Every now and then I tend to go over some of the old recipes to make sure I’ve explained the steps clearly and not missed out on any ingredient! This week, it was time to re-visit one of the most feared upon recipes… Chocolate Eclairs! I have no idea why some people run away from baking these,assuming it would be complicated. But trust me, it’s nothing of the sort … I can tell you from experience now, all you need are the following 3 essentials and I guarantee you’ll get perfectly baked eclairs:
1. A really well pre-heated oven. It is essential this is done at least 30 minutes before baking, as the oven needs to be really hot when the Eclairs go in… All the magic happens within the first 15 minutes!
2. An electric beater. I have tried this recipe using a hand whisk before. And yes, although it’s a great arm workout, but the results are brilliant if you leave the machine to do all the mixing for you.
3. Patience and Perseverance. Yes, your Eclairs may not necessarily look great the first time you make them, but don’t let that stop you from trying again. The more you practice, the more you’ll get the hang of it! Trust me, as I talk from experience here …. in fact my husband can now tell they are Eclairs without asking ‘What is this supposed to be again?’ 😀 …
I’ve added a few steps to the recipe card just to make it more elaborate and easier to understand. So don’t let the length of the recipe scare you, coz you’re definitely going to find a few ‘DUHH I KNOW THAT!’ steps in there too. All geared up to give it a try now? Lets go then ….
Serving: Makes approximately 24 mini-eclairs
Ingredients for the choux pastry:
All purpose flour: 1 cup
Caster Sugar: 1 tsp
Unsalted Butter: 1/2 cup
Eggs (at room temperature): 4
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Water: 1 cup
Ingredients for the cream filling:
Whipped cream: 1/2 cup
Icing Sugar: 1 tbsp
Vanilla Essence: 1 tsp
Ingredients for the ganache:
Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips: 1/2 cup
Whipped Cream: 1/2 cup
Method for the choux pastry:
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees celcius. Line your baking tray with parchment paper.
In a sauce pan place the unsalted butter and water and allow it to come to a boil over medium-heat.
Meanwhile in a separate bowl, mix together the dry-ingredients ie. all purpose flour, caster sugar, and salt.
Once the sauce pan mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and quickly add the flour mixture while stirring constantly.
Place the sauce pan back on the heat and keep stirring constantly until the mixture starts to form a smooth dough.
Remove the dough from the sauce pan and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
Using an electric beater,add the lightly beaten eggs to the dough one at a time. Beat until well-combined.
Transfer the dough to your piping bag. Pipe out the mini eclairs remembering to leave enough space between each one, as they will spread and rise while baking.
Brush each eclair with an egg to add the glaze on top.
Bake the eclairs in your pre-heated oven at 200 degrees celsius for the first 15 minutes or until the eclairs start to rise. Then reduce the temperature to 177 degrees celsius and continue to bake for another 25 – 30 minutes or until the shells are nice and golden. (a good way to check is to tap the shells to see if they are hard).
Remove the eclair from the oven, place small slits on the sides of each eclair, and place back in the oven. This step will ensure any trapped steam escapes and dough is cooked inside too.
Allow the eclair to cool completely on a wire rack before adding the filling.
Method for the cream filling:
In a bowl, beat together the whipped cream, icing sugar, and vanilla essence until it forms a thick creamy mixture.
Once the eclair shells have cooled, cut them from one side and add the cream filling.
Method for the ganache:
Using the double-boiler method, melt the chocolate chips and whipped cream until well combined. Allow the ganache to cool a little before before dipping the eclairs inside it.
Congratulations! Your eclairs are now ready to be served! Told you it was simple enough 🙂