Sundays are usually set aside for chilling HARD, eating LOADS and also mostly recovering from Friday and Saturday night. While watching the regular show (it’s really everything!) my partner suggested I make chocolate eclairs – his childhood fav. Now his mother is a master baker so the pressure was ON.
I’ve attempted making bread dough before -epic fail! But learnt that when making pastry even when it’s gooey and looks like a sticky situation you never getting out of – simply persevere and knead that dough girl.
Now he knows I’m only an amateur cook but also knows that for anything to work you gotta be consistent so here goes…
There are 3 elements to these eclairs namely; the custard (store-bought is fine obvs), the choux pastry and the ganache – which is the same as my previous post-Dark chocolate ganache cake
For the custard –
1 cup milk (full cream)
2/3 cup heavy/double cream – I used whipping cream and this worked fine
1/2 cup sugar
A pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup of flour
For the choux pastry –
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup flour
For the Ganache –
Dark / Milk chocolate drops or chips
For the ganache, you simply heat the cream, pour over the chocolate and whisk until its all silky and beautiful.
First, we will make the custard, you need to prepare this quite well in advance about 2 – 4 hours or overnight. I did not do this and it worked out OK but I can see how the custard developed hour after hour.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, salt and sugar until completely combined. Add flour, whisk well and set aside, at this point you can start heating the milk, cream, butter and vanilla essence. Once the mixture starts to simmer slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture, whisking slowly and continuously.
Once all the mixture is added, transfer back to the heat and continue to stir. The mixture will start to thicken and once thick enough – see pic (that’s the consistency I went for) set aside. Once cooled transfer to the fridge in a container with a lid.
Now we move to the choux pastry – don’t be alarmed I was quite nervous attempting this but it was easy – get your dad or someone to assist – you will need some muscle.
Preheat the oven to 190 °C, line a baking tray with wax paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray – set aside.
In a small pot on a medium-ish heat add the water, butter, sugar and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon ( i don’t know why a wooden spoon is used but almost all recipes say to use one) until all is combined and melted.
Add the flour to the mixture and stir until the ingredients become one – almost like play dough and no longer sticks to the pot. Once you get this consistency you can transfer the dough to another bowl.
We will now add the eggs one at a time to the dough – it is a tough job as once each egg is combined the dough is quite stiff, luckily I had a muscl-ey assistant 🙂 Each time you add an egg the mixture is almost slippery and once the egg is combined the mixture is stiff so that’s how I knew when to add the next egg.
OK – well done!!! We made choux pastry!!! Now if you have a piping bag, transfer the dough to the bag. I didn’t have a piping bag (getting there) so used an oven roasting bag and cut the tip off on one end.
So, as you know my blog is not about perfection, it’s about FIRST tries and please hold your laugh at the size of my first batch of eclairs which you will see further down. From this experience, I learnt to make them quite high and wide to get the best size for filling with the custard. I thought I was making them big enough initially but clearly…
My FIRST batch –
They were a bit burnt at the bottom but it didn’t affect the taste, coz the custard is so delish. I think its because 190 degrees is too hot, my bf reminded me I don’t have a Smeg oven so adjust accordingly. For the second batch, i started at 190 degrees and ended at 150 degrees.
I couldn’t cut them open and fill with the custard, if I had a little syringe or piping bag I could’ve stuffed them with custard. We ended up eating two on top of each other with custard in between 😀
While the pastries are cooling down you can start with the ganache. Once cooled you then dip the tops of the pastries in the chocolate and leave them to harden, or don’t wait and dig in immediately!
The second batch – piped these higher, longer and thicker, hence the choux on steroids look
This recipe was scary at first but really fun to make in the end, lots of laughs which is always a plus. I hope you guys enjoy this and let me know if you try it yourself 🙂