Ingredients / Shopping List
1 x recipe of choux pastry
400ml carton double cream
100g bar plain chocolate
2 – 3 tblsp cream
2 tablespoon icing sugar
150g icing sugar
Prep to Cook: Spatula, piping bag, plain nozzle, round bladed knife, measuring jug, flat baking tray, parchment paper, cooling rack, mixing bowl, bowls, teaspoon, wooden spoon.
Prep: Prepare the choux paste as in the recipe
Pile the paste into a piping bag with plain nozzle.
Piping the correct shape is essential for éclairs.
Eclair tins are not needed, use a flat baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Sift a very light layer of flour over the tray.
Using a ruler draw a line with your finger through the flour
Then another parallel line about 12cm away.
Pipe the choux paste in straight lengths between these lines.
Use a knife dipped into water to cut off the choux paste from the nozzle.
Cook the éclairs in a hot oven
Wait until they rise and are golden before opening the door of the oven
Pierce the sides of each éclair quickly to allow steam to escape
Return to the oven and cook on for a further 15 minutes, reducing the oven temperature slightly.
When the éclairs are crisp and firm remove them and cool on a rack.
Prepare the whipped cream and pile it into a piping bag
Prepare the icing, either coffee glace icing or the chocolate topping
Coffee: Dissolve coffee granules in a tablespoon boiling water and stir into the sieved icing sugar until smooth and coating consistency
Chocolate: Place ingredients in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Leave to stand and stir well. Add extra cream if need be to make a smooth coating consistency.
Hold the éclairs, insert the piping bag nozzle and fill the centres.
Put the icing into a wide mixing bowl
Dip the éclairs tops into the icing, removing excess icing on the side of the mixing bowl. Leave éclairs on the cooling rack to set.
Eclairs are technically demanding. The piping and the shape is important and requires correct choux paste for success. Cooking times need to be judged carefully. They are delicious and special and worth learning to make.
Cooks Know How: Making éclairs requires the skilful use of choux paste (see Choux Pastry recipe)
Choux paste is an unusual pastry made by boiling fat (butter) with water and gelatinising the flour to create a thick paste before enriching with eggs. The eggs have a function to trap air and stretch during cooking to allow the choux bun to swell and puff before setting. The moisture from the water helps this by turning to steam in the oven. If steam is trapped in the choux bun it will cause the bun to collapse after removal from the oven, so it is critical to cook them long enough to dry the crust and skewer them to remove all the steam. The magic comes when the gluten in the flour and the egg proteins set because of the heat and hold up the characteristic puffy shape.
Cool the éclairs before you fill them with cream or the cream will split and become runny.
Making coffee glace icing simply requires beating and testing the flavour until it is as strong as you like it.
Eclairs can have a confectioner’s custard filling adding a further skill! Alternately cream can be flavoured with crushed hazelnuts, or fruit purees. Smaller éclairs can be made savoury with a cream cheese filling and marmite glaze.