To make the Candied Orange Zest:
Thoroughly wash 2 oranges. Trim off the tops and bottoms, and then score from top to bottom, about 1” apart. Peel away these sections, and if the white part is very thick, scrape some of it away with the edge of a spoon, leaving about 1/8” – ¼”. Put in a bowl, and cover with 2 c cool water and 1 ½ tsp salt. Let soak for at least an hour, and for several more if you don’t care for bitterness. Rinse, put in a saucepan, cover with cool water, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes and then drain them. Cut into ¼” wide strips. Put orange strips back in pan with 1 c sugar and ¼ c water. Bring to a simmer and simmer for another 30 minutes. Put ½ cup superfine (caster) sugar on a plate. Dredge strips in small batches, coating with the sugar entirely. Cool on waxed paper, and store in an airtight jar.
To make Vanilla Pastry Cream:
Beat 4 egg yolks with ½ c sugar until pale and light. Mix in 1/3 c flour. Scald 2 c milk. Strain through a sieve, and add a 1/3 cup of it to the eggs; blend together, and then gradually add the rest of the milk to the eggs. Cook in double boiler (or back in your saucepan if you’re daring), stirring, until it is very thick. Don’t let it boil. Strain again if necessary. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract (you can flavor this by putting a vanilla bean in the milk before you scald it, and then scraping the bean interior into the milk. I don’t think it is necessary in this dessert, though, since there is so much else going on with it). Refrigerate; will thicken as it cools. Makes 2 cups.
To make Chocolate Cream:
Per one cup of pastry cream, melt 1oz semi sweet chocolate (about 1/4 c. chopped pieces or chocolate chips) and mix in 1 ½ tsp cocoa. Blend this into warm pastry cream. Cool.
To make Almond Cream:
To make Cream Puffs or Eclairs:
In a saucepan boil 1 c water, ½ c butter, pinch of salt, and 1tsp sugar. Add 1 c flour and cook, beating over low heat until it becomes a thick paste and pulls away from pan. Remove from heat and, one at a time, beat in 4 eggs.
To make cream puffs, put spoonfuls on a greased pan. To make éclairs, pipe with a pastry bag into 4” x 1” strips. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and bake for a few more minutes until browned.
To assemble éclairs:
Cook several slices of bacon to crispy. Chop into small pieces
Slit cream puff or éclair near bottom. For the orange cream puffs, first put in about ½ tsp orange marmalade. Put in a few pieces of bacon along with either chopped candied orange zest or chopped almond bacon brittle. Fill with pastry cream, either chocolate, almond, vanilla, or orange curd. Put a dot of pastry cream on the top of the cream puff, and top with bacon and either candied orange zest or chopped almond bacon brittle.
Recipe reference, with some changes: Louis Diat, Gourmet’s Basic French Cookbook, Techniques.
Farm Journal, Homemade Candy. Field and Courchesne, The Art of Preserving