I was absolutely over the moon with these little Eclairs, the caramel ones, in particular were utterly perfect.
This Crème Pâtissière is the best I have ever made, I always mix my Crème Pâtissière with equal amounts of whipped cream and use this to fill my Eclairs. It is in my opinion, much less heavy and much more delicious.
This is only the second time I've made Eclairs but I doubt I'll divert from this recipe any time soon. Mr. Perfect just gave me 'the look' after his first bite of one of these babies, he the proceeded to sit down on the sofa, taking the entire plate of Eclairs with him. Needless to say they lasted all of five minutes.
I had plenty of caramel left over after making my Sweet & Salty Brownies so decided to use this to top half of my Eclairs. The chocolate Eclairs were gorgeous but the caramel really stole the show, they were absolutely breathtaking. I've included the caramel recipe below so you don't need to go hunting for it.
Chocolate & Caramel Eclairs
Recipe from Michel Roux's Pastry: Savory & Sweet
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
125ml (1/2 cup water)
100g (8 tbsp butter) diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
150g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
4 medium eggs
Eggwash (1 medium egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk)
6 medium egg yolks
125g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) caster sugar
40g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
500ml (2 cups) milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
A little confectioners' sugar or butter
Step 1: Combine the milk, water, butter, salt, and sugar in a pan and set over low heat. Bring to a boil and immediately take the pan off the heat. Shower in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until completely smooth.
Step 2: Return the pan to medium heat and stir continuously for about 1 minute to dry out the paste, then tip it into a bowl.
Step 3: Add the eggs one at a time, beating with the wooden spoon.
Step 4: Once the eggs are all incorporated, the paste should be smooth and shiny with a thick ribbon consistency. It is now ready to use. (If you're not using it immediately, brush the surface lightly with a little beaten egg to prevent a crust forming.)
Makes 40-50 little choux buns
Step 1: Whisk the egg yolks and 1/3 of the sugar together in a bowl to a light ribbon consistency. Whisk in the flour thoroughly.
Step 2: In a pan, heat the milk with the rest of the sugar and the vanilla bean. As soon as it comes to a boil, pour it onto the egg yolk mixture, stirring as you go. Mix well, then return the mixture to the pan.
Step 3: Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously with the whisk. Let bubble for 2 minutes, then pour into a bowl.
Step 4: Dust the crème pâtissière with a veil of confectioners' sugar to prevent a skin forming as it cools, or dot small flakes of butter all over the surface. Once cold, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove the vanilla bean before using.
Makes about 1 lb. 10 oz. (750 g)
Preheat your oven to 200C. Cut 2 large sheets of baking parchment and on each one draw 2 sets of 'track' lines with a 10cm gap - these will be your guidelines so your eclairs will all be roughly the same size. Use the paper to line 2 large baking sheets - pen-side down.
Spoon your choux mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm wide nozzle, or into a disposable piping bag with a similar-size hole snipped off for piping. Pipe 2 rows of well-spaced, squashed 'S' shapes on each sheet between the guidelines
Bake, one tray at a time, on a high-ish shelf for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, poke a hole in the end of each bun, or using a small serrated knife or cake tester and return to the oven, upside-down, to dry out for 5 minutes until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.
I like to mix my Crème Pâtissière with equal amounts of whipped cream, for a lighter filling.
To fill your Eclairs use a small nozzle if you're filling the buns through the holes you've pierced, or a large nozzle if you wish to split the buns in half. Carefully pipe the Crème Pâtissière or lightened Crème Pâtissière into each cooled bun - they should feel heavy once full. Arrange the buns on a wire rack and spread each with a little of your chosen icing (see below).
For the Caramel
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/4 cup sour cream
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350F (175 C), or until the mixture is dark amber in colour, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, and slowly add the cream (careful, it will bubble up) and then the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool, before dipping the tops of your Eclairs into the caramel.
If you are making this caramel purely for eclairs please note that you will have plenty left over but it does keep well.
Melt 100g plain chocolate and 25g butter together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in 75ml double cream and 1 tbsp sifted icing sugar. Once cooled a little, dip the tops of your buns in the chocolate and leave to cool.
I have decided to master the art of patisserie but can't decide what to try next...any ideas?