there!

  15. Katherine Martinelli says:

    I have never heard of or considered a savory eclair and the idea is just brilliant! I enjoy a good chicken liver pate but find they are hard to get right! I’ll have to try yours.

  16. Heavenly Housewife says:

    This is so clever. I dont know why I never thought of a savoury eclair. I really want to try and make one. I’m not a liver person, but I think this would be incredible with a salmon mousse.
    *kisses* HH

  17. Nadji says:

    Le foie de volaille ne me dérange pas du tout. A contraire.
    Ces petits choux me semblent des plus savoureux.
    A tester absolument.
    A très bientôt.

  18. Magic of Spice says:

    I can’t believe you lived up in San Luis Obispo…we lived in Pismo for 8 years and I ran a couple of restaurants in San Luis. In fact my mother and brother still live there. Gorgeous area 🙂
    I love the idea of savory eclairs…wonderful recipe 🙂

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