An éclair is an oblong pastry made of baked choux pastry filled with a custard and topped with icing. The flavour possibilities are endless! I like custard and a whipped vanilla cream! This basic recipe will get you started on your journey.
125mls (½ cup) water
60mls (¼ cup) milk
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp caster sugar
5½ tbsp (80gm) butter
110gm (¾ cup) plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
185mls (¾ cup) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups milk
5-6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 ½ tbsp cornflour (corn-starch)
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp butter
150g (5.3oz) dark chocolate
1-2 tbsp cream
Crème Patisserie / Custard
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Place the water, milk, salt, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted. Reduce the heat to low, add the flour and beat with a spatula for 2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and comes away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer dough to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 1 minute or until cooled slightly. Add one egg at a time, beating until combined. Beat for 1–2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and looks a little silky.
Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a round or star nozzle. Pipe 12 x 12cm (4.5inch x 4.5inch) lengths onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Allow to cool completely on the trays. It is better to be a little over baked than under-baked as this prevents them from collapsing.
Crème Patisserie / Custard
Into a large bowl, add the sugar, eggs, cornflour then whisk until smooth.
Place a large saucepan onto medium heat. Add the bean and vanilla with the milk into a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer, almost to a boil then remove it from the heat. While whisking vigorously, Slowly pour about a half of the 1 cup of hot milk in a thin stream. This is called tempering the eggs. When the eggs have bought up to temperature, add the egg mix back into the hot milk in the saucepan and mix well.
Heat the custard over medium heat, while continuing to whisk quickly. It will begin to thicken over the 2-3 minutes let it come to boil (you'll see bubbles break the surface) then lower the temperature for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the butter, then remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl then use cling film to cover the surface of the custard. Let cool completely before adding to a piping bag.
Filling & Assembly
Place the cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. To assemble the éclairs, use a small, sharp knife to cut a small hole in the underside. Push the nozzle in and pipe the cream into the centre, only half-fill. Follow the same with the custard.
Warm cream and add to chocolate. Stir and heat over double boiler if needed until smooth.Dip the top of each éclair in the chocolate and refrigerate until just set.