The cat, Truffle, was most intrigued by the eclairs! I think he approved. You can also drizzle some chocolate on top or melt some and then dunk the eclairs in/drizzle as you go if you are feeling like some real indulgence.
- 360g water
- 140g Butter, cubed
- 1.5 teaspoons of sugar
- Half a teaspoon of sugar
- 270g bread flour
- 9 eggs; of which 6 are the whole egg and 3 are just the egg whites
Grab a large saucepan and, off the heat, add in the water, butter, sugar and salt. Put on a low heat and stir until the butter has melted. Then ramp up the heat and bring to the boil (put a lid on it). We want to try and avoid losing all the water.
Now add the flour in one swoop. Stir like crazy with a wooden spoon whilst it is on a lower heat for a couple of minutes and then take it off and bung it in a mixing bowl. Stir with a whisk/wooden spoon so that some of the steam comes out.
Put to one side.
Now whisk the 6 eggs and 3 egg whites together (keep the remaining egg yolks) until they are bubbly.
Gradually add the egg mix (not too fast) and whisk it all until it is smooth. Mine went a bit lumpy but be persistent - use a wooden spoon if you want.
Line a baking tin with baking paper - cheeky top tip from Mark is to stick down the four corners with a little bit of the pastry dough. Now spoon the mix into a pastry bag with a nozzle on it (tried doing it with a plastic sandwich bag - was a disaster!) and then make 5 inch slugs on the paper. Make sure they are not too close together. Paint the top lightly with some of the egg yolk you put to one side earlier. This makes them go golden brown when you cook them.
The oven needs to be at 250 degrees. Put the baking tins in and immediately turn the oven off. Leave it off with everything in it for 5 mins (by this time the oven should be about 200) then turn it on again at 200. Cook for a further 30 mins. They should be a gorgeous golden brown and should sound hollow when you tap them.
Ingredients for the pastry cream
- 300ml milk
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 50g corn flour
- 8-10 strawberries
- Handful of blueberries plus few more for decoration
Put the milk and sugar in a saucepan. Do not heat yet.
Break two egg yolks and one egg into a large bowl. Add in the corn flour and then whisk together (you can use a fork). Now heat the milk and sugar until all the sugar has dissolved and the milk is steaming (not boiling).
Then pour half the milk over the whisked egg and flour. Whisk the new mix up until it's bubbly. This does not take too long.
Pour the egg mix back into the saucepan and ramp up the heat. Stir constantly. Pretty quickly the mix goes thick. If it starts to go lumpy then take it off the heat and stir. It should smoothen out. Put it back on the heat. At this point it should be pretty thick; keep it on a medium/high heat (it will be doing thick bubbles - quite Macbeth-esque). Do this for two minutes. Actually time it. Then as soon as the time is up, transfer the mix into a large mixing bowl - I reckon you do this because otherwise it'll continue to cook in the hot bowl. Let it cool but stir every now and again to ensure it doesn't get a skin on top. This is your custard filling.
Now cut in 8-10 large strawberries and a handful of blueberries if you have them and whisk. It should go a lovely pink and smell delish. Taste it!
Leave to cool for abut 15 mins.
Whisk up 275ml double cream until it is just beginning to thicken then fold that into the custard mix.
Now I know you are supposed to pipe in the mix by cutting holes in the pastry but I had no way of piping so instead I made kind of eclair hot-dogs! Just cut them open with a serrated knife and spoon plenty of cream into the middle! Glorious.
You just made eclairs! Thank you Mark.