Thought making pastry was only for baking pros? It's actually super easy and what does choux pastry get you? Eclairs! Eat Like A Girl shares her favourite recipe below...
Everyone loves the Great British Bake Off, but do you actually bake at home? Most people don't, however, there are some recipes which are very easy to replicate, and you don't need to be a pastry chef to try them.
Eclairs are a comfort food classic. They remind me of trips to the cafe with my mother as a small child. They were always one of my favourite treats. They are even better when you whip up a batch at home.
Choux pastry has a reputation for being challenging, but really it is one of the easiest pastries to make. It is not prissy or difficult like some of the others can be. Choux pastry likes you to be rough whereas the others need you to be delicate and your hands need to be cool. Choux pastry likes heat.
I keep the eclairs themselves simple. I just put a simple whipped cream sweetened with sugar and fragrant with vanilla inside, and a chocolate ganache on top (simple half butter/half chocolate melted and spread on). Once you have mastered the pastry, you can do so much with it. Leave out the sugar and add grated cheese, then bake small cheese gougere buns.
Final note, homemade should be messy, as you can see mine are. None of us are chefs, we are home cooks. Embrace it.
Recipe: Homemade Eclairs
150g flour, sifted (strong white if you have it, but plain flour will do if not)
4 eggs, lighty beaten
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp sugar (I prefer light brown, but white is fine too)
100g best dark chocolate
250ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp icing sugar
Make your choux pastry. Bring the butter, salt, sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan. When just boiled (don't boil for longer or some of the water will boil off) add the flour in one go, stirring with a wooden spoon as you do.
Stir vigorously until it pulls away from the side of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes, then slowly add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating them into the pastry as you do.
Don't be alarmed if it separates and look like curds, just keep beating it and bringing it back in. When all of the eggs have been added and the pastry looks glossy and slides gently off the spoon, it is ready.
Pipe with a piping bag on to a greaseproof paper lined baking tray. If you don't have a piping bag make small round ones - like little rough profiteroles - by dropping some of the pastry on to the tray. Ensure they are about an inch apart.
Bake for 10 minutes at 20 degrees C, then reduce to 180 degree s C and bake for a further 10 minutes (they should be a lovely golden brown).
Cool the choux buns (on a wire rack is best if you have one). Then melt the butter, then turn off the heat and add the chocolate in squares and stir until it melts. Whip the cream with the vanilla and sugar.
Let the ganache cool a little so it is not so runny but not hard and still glossy. Leave for about 10 minutes. Fill the choux with the cream and put some ganache on top. Leave the ganache set a little and serve.
(Extra choux buns will keep in an airtight box for 3 days or will freeze well).
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