My wife attended a seminar or workshop or something to that effect during the week. During the tea-break, they served some form of Chocolate Eclairs and my wife raved about them when she came home. Now that always strikes a raw nerve with me. Whenever she raves about something she's eaten outside, I feel compelled to try and make it.
And so it came to pass (I've always wanted to sound biblical!!) that I looked up a recipe today and learnt that Eclairs are made from Choux Pastry. I've never really been bothered to make pastry and always use the store bought variety for my pies and other stuff. Anyway the choux pastry recipe didnt look too difficult so I thought I'd try it out and see.
The recipe came from a Readers Digest handbook my wife had gotten as a birthday present some years ago. The recipe said it made 30 small eclairs so I decided since I was just testing it out, I'd halve the recipe. I really didnt want 15 mini eclairs either so I just piped them out into long, regular sized eclairs - making 3 and a half regular sized ones.
Well, the eclairs puffed up wonderfully and turned out well. I still didnt know how they would taste and I wasnt going to whip cream just for 3 eclairs. I did make up a tiny batch of chocolate topping (actually just a thicker and more cocoa added to my chocolate icing) and smothered it on the eclairs.
The verdict? Michael and Sarah absolutely loved it as did my wife! The problem was, Michael wanted some more and when I declared that they were all finished he looked at me quizzically and asked "Daddy! Why did you only make 3?!!!"
And so it was back into the kitchen to make up another batch of eclairs. This time I decided to make them mini so it would be easy to pop into the mouth. This is the recipe:
60 g butter
60 g flour
125 ml water
300 ml thickened cream
4 tbsp icing sugar
Pre heat oven to 220C
Melt butter together with the water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to the boil and then take off heat. Add in sifted flour and mix well till combined. Return to heat and continue to cook till mixture is glossy and holds together well. Allow to cool.
Add in eggs a little at a time and beat till smooth and glossy again. [I actually transferred it to a mixing bowl and used the electric beaters as the first time, the hand mixing grew quite tiring - and the eggs didnt combine quite so well]
Pipe out 5cm lengths and then bake for about 20 mins till golden.
Then you are supposed to take the eclairs out and make a small slit to allow the steam to come out then put back in the over again for 5 mins. I didnt see any difference with making the slit or without - maybe I was just lucky.
Cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, whip up the cream with icing sugar till stiff. slice the eclairs lengthwise (but not to the end) and then pipe in the cream. Top with melted chocolate or chocolate icing.
Sarah wanted to decorate her eclairs with sprinkles.
Michael and Sarah stuffing their faces with the eclairs....!