Mum held a lunch for her friends and their kids yesterday as a start to school holidays. She never does things by halves and this was no exception. The menu included and was not limited to; sausage rolls, quiches, chicken and salad, followed by meelktart, lemon meringue pie and chocolate éclairs. This is a fair bit for one person and so, I offered my assistance, despite not actually being around for the lunch. Selfless right? And there may have been a burning desire to attempt éclairs again…. I also made the lemon meringue, but I’ll reserve that recipe for when I make a prettier one.
Now, choux pastry can be temperamental and unpredictable. The same recipe can result in little fluffy cases or flat lifeless pancakes. And of course, it helps if your recipe contains the correct quantities… yeah, it was one of those days. I decided to branch out and try a new recipe from Michael Paul’s book, Sweet Paris and adapted it slightly. It called for 4 eggs, which I thought was a bit excessive regarding the quantities of the other ingredients, so I cut it to three. Also the temperature was 180˚C, which I changed to 220˚C for the first 10 minutes and then drop to 185˚C to encourage rising. They were pretty good as shells, but not perfect yet.
Mum always used to do chocolate glazed, whipped cream filled éclairs, but I wanted to try a crème pâtissière, so I settled for some whipped cream filled, some vanilla crème pâtissière filled and some chocolate crème pâtissière filled.
The éclairs were the most popular, and the chocolate filled ones went the fastest. One boy even said they were the best thing he had ever put in his mouth. I call that success.
55g butter65ml water
Heat the butter, water, milk and sugar over the stove until boiling
Add the flour and stir until smooth and forming a ball. Take off the heat.
Add the eggs one at a time stirring vigorously each time.
spoon into a piping bag and allow to cool and stiffen slightly
pipe on a baking sheet lined with baking paper into desired shapes (e.g. éclairs or balls)
Bake at 220˚C for 10 minutes and then drop the temperature to 190˚C for 15 minutes
They should rise up like miniature loaves of bread.
5 egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp flour
2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 cup cream (whipped)
Heat the milk on the stove until almost boiling
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale
Add the flour and cornflour, beat until smooth
Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mix, while beating. Slow at first to avoid scrambling the eggs.
Transfer back to the stove and whisk until thick and boiling. Whisk for a further 2 minutes then remove from heat
Place cling wrap directly on to crème to avoid a skin forming refrigerate until use.
USE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
When ready to use, whisk in the cream, whisk until smooth
For the chocolate crème; use half the crème, add 15g melted chocolate and 1 tsp cocoa powder.
Filling and glazing the éclairs
Make a small hole in each, at the bottom or the side, pipe the selected filling into the éclair gently until full.
Melt 150g dark chocolate. spread the top of each éclair.