24th October 2012
My third recipe today was to be Chocolate Eclairs. Two reasons, they are one of my daughter’s favourites and had been requested by her and the second reason being when I had a count up of the recipes I still had left to bake, under the ‘Tarts and Pastries’ section I had 10 still to do – I think I avoid this chapter along with one other chapter from the Bible, so I will be rectifying this soon and catching up on these two chapters!!
I can remember making chocolate eclairs years ago, but I haven’t recently, although last year we did make quite a few profiteroles in this house – it was one of the recipes my daughter did for her Food Tech GCSE and we must have eaten them at least once a week if not more for quite a few weeks. Luckily we all like them so there were no complaints!
The oven was put back on again and two trays were lightly greased.
Into a small pan went the water and the butter which had been cut into small cubes. This was put over a low heat and the butter allowed to melt. Once melted it was brought slowly to the boil. Whilst the butter was melting I weighed and sieved the flour into a separate bowl. The pan was removed from the heat and the flour was added all in one go. This was then beaten until the mixture formed a soft ball which left the side of the pan. The mixture was put to one side to cool slightly.
Into another bowl went 2 large eggs, which were beaten together.
After approximately 10 minutes the mixture had cooled down enough, so the eggs were added a little at a time and beaten together – using an electric whisk as Mary suggested. After each addition of the eggs the mixture was beaten until it was shiny and smooth. To me the mixture seemed slightly runnier than I had remembered it. I wondered if it was because I had used two of my chickens’ own eggs, which are actually extra large, rather than large. I really must remember this in future recipes!
The mixture was spooned into a piping bag which had been fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. My mixture was so runny that it was almost running out of the nozzle itself by the time I had filled the bag up. With my ruler by the side of my trays I carefully (well as careful as I could be with the runny mixture) piped out the eclair shapes – about 13-15cm long. Some were a bit wonky, others looked OK. I did make a few ‘profiterole’ shapes too with the last of the mixture.
These were popped into the oven at a fairly high temperature for 10 minutes, after which the oven was turned down and they were baked for a further 20 minutes. I was pleased to see that they were well risen and were a lovely golden brown all over, although not very uniform in shape – I’d never be able to sell them in a shop!
The eclairs were removed from the oven and a slit was made in the side of each one to let the steam out. If you don’t do this you end up with soggy pastry! They were then left to cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled it was time for the filling. The remainder of my pot of double cream was whipped up and put into a piping bag. The cold eclairs were filled with cream – it’s surprising just how much cream you can fit in each eclair – I thought I would have far too much cream, but I think I ended up with about 1 tbsp left over.
With the eclairs filled it was time for the chocolate topping. Into a bowl went the plain chocolate which had been broken into pieces which was put over a pan of hot water. Into the chocolate went the butter and water. The butter was left to melt into the chocolate and stirred occasionally. This was removed from the heat and the icing sugar added. I did have a slight panic at this point, as I had used most of my icing sugar for the iced lemon traybake, but amazingly I had the exact amount I required left in the bag. The icing sugar was beaten into the chocolate mixture until it was smooth and glossy. This was spooned over the top of each eclair and left to set.
The eclairs were very light, full of cream and the topping was delicious. They didn’t look particularly neat, I think my icing was a bit too runny when I put it on the top and they were of random shapes and sizes, although they all looked relatively similar when they went into the oven, they just didn’t when they came out!! If I made them again, I think I’d probably go back to my old recipe, as personally I found the choux pastry to be just a little too runny for my liking.