Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Deadly Éclair is out! Plus Giveaway + chocolate éclair recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

Yesterday was release day for 
A Deadly Éclair! 

So today, I'm offering a giveaway!
Either a Savor the Mystery mug or
a set of A Deadly Eclair coasters. 
 See below.

Also, Krista has a new Paws & Claws Mystery out!  Don't miss it! I love this series.

Please read A Deadly Eclair. You would make my publisher and me very happy.  :)  And tell a friend or librarian.

I had such a ball creating this new world, set in the wine country of northern California. I absolutely adore Mimi.

Now, I know there is a bittersweetness to releasing this book at this time. The wine country has suffered a lot of tragedy due to the wildfires, and my heart goes out to everyone. To those affected, I hope that a light-hearted adventure such as this might ease your soul. May you remember gentler times.


I would be remiss if I didn't share my éclair recipe with you. After all, it was the inspiration for my title!  I'm offering a "regular flour" recipe with you, but for myself, I made these gluten-free, and believe me, they were delicious. They don't last past a day. Did I have fun? Oh, yeah. Down the hatch!  LOL

*If anyone wants the gluten-free version, feel free to write me and I'll share it with you.

FYI, the custard that goes into these beauties is delicious, so if you don't want to go to the trouble of making the pastry shell, simply make the custard and serve with chocolate glaze. Yum!


(Makes 8-10)

Custard Filling:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

1 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Chocolate Glaze:
2 tablespoons butter
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped – use the best brand, like Ghirardelli

To make the filling:
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside to let the vanilla’s richness infuse the milk.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.

Add in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture and whisk until incorporated. Add in the remaining hot milk mixture and whisk.  Reserve the saucepan (don’t wash).

Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Slowly boil until it thickens up.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cold unsalted butter. Let the mixture cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap. Lightly press the plastic against the surface so a skin won’t form.

Chill the custard at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. You can make this a day ahead. Remove from refrigerator for about an hour before using.

To make the pastry:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. It will be frothy.

Stirring with a non-metal spoon, add all the flour at once and stir fast until all the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. It will become sleek and glossy.

Pour the mixture into a standing mixer (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add the 4 eggs, one at a time. Let each egg absorb fully before adding the next. The dough should fall easily from the beaters.

Now here is the messy part. The mixture is gooey! Put the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe fat lengths of dough (about the size and shape of a hot dog bun) onto the lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between them. This will make about 8-10 éclairs. Again, do not worry if you are not a pro. This takes practice.

Bake 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Don’t open the oven door during the baking.

Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet. Prick the éclairs to let out steam. Let cool at least 10 minutes.

To make the glaze:
Set the chocolate in a small bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on medium for 30 seconds. Stir then melt again on medium for 15 seconds. Repeat until it is melted completely. Do not overcook!

Add in the butter and stir until butter is melted.

To assemble:
Cut the pastry shells in half, lengthwise. I prefer to use pastry scissors for this.

Pour chocolate mixture onto a flat plate. Dip the top of the shell in the warm chocolate glaze. Use the back of a spoon if you need to spread the chocolate evenly. Set the shell, chocolate-side up, on a sheet pan. Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze.

When ready, spoon the custard into the bottom half of the shell and place the chocolate shell on top.

Enjoy!  If you like, you can wrap each individually, tightly in plastic wrap, insert into a freezer bag, and freeze. Defrost by letting them stand at room temperature.


Don’t own a pastry bag? That’s cool. Place the dough in a large Ziploc baggie and cut the corner to pipe.  

Dough too sticky?  Put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes for better handling. 

FYI, pastries and cream can be made ahead of time, but éclairs should be assembled just before you eat them.

PS  I filled the gluten-free éclairs with a mock custard...just to try it out...and that is the custard in the little white cups photo below. Here is that recipe:

Such an easy dessert!

 (Serves 4-8, depending on dessert dish size)

5-ounce box instant vanilla pudding (make sure it’s gluten-free)
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

In a small bowl, make vanilla pudding by combining pudding mix and milk. Let it firm up in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.

Place heavy whipping cream in stand mixer (or a regular bowl, which is what I did) and whip it at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Don’t over whip or it will turn into butter.

Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla with the whipped cream.  Now fold in the chilled vanilla pudding.

That’s it!

Pour into 4- or 6-ounce ramekins or dessert dishes. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill.

This keeps for about 4-5 days.

remove the vanilla bean

Mock custard

This real custard has a much denser texture; very eggy. Delish!


By the way, I'm still in blog tour and book signing mode, so I'll be around and about, on the internet as well as bookstores. In addition, I'm giving away one more French Bistro themed box this weekend. You have to leave a comment on my Facebook author page. Don't miss out. The giveaway goes for one week. It's How to Sightsee in Napa Valley!


To enter to win, tell one other person about this giveaway and 
leave a comment here telling me you did so.
Leave your email so I can contact  you if you win. 
I'll pick a winner Friday. Good luck.  

Mimi Rousseau is throwing the bistro’s first wedding—the nuptials of a famous talk show host. She is sure things will go awry when the bride’s father shows up drunk to the out-of-towners’ dinner. By the end of the evening, things look sweet again…until the next morning, when her benefactor is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. All fingers point at Mimi, whose loan is forgiven if he dies. It’s up to her to éclair—er, clear—her name before the killer turns up the heat.


"Talk about a culinary delight, this book is the pinnacle of deliciousness as I devoured all that was written in this exciting new series featuring Mimi and her friends." ~ Dru's Book Musings