Other than the bourbon which we know I don't like, yum!
For the eclair pastry:
6 tablespoons of (un)salted butter
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
3 large eggs
This recipe as is theoretically makes eight eclairs.
Preheat oven to 425 and grease baking sheet.
Bring the butter, water and salt to a boil in a small heavy saucepan then reduce to medium and add the flour all in one go. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to pull away from the pan and forms a sticky ball. The transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly, about five minutes.
Then add the eggs one at a time beating well between each addition. This is where I ran into a wee bit of trouble. I had to use half an egg. It's not easy to halve eggs. I solve this by beating an egg and pouring what looks like half into the mix. Usually that serves me pretty well. Also when you're mixing, do not give into temptation to lick any of the dough that spatters on you. It does not taste good.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag and pipe stips of 5x1 dough onto the baking sheets spacing them at least one inch apart. Instead of a pastry bag I used the handy pampered chef thingy my friend Sarah gave me.
Bake for 15 minutes then lower the temp to 400 and bake another 15 minutes. VERY IMPORTANT TO BAKE THE ENTIRE TIME! During the second round of 15 minutes I think I only baked mine for another five because they were looking all golden brown and such.
But then they fell.
Sigh. Make sure to bake the entire time. After the second round of 15, take them out and pierce the sides with a paring knife then return them to the oven. Turn off the oven and keep the door slightly ajar and let them dry out and cool there. Once cool, halve lengthwise.
For the caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter, cut in 4 pieces
2 tablespoons bourbon or dark rum
I used rum because we don't have bourbon. I would also recommend only using 1 tablespoon. It was very very rummy.
So what you're going to do is heat the sugar over medium heat in a medium skillet or wide saucepan. My recipe said to stir with a fork but there was no way I was touching my skillets with metal so I used a wooden spoon and it was fine. You're going to stir the sugar until it starts to melt. Be prepared to stir for a very long time.
This was probably about 15 minutes in...
At least another 10 more
What felt like a half hour later (but I'm sure actually wasn't)
Then you're going to take that gorgeous caramel and spoon some over the tops of the eclair shells and let that harden. Then add the water and salt to the remaining caramel and simmer, stirring occasionally until the caramel is dissolved. Then add the butter and alcohol. If you make this in advance, the butter might separate from the sauce but just rewarm it for 30 seconds or so and it's fine.
Note. You may wonder what the directions say to simmer until the caramel is dissolved. I thought that was a little odd but didn't really think much of it. But dude. When you add the water holy crap! The caramel siezes up and starts spitting and hissing angrily. Don't freak out (like I did)! Apparently that's supposed to happen.
Less angry caramel
1 pound peaches
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 heavy cream
1 teaspoon bourbon or dark rum
Peel and slice the peaches and toss with 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand until the sugar disolves, about five minutes.
In the meantime, beat the cream with the alcohol (although I would recommend completely skipping it) and the remaining sugar (and here I would recommend a few more tablespoons than the recipe calls for) until the cream holds stiff peaks.
To assemble the eclairs, spread the cream on the bottom half of the shells then layer over with the peach slices and put the top shell back on. Just before serving, spoon some of the caramel sauce over the eclair.