It was my mum’s birthday a few days ago, and when I asked her if she’d like me to make her a birthday cake she asked for Chocolate Eclairs.
NOT quite what I was planning I have to admit, and the idea of making my own eclairs for the first time was pretty daunting but now that I’ve tried them I can confirm they’re actually really easy to make. Plus they were DELICIOUS and look very impressive too!
The recipe was from my trusty, tatty and ever dependable ‘Good Housekeeping’ book although (as always) I’ve fiddled with the recipe a little and added my own tips
For the choux pastry:
- 65g plain white flour
- 50g butter
- 150ml water
- 2 eggs
- 125g plain chocolate
- 300ml double cream
To make the choux pastry sift the flour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. Put the butter and water in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted, then bring to a fast boil. Take off the heat and immediately tip in the flour all at once, beating thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and forms a ball in the middle of the pan. (don’t overbeat or it will become fatty).
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly for a couple of minutes.
Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating vigorously, adding enough to give a piping consistency. Keep beating until the mixture develops a sheen.
Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 2.5cm plain nozzle (or do what I do and use a plastic food bag with the corner snipped off).
Pipe 9cm lengths onto a large baking sheet using a wet knife to cut the pastry off neatly at the nozzle.
Bake at 200 degrees C for about 30 minutes until rise and golden brown. Remove from the oven and slit along the side of each to release the steam. Bake for a further 5 minutes to dry out.
TIP: Transfer to a wire rack and split the eclairs in half. Scoop out any remaining wet mixture as this will make the eclairs soggy.
Melt your chocolate (I actually used chocolate icing instead – just cocoa, icing sugar and water – it’s just the way my mum always made them so it’s become a family tradition) and whip your cream.
When the eclairs are cool, pipe with cream, and drizzle with chocolate and leave to set.
TIP: Whatever you do, don’t cover with clingfilm if you store them as it makes them go soggy, store them uncovered.