I think these are the best thing I’ve ever baked. I took eight of these bad boys to my boyfriend’s house last night and they were gone by 9 o’clock – I was even asked if they were from Greggs (not to blow my own trumpet or anything!) So clearly these are a crowd-pleaser…
I had never attempted to make choux pastry before these, and I’m now eager to delve in a bit more! It’s a different kind of baking than I’m used to but it was nice to set myself a bit of a challenge.
The idea for these came when this month’s Good Food magazine popped through the letterbox. The cover just caught my eye immediately, and I just had to give these beautiful eclairs a go.
I went for the salted caramel topping/filling as I knew my family would be down for that (I was obviously correct!) and I’m honestly so happy with how they turned out. I chopped and changed the recipe a little – as per usual – so I thought I’d share how I made them, just in case you fancy giving it a go!
for the choux pastry;
85g lightly salted butter
100g plain flour
for the crème pâtissière;
75ml double cream
1 egg yolk
25g caster sugar
1.5 tbsp cornflour
for the filling/topping:
1 tin of carnation caramel
300g icing sugar
300ml double cream
50g toffee popcorn
- To make the choux pastry, place the butter in saucepan with 225ml of water and bring to a boil. Simmer until the butter has completely melted, then tip in the flour and beat until you have a smooth mixture which pulls away from the sides of the pan. Tip the mixture into a bowl and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C, and then line two baking trays with parchment paper. Using a ruler, draw 10cm lines vertically on each paper. Make sure they are spaced out enough so that the pastry can rise. When the flour mixture has cooled but isn’t yet cold, add the egg in very gradually, beating well in between. When all of the egg is incorporated you should have a smooth mixture which reluctantly drops off of the spoon. Transfer to a piping bag.
- Pipe the choux onto the baking sheet, using the lines you’ve drawn as a guide. Take your time with this, and when you’ve come to end of the eclair flip the end of the nozzle back over the end so that you get a rounded edge. Bake for 35-40 minutes until they are puffed, golden and sound hollow when tapped. You may need to sacrifice one to ensure they are cooked in the middle, and tasty!
- Next, make the crème pâtissière. Place the milk and double cream in a saucepan and heat until just simmering. While this is heating up, mix together the egg yolk, sugar and cornflour, whisking together until you have a smooth, runny paste. Pour the heated milk mixture over this paste, stir thoroughly, and then transfer back into the pan. Stir over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until you have a thick custard consistency. Sieve this into a jug, cover with clingfilm, and put it in the fridge to cool for about an hour or so. The longer you can wait the better!
- Now onto the best part – the flavours! To make the glaze mix 75g of carnation caramel with 300g icing sugar, you may need to add a splash of water to help it along. The finished icing should be glossy and drizzly. Cover with cling film for later. Then put 100g of caramel into a piping bag, and the rest into a bowl. Into this bowl of caramel add the double cream and whisk until you have stiff peaks. Fold in the crème pâtissière and then transfer to another piping bag.
- The assembly – Split each eclair in half with a serrated knife, and on each bottom half pipe a line of carnation caramel and then sprinkle a pinch of salt over the top. Then pipe generous blobs of the cream on top, as neatly as you can! Place the top halves on the cream, and then spread the glaze carefully over the top. Be careful, I learnt the hard way that this glaze spreads quite easily! Then simply finish with the toffee popcorn.
Now there are a lot of steps, and this is a very time consuming recipe, but it was so worth it. Everyone was so impressed with these, it’s definitely a good ego boost! I’m excited to try these with different fillings and flavours, maybe choux pastry could be my thing? Have you ever tried it?