Chocolate Eclairs

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!!

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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.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp water

  • 4 tbsp whole milk

  • 50g unsalted butter

  • 1 tsp caster sugar

  • pinch salt

  • 100gplain flour

  • 4 medium free-range eggs

Method

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 fromWP_20150313_11_29_27_Pro 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.

Ingredients

4 egg yolks

65g caster sugar

15g cornflour

15g plain flour

350ml whole milk

1/2tsp vanilla extract

30g chocolate (I used plain)

1tbsp cocoa powder

Method

1. In a bowl, wWP_20150313_12_36_05_Prohisk 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 wiWP_20150313_12_40_54_Proll 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 theWP_20150313_13_01_11_Pro 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.

Ingredients

250g fondant icing

1tbsp cocoa powder

Enough water to make a paste

Method

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.

 

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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

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Chocolate logs are so simple!

For once I have actually stuck to my plan and made a Yule log (technically just a chocolate log, and actually I made it with a plain swiss roll rather than a chocolate one, but it is covered in chocolate icing). It was so simple! I used to be scared of making swiss rolls, all that cooking for 7 minutes otherwise it will crack when you roll it, and then there was the rolling! It all looked like it would go horribly wrong, I’ve made one in the past and it cracked impressively! Today though, it rolled perfectly!

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Ingredients

2 eggs
75g caster sugar
75g self raising flour

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220c. Put the eggs in a bowl and whisk slightly.

2. Add the sugar and whisk until very pale, fluffy and thick. It will be almost white in colour.

3. Fold in the flour carefully. Spread the mixture into a lined and greased swiss toll tin.

4. Bake for 6-8 minutes until golden, if you cook it for too long it cracks when rolling.

5. Tip the cake onto greaseproof paper covered in caster sugar. Roll it tightly with the greaseproof paper in between each layer. Leave it to cool.

6. Once cool, fill with cream or jam or buttercream. It can be eaten like this, or decorated with yet more icing and frilly fancy bits if you want to.

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It was yummy, it was supposed to sit there and look pretty for a while, but is about half gone already!

The Tigger Cake

The Tigger Cake

Yet again, my plan of posting more regularly didn’t happen, surprise surprise! However, as wonderful as my partner is, he is a nerd and sometimes the amount of Star Trek and The Walking Dead we have on our tv kills me, so tonight I have been relegated to our spare room with the choice of painting an army, building an army…or digging out my pc. I went for that option, so am currently squished in a corner, my feet are tingling and my legs are going dead due to lack of circulation! However,  it does mean that I am writing this…my first post in far too long!

Anyway, last month was my best friend’s birthday and as she is amazing, we went back to Nottingham for her birthday party, and because she is also a baker, I made her a cake, she also loves Tigger. So I made a Tigger for her cake, stupidly I made this in my house…so then had to drive back to Nottingham with it in a box padded out with kitchen paper!

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This was the process, it involved a lot of spaghetti and orange food colouring paste! However, the result was worth it:
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Since this, not a lot of baking has happened, apart from the obvious mince pies, mince pie cakes (last year’s are here) and today I made gingerbread men (this recipe) (and also not just men, women, girls and boys too!), however they do need icing still, although I am not sure they will last that long, the mince pies especially! I think Christmas is my favourite time of year to bake.

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The little one helped with the mince pies….but personally, I like that he wants to help, even if I end up with more awkward washing up in the process!
Also, this year I am going to make a yule log rather than a Christmas cake, if I find time that is! I hope I do! I am attempting to be stupidly organised, the carrots are already parboiled and frozen, and by the end of the weekend the same will be true of the potatoes and the stuffing balls will be made! Fingers crossed xmas will be simple this year and full of playing with the little ones new toys and drinking far too much mulled wine!

Gluten Free Custard Tart

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about this yet, I did a draft and then life went crazy and I completely forgot! This was my dad’s father’s day present. He eats a wheat-free diet, so I tend to make him something he misses whenever I can. So, he got a Custard Tart!

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I used the recipe for pastry from the side of a Doves Farm bag of gluten free plain white flour. But, I also added an egg after trying gluten free pastry without an egg and it was like rock! However, this recipe, with the addition of an egg was brilliant!

Ingredients

200g Gluten free plain flour

100g Butter

4tbsp Cold water

1 Egg

Method

1. Cube the butter and rub it into the flour.

2. Add the egg, then mix in enough water to make a dough. Do not work it too much as it seemed to get tougher the more it was worked.

3. Wrap the pastry in cling film and put it in the fridge.

Ingredients – Filling

2 Eggs

300ml Milk

2tbsp Sugar

Grated nutmeg

Method continued

4. Heat the oven to 190c, line an 18cm flan tin with the pastry. Blind bake the case. Remover from the oven and turn down the oven to 180c.

5. Mix together the milk and sugar in a pan, bring to the boil. Whisk the eggs in a bowl, pour the milk onto the eggs, mix and leave to cool.

6. Pour the custard into the case, cover with grated nutmeg and then bake for 20 minutes until it’s set.

This custard tart was a massive success and the gluten free pastry was pretty much just like normal everyday pastry! Definitely going to make this again!

A Squig Birthday Cake!

Again I have been roped into making a cake for my boyfriend’s shop! It was the store birthday at his new store, so they got a Squig! For those not in the know, a Squig is a crazy red/orange monster thing. It was all a bit of a rush, but the end result had the desired effect.

So, after making a six egg cake mix, I baked it in a large pudding basin and a mini loaf tin. After it cooled, I cut it and covered it in buttercream to make it all the right shape!

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I then covered it in roll out fondant icing and added extra pieces for the features.

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Then I painted it all with watered down food colouring, the end result was:

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Another Catch Up!

I have been so unorganised AGAIN! I will blame it on the moving again!

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This was the little man’s 7th birthday cake…a Snozzcumber from the BFG! Jelly bloop and all! I must get back into religiously blogging, but I guess that will come with time! Anyway, a large number of bread sticks have just come out of the oven, and I am in the process of making a cake for my other half’s new store!
There will be much more to follow…and I will get on with blogging about it all!

Hummingbird Bakery Flourless Chocolate Cake

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This cake was another of the things I made for whilst my family was here. It was SO rich, more like a torte than a sponge cake. It was absolutely delicious. It did about 20 servings because we had to have such tiny slices! The recipe was from the most recent Hummingbird Bakery recipe book. The recipes in here look so yummy, I will definitely be making more of them before I have to take the book back to the library!