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Chocolate Éclairs

Traditionally, chocolate éclairs are filled with custard-like crème patissière and are partially covered in chocolate icing.

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 1 quantity Choux Pastry(recipe instructions below)
    • 50g (4 tbsp) butter, cubed
    • 1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar\
    • 50ml (1⁄4 cup) milk
    • 85ml (1⁄3 cup) water
    • 75g (2⁄3 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour 2 large (US extra large) eggs
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp milk, for brushing
  • For the crème patissière
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 100g (1⁄2 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
    • 25g (3 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour
    • 350ml (11⁄2 cups) milk
    • Seeds from 1⁄2 vanilla pod or bean or
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the icing
    • 100g (3⁄4 cup) icing (confectioners’) sugar
    • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
    • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Method/Instructions

  1. For the Choux Pastry:
    1. Choux differs from other pastries in that it is cooked in a pan before being baked. Like many good things, it takes a little time to make, but the resulting smooth and shiny dough can be used to create fantastic pastries, such as profiteroles, éclairs and cream puffs.
    2. 1  Place the butter, sugar, milk and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the flour. Place over a medium heat and stir briskly until the mixture forms a soft dough and leaves the side of the saucepan dry. Transfer to a bowl.
    3. 2  Without cooling the mixture, add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. The dough should be smooth and glossy.
    4. 3  Use straight away as required.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Line a baking sheet with nonstick baking (parchment) paper.
  3. Spoon the dough (choux pastry) into a piping (pastry) bag fitted with a plain 1cm (1⁄2 inch) nozzle (tip). Pipe 6cm (21⁄2 inch) strips on to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 2.5cm (1 inch) apart.
  4. Dip a fork into a bowl of hot water and smooth the top of each choux strip.
  5. Brush the top of each strip with a very light coating of egg wash.
  6. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown outside and dry inside. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the crème patissière. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until light and creamy. Beat in the flour, then set aside.
    1. Place the milk and vanilla seeds in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Remove immediately from the heat and pour half into the egg mixture, whisking constantly as you do so.
    2. Add the egg mixture to the milk remaining in the pan and whisk constantly over a low-medium heat until simmering. Continue to cook and whisk for 2 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and lifts off the bottom of the pan.
    1. Transfer the crème patissière to a clean container and place a sheet of clingfilm (plastic wrap) directly on top
      to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool for 2–3 hours, until set.
  8. When you’re ready to assemble the éclairs, use a small sharp knife to cut the buns in half horizontally. Pipe or spoon the crème patissière into the bottom half of each one.
  9. For the icing:Put all the icing ingredients into a bowl and mix until smooth. Dip the upper surface of the remaining pastry halves into the icing and place them on the filled lower halves. The éclairs are best enjoyed on the day they are made.