Surprise your Mum this Mother’s Day with these gorgeous choux pastry eclairs. Filled with rich crème patisserie and topped with sugary sweet icing, take your pick on what flavour combinations suit your fancy, from coconut, pistachio, espresso, raspberry, passionfruit and decadent chocolate. You will need a piping bag, 1cm star nozzle and a skewer.
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees C (180 degrees C fan oven) and get the top shelf ready.
- Sieve the flour and salt twice to remove lumps and aerate it.
- Chop the butter for the choux into small cubes and place into a saucepan with the water.
- Gently bring to the boil.
- Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and pour the flour in immediately and beat vigoursly for 30 seconds until a smooth ball of paste is formed.
- Allow to cool to body temperature. The fastest way to do this is by putting the choux mixture onto a plate and spreading it out.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs with a fork. Once the choux mixture is cool, place it into a bowl.
- Add 1 tablespoon of egg to the mixture and beat vigorously until well combined and no lumps. Repeat the addition of 1 tablespoon of egg and beating until the mixture reaches a reluctant dropping consistency. This is where the mixture falls off the wooden spoon with a flick after 3-4 seconds. You may not need to add all your eggs to reach this consistency. The mixture should be silky and shiny.
- Place the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm star nozzle attached.
- Pipe 10cm long, uniform eclairs onto a baking tray lined with silicon paper.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes until the eclairs are golden brown and firm to the touch. There should be no soft, squidgy parts.
- Make a 0.5cm hole into the side of the éclair with a skewer and return it to the middle shelf, at 170 C (150 C fan) for 5 minutes to dry out.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Take note of your chosen filling below, some require replacement of milk with your filling. Add this at the next stage too.
- Place the milk for the crème patissiere onto the hob in a saucepan and bring to scalding point, which is where bubbles rise to the corner of the pan. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine the yolks and sugar.
- Add a splash of the milk to the cornflour and plain flour together and mix together to form a paste.
- Add a splash of milk to the yolks and sugar and mix together. Now add the flours paste to the yolks and combine.
- Gradually add the remaining milk. Rinse the saucepan, and add the full mixture to the saucepan and return to the hob on a medium heat.
- Stir the mixture continuously. The mixture will begin to lump and change in texture. Keep stirring, it will eventually become smooth. Once smooth, turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Remove from the heat and add a few drops of vanilla extract. Place into a bowl and cover with cling film in direct contact with the crème patissiere.
- Sieve the icing for the choux and mix it with your chosen flavour. You want a spreadable consistency. If it is too runny it will run off the éclair.
- Flavour your crème patissiere and icing according to the flavour variations below.
- Once the choux pastry eclairs are cool, place the crème patissiere into a piping bag with a 0.5cm nozzle. Place the nozzle inside the eclairs and fill completely.
- With a small palette knife or cutlery knife, dip your knife into the icing and smooth over the top of the éclair. If the icing has ridges, dip your knife into warm water and gently smooth out the wrinkles.
- While the icing is still wet, garnish with your flavour variation accompaniment.
- Serve immediately.
Combine the cream and icing sugar. Whip the cream and place into the piping bag. Pipe inside the éclair. Dip the éclair into the melted chocolate mixture.
Passion fruit Assembly:
Place the passion fruit insides into a sieve and press out the juice. Reserve the seeds. Combine the juice with the crème patissiere and pipe into the eclairs. Mix the icing sugar with the passion fruit juice, ice the eclairs and garnish with the seeds.
Gently heat the water and granulated sugar together on the hob until the sugar has melted. Blend together with the frozen raspberries until a puree is created. Sieve the mixture to remove the seeds. Discard the seeds. Replace 50ml of the milk in the crème patissiere recipe with 50ml of the puree. Pipe into the eclairs. Combine 3-4 tablespoons of the puree with the icing sugar, ice the eclairs and garnish with fresh raspberries and white sprinkles.
Replace 100ml of the milk in the crème patissiere recipe with 100ml of the coconut cream. Pipe into the eclairs. Combine 2-3 tablespoons of the coconut cream with the icing sugar, ice the eclairs and garnish with desiccated coconut.
Replace 50ml of the milk in the crème patissiere recipe with 50ml of hot espresso. Pipe into the eclairs. Combine 2-3 tablespoons of the espresso with the icing sugar, ice the eclairs and garnish with ground coffee.
Replace 30ml of the milk in the crème patissiere recipe with 30g of pistachio paste. Pipe into the eclairs. Combine 1 tablespoon of the pistachio paste with 3-4 tablespoons of water, a couple of drops of green gel food colour and the icing sugar. Ice the eclairs and garnish with chopped pistachios.