Pâte à Chou – chocolate éclairs

chocolate eclairs

Rémy and Minty covering their éclairs with chocolate sauce

These pastries, made with Choux Pastry, are so easy to make and will really impress your friends – plus they are DELICIOUS!

In France the éclairs are usually filled with creme patisserie – here we’ve kept it simple and probably rather British and used cream. There’s very little to them and the kids love to help. There are a couple of ‘hot’ spots to the process where Mummy has to step in but for the most part Minty and Rémy do the work.

If you wish to make profiteroles instead of éclairs just pipe little balls instead of sausages, fill with cream, cover with chocolate sauce – et voila!

Recipe adapted from The River Cottage Family Cookbook

(the best present Rémy ever got – I had ordered books for Minty and when they came Rémy asked what I had for him. Thinking on my feet I reached into the box for the cookbook and said I had specially ordered it for him. He LOVES it and I often find him flicking through looking at the pictures and picking out a new recipe. I was shocked to discover that neither child knew what the muddy snout was or the cows udder in the photos – I knew it was time to get them into wellies on the farm and teach them a few basic things about food and where it comes from.)

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons of unsalted butter

7/8 cups of water

A pinch of salt

2/3 cups all-purpose flour

3 free range organic eggs

1 cup Heavy cream

Chocolate icing:

1/2 cup fine sugar

6 tablespoons of water

2 oz dark chocolate

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

What to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Cut up the butter.

Rémy cuts the butter in to cubes

3. Put the butter water and salt in a medium saucepan over a low heat.

chocolate eclairs

Minty measures out 7/8 cup of Water

4. Stir occasionally as the butter melts. Meanwhile sift the flour into a small bowl.

chocolate eclairs

Minty sifts the flour

5. When the butter has melted turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the flour to the saucepan. Beat the flour into the mixture, combining all the ingredients.The mixture will make a dough that comes away from the sides of the pan.

chocolate elairs

Mummy stirs in the flour to make the dough

6. Remove from the heat and let cool for 4 minutes. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk them with a fork.

Chocolate eclairs

Rémy whisks the eggs.

7. Pour a little egg into the dough and beat it in well. Keep adding and beating until the dough looks thick smooth and shiny  and holds its shape well. You may not need all the egg if you have used large ones.

8. Using a spatula place the dough into a freezer bag. Squeeze the dough into a corner and snip off the point to create a hole about 3/8 inch long. Pipe 4 inch long sausage shapes about 1 1/2 inches apart onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

chocolate eclairs

Minty pipes out 4 inch sausage shapes of dough

9. Place the baking sheets in the hot oven for about 30 minutes.

chocolate eclairs

Rémy carries his baking tray of piped dough to the oven

10. The éclairs are ready when they are puffed up, golden brown and feel hard when you poke them with a knife. Remove from the oven. Take the  éclairs off the tray and slit each one down the side to release the steam (you don’t want soggy pastry when the steam cools to form water on the inside!).

chocolate eclairs

Rémy and Minty can't wait for the éclairs to cool

11. Whip the cream in the Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment until it’s just stiff enough to hold its shape. Place in refrigerator whilst you make the chocolate icing. In a small saucepan over low heat dissolve the sugar stirring all the time. Bring to a boil and boil fast from 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down. When the syrup is warm rather than hot add the butter and chocolate pieces and stir until smooth and glossy.

chocolate eclairs

When can we eat them?

12. When the éclair cases are cooled fill them with cream – you may ned to open the slit a little more to spoon in the cream with a teaspoon or you can fill an icing bag and pipe it in. Smear, drizzle and coat the éclairs with the chocolate sauce and leave to set.

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Chocolate Eclairs

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons of unsalted butter

7/8 cups of water

A pinch of salt

2/3 cups all-purpose flour

3 free range organic eggs

1 cup Heavy cream

Chocolate icing:

1/2 cup fine sugar

6 tablespoons of water

2 oz dark chocolate

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

What to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Cut up the butter.

3. Put the butter water and salt in a medium saucepan over a low heat.

4. Stir occasionally as the butter melts. Meanwhile sift the flour into a small bowl.

5. When the butter has melted turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the flour to the saucepan. Beat the flour into the mixture, combining all the ingredients.The mixture will make a dough that comes away from the sides of the pan.

6. Remove from the heat and let cool for 4 minutes. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk them with a fork.

7. Pour a little egg into the dough and beat it in well. Keep adding and beating until the dough looks thick smooth and shiny  and holds its shape well. You may not need all the egg if you have used large ones.

8. Using a spatula place the dough into a freezer bag. Squeeze the dough into a corner and snip off the point to create a hole about 3/8 inch long. Pipe 4 inch long sausage shapes about 1 1/2 inches apart onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

9. Place the baking sheets in the hot oven for about 30 minutes.

10. The éclairs are ready when they are puffed up, golden brown and feel hard when you poke them with a knife. Remove from the oven. Take the  éclairs off the tray and slit each one down the side to release the steam (you don’t want soggy pastry when the steam cools to form water on the inside!).

11. Whip the cream in the Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment until it’s just stiff enough to hold its shape. Place in refrigerator whilst you make the chocolate icing. In a small saucepan over low heat dissolve the sugar stirring all the time. Bring to a boil and boil fast from 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down. When the syrup is warm rather than hot add the butter and chocolate pieces and stir until smooth and glossy.

12. When the éclair cases are cooled fill them with cream – you may ned to open the slit a little more to spoon in the cream with a teaspoon or you can fill an icing bag and pipe it in. Smear, drizzle and coat the éclairs with the chocolate sauce and leave to set.

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