Bonne Anniversaire Maman!
Today was my mummy's birthday and her favourite indulgence is chocolate éclairs. So it obviously follows that that is what I am baking for her. Unfortunately, she has the pleasure of working on her birthday and at her work, if it is your birthday ... you bring the cake! So yesterday, the marathon of baking commenced! I made cakes all from the perfect bake Lemon Drizzle Cake, Brownies, Flapjacks and an upcoming post perfect bake of Raspberry Cupcakes and of course the chocolate éclairs. With final exams coming up and a tricky essay on my hands, what else is there to do other than spend the day baking ...
Éclairs are all about the choux pastry. Choux pastry is a light pastry dough which has a high moisture content in the dough creating steam inside the dough when cooking, which when cooked forms a hollow shell ready and raring to be filled with a good dose of cream! Choux pastry can also be used to make profiteroles, it is just piped out differently. As long as the recipe is strictly followed, you should make perfect choux pastry every time.
Makes 14 éclairs
Pre-heat oven to 200°C
Bake to Perfection for 35 minutes
You will need the following:
150ml Cold Water
65g Plain Flour
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
400ml Double Cream
100g Plain Chocolate
Sift the flour into a bowl
Put the butter and water into a pan and heat gently until the butter has melted
Then bring to the boil
Remove the pan from the heat & immediately tip the flour into the water and butter. Beat in thoroughly with a wooden spoon
Beat the mixture until it is smooth and forms a ball in the pan
NB: DO NOT over beat the mixture or it will become fatty and won't bake properly
Leave the mixture to cool for 2 minutes
Whilst the mixture is cooling, in a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs together
just enough for them to combine
Pour the eggs into the dough mixture a little at a time beating the mixture vigorously
It is important to beat the mixture vigorously in order to trap the air in the mixture
It should get to a piping consistency & an obvious sheen will appear to the mixture
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain large nozzle
Twist the end of your baking bag so there is no air in with the mixture, this will make your life easier when piping
Onto a dampened baking sheet pipe strips that are roughly 8-10cm long
Nifty tip: Using your finger smooth over the piped mixture with some water, this will ensure you have a smooth perfect choux case
Bake in the oven at 200°C for 20 minutes
After 20 minutes turn the temperature down to 180°C and bake for the remaining 15 minutes
Remove from the oven and immediately pierce a hole at the end of each pastry to let out the steam
Leave them to cool completely
Whip the cream with an electric hand whisk, it will turn quickly so keep your eye on it!
You'll be looking at roughly 1 minute (high setting) give or take a bit depending on how fresh your cream is
Fill your piping bag with the whipped cream
Using the hole that you made to let out the steam, make it slightly bigger with a skewer
Fill with cream, just squeeze until it fills up
Melt you chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute
Spread over the top over the pastry shell with a spoon
Leave to cool for as long as you can resist and then scoff!!