I am currently struggling to find things to bake during lock down, not only because of the flour shortage, but because unfortunately my boyfriend isn’t a massive fan of cake (I promise its not my baking!) I could easily eat a cake to myself in a week but its not a habit I want to get into so I am constantly trying to find recipes my boyfriend will eat!
Chocolate Eclairs is one of the things he does like so I thought I’d take on the challenge and make some! Choux pastry can be difficult but once you nail it the first time,its not as bad as it sounds. I’ll provide an easy recipe for Eclairs as well as top tips for full proof Choux Pastry!
These Chocolate Eclairs are simple cream filled pastries, topped with chocolate icing. You can get a variety of different fillings such as the traditional custard cream, pistachio, chocolate etc. Today I am starting simple and then can try expand the recipe further into making different flavours. I would love to try make pistachio ones as this is one of my favourite flavours when it comes to desserts!
If this is the first time you’re making choux pastry here are my top tips. If you prefer Profiteroles find my recipe for those here(the recipe is very very similar!)
- When you preheat the oven my recipe states to put a roasting tin in to get hot. This is because when we put the pastry in we will fill it with water so there is steam in the oven. This will aid the rising of the pastry. This is also why I advise putting some water on the baking tray as well.
- You can use plain flour for this recipe but I would reccomend using bread flour which has more gluten in it. This will make the shells hold their shape better.
- When to stir in the flour use a wooden spoon and beat it as fast as you can until the mixture comes together!
- If you have star shaped piping nozzle use this over a circular one. The ridges will make the pastry rise more evenly
- Let out the air from the choux pastry once its cooked by cutting a small slit in the pastry, this will avoid them from collapsing
- Leave the pastry shells to cool and dry out in the oven, again this will stop from them from collapsing
Recipe is adapted and inspired by Raymond Blanc and James Martin
For the Pastry:
- 50g Butter
- 2 Tablespoons of Caster Sugar
- 150ml Water
- 75g Strong White Flour (this is like bread flour not plain! if you only have plain flour you can still use this)
- 2 Eggs
For the Filling:
- 300ml Double Cream
- Vanilla Extract
For the Chocolate Icing:
- 200g Icing Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of Cocoa Powder
- 2 Tablespoons of Cold water
- Preheat the oven 200 degrees and place an empty roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to get hot
- Put some water on your baking tray and shake off any excess. Then line it with grease-proof paper
- On the grease-proof paper I made a template on the back of it to show me where to pipe my eclairs later. I roughly drew out 10cm line using a pencil
- Sieve the flour out onto a plate ready for later- trust me you’ll need to do this to be prepped for the next step
- To make the choux pastry put the butter, caster sugar and 150ml of water in a saucepan and put on a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Bring to a boil then as soon as it starting bubbling take off the heat
- Add the flour all at once and stir energetically with a wooden spoon (as quick as you physically can) Eventually, the dough will come away at the sides and form into a smooth ball of paste. Leave to cool slightly and make dents in the dough using your spoon to encourage this
- Beat in the eggs a little at a time until the paste forms into something more glossy and stiff.
8. Put the dough into a piping bag and pipe on the templated lines you drew earlier on the baking paper.
9. Place the baking tray in the oven then pour water in your roasting tin and shut the door quickly to keep the steam in.
10. Bake for 18-20 mins. You know when they are done as they’ll be risen and starting to go golden brown. When baked cut smalls slits in the pastry and leave to dry out in the oven
11. To make the filling beat the cream and vanilla extract using an electric hand held whisk until your cream is whipped.
12. When your pastry is fully cooled you can pipe your cream in. I made two holes in the bottom of my eclairs (one at the either end) then using the hole piped the cream in until the eclairs was filled.
13. To make the chocolate icing, sieve the icing sugar and cocoa powder into bowl. Then add your water and stir.
14. I used a back of a spoon to spread my chocolate icing on the top of the eclairs.
15. Leave the icing to set for a while and store the eclairs in the fridge, I would try eat them within a couple of days if you can.