Chocolate Eclairs

Last Thursday was a big baking day.  I spent about 4 hours from 8pm-midnight spending quality time in the kitchen.  I finally made those Sugar Cookies with the dough I had made on Sunday and although the cookie cutters seemed to have vanished, that batch turned out rather nice as well.

Deciding to make Eclairs was a huge step.  I haven’t made anything like this before and most of the time when I get mixed up with whipping cream, it never turned out good.  So of course, at the same time, my best friend calls long distance and I had to ask for some help since my multitasking skills only go to a certain extent! Yes, my boyfriend.  I have to say though, he’s one great helper when it comes to these artsy recipes with whip cream.  Other than supervising and reading the quantities for the ingredients, he mixed  most of the recipes to have the right consistency to move on with the recipe.

Here is how it turned out after a night in the fridge to harden the chocolate coating:

I took this recipe from my baking book from the previous few recipes: Cookies, Biscuits & Bakes 500 by Catherine Atkinson.

CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS

MAKES 12

Ingredients:

9 tbsp all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

1/4 cup butter, diced

2/3 cup water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

FOR THE FILLING:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 tsp icing sugar, sifted

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

FOR THE GLAZE:

4 oz semisweet chocolate

2 tbsp butter

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400F.  Grease and line a baking sheet.  For the pastry, sift the flour and salt on to a sheet of baking parchment.

2. Melt the butter with the water in a pan, then bring to a rolling boil.  Remove from the heat, add all the flour and beat until combined.  Return to a low heat, beating until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a ball.  Leave to cool for 2-3 mins.  Gradually beat in the eggs to make a smooth, shiny paste.

3. Spoon the pastry in to a piping (pastry) bag fitted with a 1in. plain nozzle.  Pipe 10cm/4in lengths on to the baking sheet.  Use a wet knife to cut off the pastry at the nozzle.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen ad golden.

4. Make a slit along the side of each eclair to release the steam, lower the oven temperature to 350F and bake for 5 mins more.  Cool on a wire rack.

5. For the filling, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla. Spoon into a piping bag and use to fill the eclairs.

6. Melt the Chocolate with 2 tbsp water in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the butter.  Dip the top of each eclair in the chocolate. Leave to cool until set.

As always, the curse of lack of flour was here again.  Step 2 was extremely hard because by the time I got there.  The paste had already appeared after the heating stage, but when you add 2 eggs it because horribly liquid.  We ended adding another 3 tbsp of sifted flour and beating that in to make the smooth, shiny paste.  My boyfriend probably stood there for a good amount of time patiently beating it in to get it done.  So be careful of that stage.

Also, we didn’t have a pastry bag so we just used a ziploc bag and cut off the tip to about 1in .  As you can see, we didn’t have exactly 10cm.  There really wasn’t that much paste to make 12.

I will eventually revisit this recipe and hopefully it’ll work out a bit better, although my boyfriend ended up loving the end result a lot.  He said it tasted really delicious.  Definitely worth it to make again! I should be looking at making more pastries soon!