I haven’t baked properly in months, partly because I hate the oven in my house, it’s one of those annoying top down only heat kind of things, so it tends to burn things, or not cook them at all! However, I am getting better at it, bread still isn’t great even though we have been here 18 months, I’ve got lazy and tend to just buy shop bought, even though it is horrible and tastes of goodness knows what, but it sure as anything isn’t bread!!
About a week ago, a friend came round with eclairs, I have been craving them ever since, so today I made some! It is years since I made choux pastry, partly because I never see the point, like with puff pastry, the faff doesn’t always seem worth it! But, unlike puff pastry, you can’t buy it, roll it and use it as you want which is a tad annoying, so the only option is to make it from scratch.
4 tbsp water
4 tbsp whole milk
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp caster sugar
4 medium free-range eggs
1. Heat oven to about 170c.
2. Put the milk, water, butter, salt and sugar into a pan, put it on a high heat and bring to boiling.
3. Remove from the heat and add the flour. As you add the flour beat the mixture continuously until the flour is all combined and the mixture is smooth.
4. Put the pan back on a low heat and continue beating for about a minute.
5. Again remove from the heat, and add beaten egg a little at a time, beating the whole time. You may not need all of the egg, you need a gloopy texture, if it runs off the spoon it is too thin, if you can’t mix it, its too thick, you want something in between!
6. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a 1.5cm nozzle, let the mixture cool for a few minutes before piping into 12 lines on a baking sheet.
7. Bake for around 35 minutes, until they are golden. Remove from the oven and pierce a hole in the eclairs to let the steam escape.
(Due to my rubbish oven, I have to dry them out at this point by turning the oven off and putting them back in, otherwise they would be burnt on the outside and still squishy inside!)
I decided to fill my eclairs with a chocolate creme patisserie.
4 egg yolks
65g caster sugar
15g plain flour
350ml whole milk
1/2tsp vanilla extract
30g chocolate (I used plain)
1tbsp cocoa powder
1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale. Add the plain flour and cornflour and mix them in.
2. In a pan, heat the milk and vanilla extract to simmering. Take off the heat for around a minute to cool slightly.
3. Slowly add about half of this to the eggs, whisking the whole time. You must add the milk slowly as otherwise the eggs will cook and you will end up with scrambled eggs!
4. Put this back into the pan, adding it to the remaining milk, bring up to boiling and cook for a minute or so, stirring the whole time. Take off the heat.
5. Melt the chocolate and add this and the cocoa powder to the creme patisserie.
6. Once the eclairs and creme patisserie are cooled, either pipe the mixture into them, or slice them in half and fill them!
An eclair is not complete without icing or chocolate on top. So, I went for chocolate icing! The best of both worlds.
250g fondant icing
1tbsp cocoa powder
Enough water to make a paste
1. Heat the fondant in a pan over a low heat until it is slightly mushy. Add water a teaspoon at a time until the fondant is a consistency that you will be able to pipe.
2. Add the cocoa powder and mix well. Pipe onto your filled eclairs.
My oven caused some to not puff up at all! I can’t wait to be able to have a fan oven again, but they still taste incredible!!
This is from the bbc website and can be found here