remember the no-microwave, one-bowl curd I made a while back? well – I made these then. and I haven’t gotten down to sharing these with you because.. it got lost in my mountainous stack of drafts.
which is terrible. because these are lovely and adorably miniature and just about one of the most impressive things (well, it impressed me) I’ve made in a while. and they are tasty to boot. make them this weekend!
it’s a slightly more involved project than the butter cakes I’ve been sharing with you – but it’s well worth it. and there’s really nothing better than a non-hectic morning fiddling by your stove on the weekend for true relaxation – not for me, anyway.
I haven’t seen this combination anywhere – and it was the result of a rather specific craving. I wanted eclairs, but not just the usual coffee or chocolate ones with custard – I wanted the custard to have some personality, and I wanted a tangy component in there to cut the cloyingness (so I could stuff myself silly).
so I squiggled short tubes of pate a choux on a baking sheet,
and baked them up golden (warning: some specimens might be more suggestive than you’d expect. not suitable for children.).
then you stuff the eclairs silly with creme patisserie and curd,
before dipping into shiny chocolate for that perfect bite.
this post clearly is more proof-of-concept than set-in-stone, of course. run wild with the recipe: use caramelized white chocolate instead of plain white! use a red fruit jam instead of curd! kick the ponciness and use plain custard instead of that flashy creme patisserie! cut the baked choux in half and stuff it with ice-cream!
just remember that a shiny coat of chocolate can save many sins (even eclairs masquerading as slightly phallic symbols).
chocolate-glazed eclairs with white chocolate pastry cream and lime curd
pate a choux (for the eclairs):
scant pinch of salt
1 recipe white chocolate pastry cream, below
citrus curd (recipe here)
dark chocolate, for glaze (about 50-100g)
- make your curd, if using. it keeps for quite a few days – and it’s always nice to have your components on hand.
- likewise, you can make your pastry cream now – it needs to chill for at least a couple of hours.
- now, start your pate a choux. preheat your oven to 250C, and butter two trays.
- boil the milk, butter and salt over low, then dump the flour completely into the pan. return the pan to heat, mix until the dough comes together and dries sufficiently so you get a thin crust of starch on the bottom of you pan. cool for 2-3 minutes (so that your eggs don’t cook when they are added).
- when slightly cooled, add your eggs serarately, mixing after each so the dough loosen and is relatively smooth.
- I like to pipe choux pastry for eclairs: place all the dough into a plastic bag, snip off the corner, and slide about 2.5x7cm long eclair portions onto the pan. they don’t rise or expand very much, so you can place them about an inch apart.
- use a slightly damp finger to smooth any bumps on your eclair lengths, and bake for 10 minutes. reduce the temperature to 190C, and bake until golden brown and cooked (it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom), about 5-10 minutes more. try not to open the oven door before it is cooked.
- when cooked, remove from the oven and leave them on the pan. use a thin skewer and poke a hole at one end (I like to use skinny metal chopsticks, and stick it all the way in and twist it around to break the pastry walls in the middle), and let cool on the baking sheet.
- after the eclair pieces have cooled, pipe in a small dollop of curd (too much and it might be a little too sour for some people
like my dad) through the small hole on the side. follow with your pastry cream, and pipe until the eclair is full – but not bursting.
- when all your eclairs are filled, prepare your chocolate glaze. I like to melt about half a bar of bittersweet chocolate with a knob of butter (sorry for the non-specifics, but even plain chocolate will do!) and then quickly dip the eclair tops in the chocolate. place in the fridge to set.
white chocolate pastry cream
1.5 tbsp corn starch
60g white chocolate (if you’ll eat, you can use it)
40g unsalted butter
- beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of sugar until pale and fluffy. sift in the cornstarch, and mix until blended.
- boil your milk with the remaining sugar in a small pan, and pour this hot liquid slowly into your egg mixture while furiously whisking (pouring too fast, or not whisking, will lead to curdling – and creme patisserie should be smooth and silky).
- now pour the quite-liquid mixture back into the pan, and cook on medium-low until thickened. it happens a lot quicker than you’d expect (no more than 1-2 minutes), so keep stirring – make sure that no mixture sticks to and burns on the bottom of your pan.
- when it feels ready, remove from heat and add the white chocolate chunks and butter to the pan, stirring till smooth. leave this in the fridge to cool until you need it (do this at least two to three hours ahead).