It is of course Bastille Day and what better way to celebrate than devouring a batch of eclairs. I need to confess straight up that choux pastry isn’t one of my regular things and the first pancake like batch was enjoyed by the chickens. The second batch however was a vast improvement and while my eclairs won’t win any prizes for looks they are very delicious. I’m not sure why the first batch didn’t work. I used the same recipe the second time and other than beating the mixture for a little longer when adding the eggs, there wasn’t any difference in what I did. It certainly isn’t difficult to make – maybe a little fiddly but the results are certainly worth it.
These eclairs have a coffee custard filling and a chocolate icing, but you could really do lots of things with the eclairs. A strawberry or raspberry cream with a white chocolate icing would be fabulous and you don’t have to make the custard cream you could just fill them with whipped cream. I have cheated a bit here with the custard cream and made the custard with custard powder rather than making it from scratch but once the cream has been added you really couldn’t tell.
- 60g butter
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup plain flour
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
Coffee Custard Cream
- 2 tablespoons custard powder
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons good quality instant coffee
- 300ml cream
- 100g dark chocolate
- 15 g butter
- 2 tablespoons cream
Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
To make the choux pastry put the butter and water in a saucepan over a medium heat until the butter has melted and the mixture nearly boils. Remove from the heat and add the flour, stir to combine and then return the pan to the heat stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon until it comes away from the sides of the pan. Let the mixture cool a little. With an electric mixer add the eggs to the flour mixture a tablespoon at a time, making sure that they are well incorporated before adding more. The mixture should be smooth and glossy.
Fit a piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe lengths of the pastry mixture onto the prepared trays. My eclairs were about 10cm long. Put them into the oven for 20 minutes then turn the oven temperature down to 160 degrees and cook them for a further 20 minutes or until golden. Turn off the oven and open the door a little and leave the eclairs in the oven to dry out a bit. Remove from the oven and cool.
While the eclairs are baking make the custard cream. Combine the custard powder, sugar and coffee in a saucepan. Gradually add the milk and stir over a medium heat until the custard thickens. It will be quite a thick mixture. Cover the custard with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the surface of the custard. This will stop a skin forming on the custard and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. You don’t want it to cool until it is really solid. Beat the cooled custard mixture with an electric beater and then add the cream, continuing to beat until the mixture is the consistency of whipped cream.
To make the chocolate icing, add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the chocolate is melted and the ingredients are smooth and glossy. Cool a little before using.
To assemble the eclairs, cut the eclairs in half but not the entire way through the eclair. With a piping bag fill the centres with the custard cream and then ice the top of the eclair and voila!