Eclairs are a form of Choux pastry. This pastry rises because of the escaping moisture and leaves the it hollow for us to fill with delicious creams and conserves. Choux pastry needs to be cooked on a stove. It is different to prepare, but is very easy to make. Thankfully, for you people.
A brief history lesson, to begin with. The first dough was made in 1540 by the French and it has been modified ever since. The general puffs resembled cabbage and hence were named Choux which means cabbage in french.
The Choux Pastry:
- 1/2 cup flour or maida
- 1/2 tsp confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 cup or 60 grams chopped butter
- 2 eggs , lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup water
The cream filling:
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream ( if you don't have whipping cream use a very thick custard made from custard powder with less water than the prescribed amount. Do not use the ingredients given below then. Just make it according to packet instructions but with less water and cook it for a longer period. )
- 1 1/2 tbsp confectioner's sugar.
The chocolate ganache topping :
- 1/2 dark or milk baking chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup fresh cream or heavy cream
In a bowl mix together the flour and sugar. For the Choux pastry , bring the butter and water to a boil in a heavy based saucepan , a pressure cooker without the lid would be ideal . Make sure the butter melts before boiling, so add that first and then the water. As soon as it boils, Remove from heat and add all the flour mixture at once and mix. Put the pan back onto the heat and continuously mix until the edges come off the sides of the pan and the mixture forms a smooth ball. This will happen in the course of 1-2 minutes.
Take off the heat and keep stirring/folding till the heat subsides , leave for five minutes. In a bowl lightly beat two eggs and add half of the mix to the pastry mixture and mix until the pastry thickens. The mixture will curdle at first but that is normal keep mixing and it will become thicker and smoother. Slowly add a portion of the egg mixture that is left , not the whole thing and mix again until it has reached the consistency of a pipe able icing .
Take a ziplock bag and fill it with the icing and cut the tip off that is an inch wide. Pipe out the eclairs onto a greased baking tray. The first time I made this , my ziplock bag tore from the pressure of piping, so i just rolled out the eclairs into cocktail sausage sized pieces by hand. But try the ziplock way first.
Bake for 15 Mins at 200 degrees C and then turn down the temp to 180 degrees C and bake for 30 mins. Leave them to cool in the oven with the door slightly open. Pierce each pastry at two ends with a chopstick or pencil end.
For the filling, whip the cream with the sugar and pipe into each hole of the pastry. Ideally the cream , once piped into one hole should come out at the other end but that is in an ideal situation, if that happens, good for you. If you don't have a plain tip nozzle then slice pastry in half horizontally, add the filling and put back the top. Trust me, that is just as good.
For the ganache, boil the cream in a microwave and add the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for two minutes and stir until the chocolate is fully incorporated with the cream. Put this in the freezer for not more than five minutes and take it out. You will notice that the mixture has become thicker. We're ready.
Spoon onto your eclairs and eat.
- Anmol Narain.
Besides cooking, Anmol also sleeps at times.