The classic French chocolate éclair has been around for over 200 years and is loved the world over for its crisp, light as air pastry shell which is filled with crème pâtissière or whipped cream and topped with chocolate fondant icing. So why did I feel the need to mess with this classic recipe? Because I’m a food blogger and I wanted something a bit different for this month’s Classic French challenge which is of course éclairs.
The actual éclair was a success – lovely and crisp and hollow when opened up so don’t be put off from using the following recipe. Where I went wrong was with the cream filling. Instead of using plain, whipped cream I tried to add some strawberry coulis to the cream and of course it wouldn’t whip to the correct consistency. I eventually whipped up another batch of cream and swirled some strawberry coulis through it but there wasn’t really enough of the strawberry flavour for me.
My next experiment was with the chocolate topping. I had a small piece of this strawberry chocolate transfer left over from this previous bake and thought I could use it to pretty up my éclairs . I tempered my chocolate and covered the transfer sheet with a thin layer of melted chocolate and placed it in the fridge to set. I then cut into rectangles about the size needed for each éclair. The trick then was to get the chocolate to soften enough so that it moulded over the éclair but not so much that the strawberry design completely melted. I did this by placing the éclairs back in my still warm oven for a couple of minutes. The result was not a complete success – more of a splodge of chocolate with some dodgy looking strawberries on it. I did however, enjoy the lovely crisp texture of the chocolate that you get from the tempering process.
I think I might stick to the classic version in future but would definitely add the crispy chocolate topping again (minus the chocolate transfer).
- 60g butter
- 125ml water
- 75g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 200ml whipped cream sweetened with icing sugar
- 250g strawberries, washed and chopped
- 75g milk chocolate, melted
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
- Heat the butter and water in a saucepan until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.
- Add the flour and baking powder and stir well with a wooden spoon until the mixtures comes together in a ball and leaves the side of the pan completely clean.
- Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down slightly.
- Once cool, add the eggs, 1 egg at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon until the dough is smooth and satiny.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and pipe the dough onto the tray in 10 cm long oblong shapes or to make profiteroles - drop spoonful's of the dough onto the baking tray.
- Use your finger, moistened with some water to smooth off any points.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and cut a small slit into each shape to remove any air.
- Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Fill with sweetened, whipped cream and strawberries
- Top with chocolate ganache or melted chocolate.