A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery
by Daryl Wood Gerber
About the Book
A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery
Crooked Lane Books (June 12, 2018)
Paperback: 368 pages
Kindle ASIN: B06XWDWRLF
It’s always been Mimi Rousseau’s dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she’s been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband’s tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she’s able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn’s first wedding ever.
The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan’s half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners’ dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan’s will.
Now it’s up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Éclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.
Great cozy mystery filled with all the things I love…great characters, great storyline, great food, and a dash of romance!
Mimi Rousseau is returning home in hopes of achieving her dream…opening her own little bistro. She isn’t quite sure that is in the cards for her until her best friend finds her an investor, Bryan Baker. She is finally on the right path when Bryan is murdered. All clues point to her. She will have to work hard to clear her name if she wants her freedom and before all her dreams go up in smoke.
The murder mystery itself has a cast of suspects, and the author kept me guessing throughout the entire book. The heroine, Mimi, was a great character. I admired her independence and intelligence. She needed both of those things to get her out of the predicament she was in. I am also looking forward to seeing where her potential romance with Nash will lead her.
This was an enjoyable, witty, cozy mystery. The fabulous scenery of the beautiful Napa Valley was an added bonus. Throw in a great cast of secondary characters and an AMAZING collection of recipes, and you have yourself a wonderful beginning to what promises to be a wonderful series!!!
Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries and CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES, which she pens as Avery Aames. She will soon debut the new French Bistro Mysteries. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAYS OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!
Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.
Giveaway below! Don’t miss out.
1 PRIZE PACKAGE~ US ONLY!
(A chance to win books, tote bag, recipe cards, playing cards, tea towel, etc.)
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*Review Repost from Hardcover tour.
Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?
Hi, all! I’m so happy to be on the Great Escapes Tour. I’d like to share some of my favorite recipes from A Deadly Éclair, the 1st French Bistro Mystery. It came out in hardcover in November, but I’m excited to say it’s out in trade paperback as of June 12. And the second in the series, A Soufflé of Suspicion, comes out July 10!
Of course, with a title like A Deadly Éclair, I had to try my hand at making one, right? I used to love them as a girl. I remember riding my bicycle to a place called The Barn and buying one nearly every two weeks. I loved the combo of chocolate on top and cream on the inside.
Forewarning: éclairs are not easy to make. They take patience. They require cold butter. You should have everything ready on the counter as you get started. The result is divine! Do not worry if you are not a pro. You are looking for flavor, not beauty.
However: I have shared a mock custard recipe at the end that is SO EASY to make! No cooking involved. And so delicious.
Enjoy both recipes, and please tell a friend about A Deadly Éclair and the giveaway for this tour!
RECIPE FOR CHOCOLATE ECLAIR
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
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.
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.
FYI, if you’d like my recipe for a gluten-free éclair — yes I made it! — email me at email@example.com and I’ll send it to you.
ALSO, here is the easy or “mock” custard – no cooking! It’s a little looser and creamier than the one in the éclair recipe. Enjoy.
(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.
Pour into 4- or 6-ounce ramekins or dessert dishes. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill.
This keeps for about 4-5 days.