Wow your dinner party guests with gorgeous, gooey éclairs made with homemade choux pastry
For the choux pastry:
- 60g (2oz) butter75g (2½oz) plain flour2 medium eggs
For the filling:
- 200g bar dark chocolate
- 284ml carton whipping cream
- Few drops of vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 100g bar dark chocolate
- 30g (1oz) butter
- Large piping bag, fitted with a 1.5cm (¾in) plain piping tube
- Large star piping tube
- Baking sheets, lined with baking parchment or non-stick liners
- Set the oven to Gas Mark 7 or 220°C.
- To make the choux pastry: Place butter in a saucepan and pour in 150ml (¼ pint) water. Place pan over a medium heat until the butter melts. Increase heat and bring mixture to the boil. Remove pan from heat, quickly tip in the flour and beat mixture until it binds together and comes away from the sides of the pan to form a ball. Leave the mixture to cool for at least 10 minutes, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Fill piping bag fitted with the plain piping tube, with the choux mixture. Pipe out lines of the mixture, about 7-8cm (2¾ – 3½in) long, on the lined baking sheets. Sprinkle some cold water over them, then bake in the centre of oven for 15-20 minutes, swapping the position of the trays if the ones on the top start to brown quicker than the lower ones.
- Remove the trays with the éclairs from the oven. Pierce each éclair with a skewer to allow the steam to escape, then return to the oven for a further 5-7 minutes or until they are crisp. Remove the trays from oven and transfer the éclairs to a wire rack. Leave them to cool completely.
- Cut one side of each éclair and scoop out any soft mixture in the centres using a teaspoon.
- To make the filling: Break the chocolate into pieces and place it in a bowl. Pour cream into a pan and bring to the boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate dissolves, and add vanilla extract to taste. Allow the mixture to cool, then chill until it?s thick.
- Whisk the chocolate filling until light and fluffy and holding its shape, then use to fill the piping bag, fitted with the star piping tube. Pipe some of the chocolate mixture into each éclair, then press the éclairs lightly to close them.
- To make the topping: Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt, either in a microwave, or over a pan of hot water. Dip the top of each éclairs into the mixture, taking care not to get any of the topping in the filling. This may be easier to do if you brush it on with a pastry brush. Leave the topping to set before serving.
Top tip: Wrap the unfilled choux fingers in a freezer bag, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months. Refresh them in a hot oven to crisp them up after defrosting, and then leave them to cool before filling. They are not suitable for freezing with the filling and topping.Feature: Sue McMahon. Photos: frankthephotographer.com. Props stylist: Sue Radcliffe.
Nutritional information per portion
This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.
Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.