Classic chocolate eclairs

This is perhaps a little tradition I’d like to grow with – ‘the Sunday afternoon treat’ tradition. Admittedly, treats happen a little more often than they perhaps should in the Bresler home – but, as we are a little obsessed with making our own traditions as newly-weds, I think this could very easily be one of them.

My thought – pick one delicious (sweet) recipe a week – something special, and make it the ‘treat of the week’. Something I can lazily make on a Sunday afternoon, to maybe be enjoyed with a cup of tea (or wine, depending on the Sunday) while we prepare for the week ahead. These eclairs are a delicious start to the tradition – a crisp, almost biscuity pastry, not-too-sweet filling and a solid chocolate topping. You can mix it with a little cream if you’d like to make a ganache instead of plain melted chocolate.

However, please don’t leave out the vanilla. Extractpaste or pods are the only options I feel will be acceptable here. Snob.

Vanilla essence does not count as vanilla. 

Ingredients:

For the choux pastry

Recipe from here

200ml cold water
4 tsp caster sugar
85g unsalted butter
115g plain flour
pinch salt
3 medium free-range eggs, beaten

For the creme patisserie

Recipe from here

40g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
20g cornflour
250ml milk
3 pumps NoMU Vanilla Paste
200g melted chocolate, for topping

Method:

For the creme patisserie, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together until thick and pale, then add the cornflour. Place the milk in a saucepan on a medium-high heat and warm until bubbles start to form around the outside of the pan. Add 1/4 cup of the milk to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Remove the rest of the milk from the heat and slowly add the heated egg mixture, whisking thoroughly. Place the pan back onto a medium heat, add the vanilla and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Place into a bowl with a layer of clingfilm on top (touching the mixture so no skin forms) and cool in a fridge.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. For the choux pastry, place the water, caster sugar, and butter in a saucepan and melt together. Add the flour and salt all at once, remove from the heat and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball and comes away from the sides of the pot. Place back on a medium-high heat for a minute and cook, while constantly stirring.

Remove from the heat and add half the egg mixture, while beating with the wooden spoon. Check the consistency – you’re looking for a soft, glossy texture that drops easily, but is not too runny that it loses its shape. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Using a piping bag and plain round 1cm nozzle, pipe the mixture into in lines across the baking sheet. Gently rub the top of each ball with a wet finger – this helps to make a crisper top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, allow to cool on a drying rack.

Whisk the sugar and egg yolks until thick and pale. Add the cornflour and whisk well.  In a heavy based saucepan, gently heat the milk with the NoMU Vanilla Paste  and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and slowly pour into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and  place over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is nice and thick.   Cover the surface with clingfilm and leave to cool completely. Make sure the cling film touches the surface of the custard so that a skin doesn’t form.

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