Tuesday, 21 October 2014



October welcomes the season of all nuts. This sweet and nutty chestnut, soft to the bite is no exception to this rule.  

Available pureed, canned, dried, powdered and vacum packed it is also on shelves as a spread and even chestnut butter!! It is perfect to use in soups, sauces, desserts, salads and bread.

The French are well known to produce a Marron Glace` from this special nut to create their sweet trolleys. It pairs beautifully with dry Sherry when preparing a soup or an ice cream and compliments game meats such as goose and rabbit rather perfectly. 

The chestnut is found in a casing; called the burr. Smooth from the outside, it has a fuzzy furriness from the inside. The chestnut sits in this comfortable cover. When fresh it fits in well. As it grows older it becomes drier and shrivels up leaving this snug fit and  can start rattling within. Check the chestnut by giving it a good shake to ensure its freshness. 

To prepare it at home always make an indentation on each piece by snipping it or it will burst open; splattering all over. It can be boiled for a couple of minutes or cooked on the stove top roasting it to perfection. It can be cooked in the oven too. Removing the nut from within its shell can be time consuming. New Year, Christmas and Thanksgiving  gatherings traditionally serve roasted chestnuts to enjoy together as an after dinner treat.

Freshly picked Chestnuts available at the Local St Lawrence Market Toronto.

Edible seeds of the Chestnut tree, this nut is one of the oldest at over 3000 years old. Legend has it that it was first cultivated in what is present day Turkey and its surrounding areas of Mesopotamia and the regions of Asia Minor. It was then taken further West to Mediterranean Europe where the Greeks and Italians in particular used it to their advantage through storing it well. Very high in carbohydrates and starch as well has having natural sugars it is a healthy nutritious food.  It especially helped their armies survive during long wars and also assisted their population during food shortages. 
It is now grown in a variety of countries and has a distinct number of species; Also referred to by other names. "Chestnut" emerges from the Chesten Nut which also leads back to the French word Chataigne. Europe and Korea currently lead in producing these age old morsels of delight.

For an e-cookbook containing my delicious chestnut soup click
Niloufer's Kitchen: Winter

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Easy Malido


Traditionally served as part of the prayers for the family passed on, the Malido and Papdi was offered as part of the tray of food prayed upon. It was the Presiding priest and his wife and his family that made this often tedious but delicious Parsi sweet dish. Then there was the rich version of it, lots of pistachios and almonds added to it  and many more steps to get there.

Not generally eaten on birthdays and happy celebrations, the Malido is no longer a part of the younger generations must eat list. But as everything evolves, the Zarthostis in the West have decided to come up with an easy yet authentic tasting Malida for everyone tohave easy access too and carry on with their tradition. I got this recipe from an elderly aunt, who does not recall who actually shared this with her, but I have tweaked it ever so slightly and am now sharing it with you to enjoy. I think it is the best option available.

There is more good news on this, the Papdi, that completes the dish is difficult to make but freely available to buy. Interestingly on one of my travels to Spain, sitting at the breakfast buffet I noticed something very similar to the papdi. Their Aceite de Torta; it is PERFECT. Happily I bought back a few to share. A few months later our local supermarket has managed to import it and another bakery replicates it locally. I have been sharing this with others since the past 5 years and I do know you can find the same in the UK, New York and New Jersey, so lets hope it is possible to pick up a few in Texas, California and other places where everyone reading this resides!

Cheats Malido 

2 oz canola oil
2 oz butter
1 cup coarse semolina
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp rosewater
1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 ozs slivered almonds
1 oz slivered raisins
1 tbsp oil 

Step 1

In a pot heat oil and  butter over low heat. Do not boil.
Add to it the semolina. Cook for about  5 to 10 minutes until it gets golden brown. Stir constantly.
Add to this the Bisquick and continue cooking for another few minutes till all of it is mixed well.

Step 2

Aik Taar no seero
In another pan, large enough to hold all the malida, 
make a caramel syrup or Aik taar no seero. 
On  medium heat, melt completely until golden caramel brown in colour, 2 tbsps from the total sugar. Lower the heat and quickly pour cold water. Stir until it is all melted. DO  NOT let it boil at this point. Add the rest of the sugar and dissolve completely. The flame should be switched off or on a very low.  Once every grain of sugar is melted bring the mixture to a  boil and make it a one taar no seero.
Remove from the heat and add the sooji and bisquick mixture to it, stir it in till smooth and all the lumps are gone. 
Add  vanilla essence, rosewater, cardamom and nutmeg. 
Now return to a low stove and cook until the right consistency you enjoy allowing it to bubble for a couple of minutes.
Serve with fried slivered almonds and raisins.


Aik taar no seero (one thread syrup) is best described as a liquid caramel. To test dip a wooden spoon in the liquid mixture. Hold the spoon pointing downward. When the last bit of liquid drips off it should form one tear drop. Do it often once the caramel is boiling and as it thickens the drop will become clearer and more apparent. It is the perfect way to know when it is done. If two tear drops fall clearly it is thicker but is then called bey taar no seero (two thread syrup)!
The semolina should be as coarse as you can find it for a good texture. 
When you add the bisquick the mixture will rise fast and furious so ensure your pan is large enough and it does not spill over. It will then all settle down. This is because it has a rising agent soda bicarbonate in the Bisquick.
Use a whisk to mix and stir. This will work efficiently and quickly to keep the lumps away.
The rosewater is light and flowery, it is not the same as an essence. It is available in Indian, Persian and Middle Eastern Stores and in many of the International food aisles of supermarkets.
Malido is best served warm and can be kept refrigerated for a week.

For more recipes from Parsi Cuisine click
Niloufer's Kitchen:Quick and Easy

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Channa Dal/ Bengal Gram Lentil

Channa dal or dar

Lentils, Dar in Gujrati or Dal in Hindi and Urdu; it is also referred to as Kaathor in India. 
The Channa dar/dal  is also commonly called the Bengal gram. 

This particular lentil has a sweet and nutty flavour. Split off a whole gram, these can be harder than most and takes slightly longer to cook. It is highly nutritious and is often a protein substitute for vegetarians.
This particular recipe has meat in it but there is another without. I shall be posting that on my blog later with a link to this page for your convenience. 

2 cups gram lentil
1 tbsp oil
½ kg/1 lb pieces of bone –in meat; lamb/goat/mutton
1 1/2 tsp red chillie powder
1’ piece of ginger
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric
2 green chillies finely cut
6 leaves of fresh mint finely cut
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
2 cups crushed onions, already browned

1 tsp tamarind paste

Heat oil, add in the pieces of meat and braise for 5 minutes. Add all the spices and the washed lentils, fry 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, onions and mint.  Add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. The lentils and meat should be soft but still remain whole. Add 1 tsp of tamarind paste. Simmer for another 30 minutes. 

Use a fresh green mango or two, washed peeled and chopped instead of the tamarind paste. If you do not have access to either you can add the juice of 2 fresh lemons. 
Adding a handful of freshly chopped corriander leaves can also add to the flavour.
Serve with a wedge of lemon or lime, some finely sliced onion and tomato and perhaps a cucumber and beetroot to compliment this dish. 
Generally crisp bread is served on the side, but fresh warm chapatis are a good option.

For more Parsi recipes click 
Niloufer's Kitchen: Quick and Easy

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Croquembouche/ Profiteroles


A literal crunch in the mouth or the croque-en-bouche is a delicious dessert traditionally served as a wedding cake in France and Italy. It is made up of creatively piled profiteroles which make a cone like structure simply glued to each other by fresh hot caramel and decorated by spun caramel; thin golden threads and generally referred to as a Croquembouche. Elegant and simply delectable.

The French who take their food creations very seriously honour the patron saint of chefs, Saint Honore by creating the Gateau St Honore, another combination of  profiteroles served as a cake.

Try this as a centrepiece to your dining table. A definite show stopper!!

Choux Pastry 

In a pan heat on a low flame,
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup water
now add
1 cup flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix well, it should make a roux. Cook for a minute or two.
Cool for 5 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a food processor and with the machine running add 4 eggs one at a time allowing it to process and give a sheen to the mixture.
Pipe the eclairs with a piping bag on a greased baking tray or lay out a sheet of parchment paper instead.
Bake in a preheated oven of 375F/190C degrees for 20 minutes and then on 350/175C for another 20 minutes until well baked through.
Fill  each of them generously with creme patisserie or fresh whipped cream with a large nozzled icing bag from the bottom of the profiterole.
Will make 50 small profiteroles.

Creme Patisserie
2 cups cream
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sherry
In a pan mix the sugar flour salt and cream. Whisk to cook over a low flame. Bring to a boil for a minute or two.
In another bowl mix 2 egg yolks vanilla and sherry, mix it well. Now add 1 tbsp of the hot mixture to the egg and beat it well. This will temper the eggs so they don't curdle. Now through a sieve push the egg mix into the cream mix and keep mixing. Bring it back to the stove for a minute to allow the eggs to cook through. Keep stirring to keep it smooth. Put a piece of cling film over the custard so it does not form a skin over it.

Caramel :
In a pan, it must be a pan with a handle you can hold on to while swirling and later to paint the golden threads on.
Heat 1 cup sugar + 1 tsp water
Allow to melt. Swirl the pan once or twice. 
Remove from the heat at a golden colour.

Set the already browned caramel over a hot water bath to keep it soft. While it is soft touch each profiterole on the bottom of it to the caramel and assemble the tower. This will act like your glue. Once that is done, hold the pan close to the tower of profiteroles and with a fork or a food brush swirl the caramel over. Using artists stroke it will magically leave a trail of thin golden threads which will harden instantly.
Alternately take a parchment paper and go round in circles over it to make a wreath like caramel spun structure that can be placed over.


Use a hand held balloon whisk to mix the roux. It is most efficient and leaves a smooth dough.

If you don't have an icing bag use a large ziploc bag, fill in the choux pastry mix, twist to make a cone, and snip of the edge of the bag! No washing and no cleaning. Although it is easier to make pipe out and fill larger profiteroles, the smaller ones are easier to handle to assemble the actual croquembouche.

The cream Patisserie is available ready to fill in delis across the UK and Europe. Just add a dash of sherry or rum if you prefer.

To spin the caramel into threads, place the prepared caramel on a hot water bath to keep it liquid. With a fork spin the threads on to a butter paper/parchment paper in a form of a large "ring" and place on the tower of your profiteroles. Work very quickly as caramel hardens within minutes and burns within seconds! Be careful not to scald yourself as it is extremely hot and can burn you easily.
For the caramel, remove from heat once it turns a light amber colour if assembling the croquembouche to use as your glue.  Alternately assemble the custard filled profiteroles and pour the hot caramel all over!! 

For more recipes from my French Collection click
Niloufer's Kitchen: French Bistro

Zainab Mahmood-Ahmad Croquembouche!? Outstanding!

Sunday, 5 October 2014



My very favourite nut.....

The pistachio as it grows fresh
The Pistachio in the shell, peeled and chopped

Deliciously sweet, nutritious and by far the prettiest of nuts, the Pista is one of the oldest nut grown. It has been mentioned in the bible, and is very much part of the Ancient Persian civilization extending from modern day Iran, Central Asia and on to the borders of Greece and Cyprus. Currently there are many varieties of Pistachios the most popular one being the Kerman- an Irani name, no doubt.
This is a nut belonging to the Cashew family and is the plant of the pistacia vera. Pistachios grow on small trees and in cluster bunches of many. It takes a good 8 to 10 years for them to give enough fruit to distribute. It needs a long hot summer to bare the fruit in abundance, yet can withstand the cold of up to -10 degrees rather easily. Areas of Baluchistan in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran thus produce the worlds best pistachios, as do Turkey and Syria. They all have the ideal weather conditions for this beautiful fruit. Areas of California in USA and some parts of China  have now been cultivating the Pistachio nut in abundance. Slightly different in taste, it is the soil that reaps the flavours. 

Pistachios are sold in many types, salted, roasted and even coloured. The fruit that is sweet, crisp and full of flavour definitely do not need any touching up or seasoning.

The Parsi and Persian cuisine continue to use pistachios in their dishes with gusto. In the last decade recipes published in many UK based magazines tend to use the rediscovered nut!
Full of minerals and vitamins,  the pistachio has high amounts of copper and iron as well as some manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and selenium all necessary for our continued good health.
Very High in Vitamin E it is good for glowing and healthy skin! Also giving us the Vitamin B which gives high energy levels. B complex groups of riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 are all present in the pistachio nut; an added advantage for pregnant women and those in need of high energy levels.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Crepes & Coconut/ Kopra Na Pancake

Kopra Na Pancake

After having tasted many types of cuisines from around the world, I find myself partial to the bold flavours and textures of Parsi food. And even though it often offers more in taste than in visual appeal, there are the few dishes that are both a feast for the eyes and palate.  Another old time Parsi cuisine favourite, which has been lost in the enormous mele of all things food, is the Khaman na pancake. Delicate in flavour, it is a guaranteed teatime favourite. The Kopra (coconut) filling of the crepe, also referred to as Khaman pronounced Khu- mun is made up of fresh coconut, sweetened with sugar, flavoured with rose water and mixed in with raisins, pistachios and almonds. It has both the origins of being Persian yet has a definite touch of India – reflecting  well on our culture and heritage.

The Coconut Pancakes, ready to eat

The Khaman

The Coconut Filling
In a pan  heat
2 scraped coconuts; 2 cups or more
1 tsp salted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup rose water
1/2 cup of  dry fruit and nuts, raisins, peeled chopped pistachios and almonds 
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup coconut water
pinch of salt

Mix and cook all together, till well blended and softened.
Divide in 10 parts and fill and roll the ten pancakes.
Click for the recipe http://www.nilouferskitchen.com/2014/05/basic-crepes.html

Use freshly scraped yet frozen packets of coconut available in stores.
Rose water must not be an essence but the actual water made from the roses.
If you cannot get fresh coconut water alternate with just water.
This can be made up to 7 days in advance and kept refrigerated.

For more recipes from  My Parsi Cuisine click
Niloufer's Kitchen: Quick and Easy http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HBSBLI4

Monday, 15 September 2014



Simple tea biscuits which have a long history and a wonderful legendary story.
The Dutch had left the shores of the West Port City of Surat, India in the 1700's where a flourishing bakery was handed over to Faramji Dotivala. This baker continued to produce the breads for the local British community left behind. Once the Brits too lessened in numbers, the bread's popularity diminished and the wasted bread was soon distributed to the local poor. Having the advantage of being fermented with an ingredient called Toddy, there was little chance of the bread ever catching fungus, prolonging the life of this staple yet making it harder to eat. One thing led to another and the local doctors suggested that this stale bread be given as a convalescent food to patients as it was easy to digest and filled their stomachs. Dotivala started producing smaller specially dried bread buns, and ' batasas' were soon produced using the same toddy, flour and water! They were round balls of dough made to be eaten with a cup of sweet tea. They were hard enough to be dunked into the tea and not fall apart.
Years later, the Batasa was changed to a richer version with an addition of butter and or ghee/clarified butter. With alcohol prohibition taking place, Toddy was replaced with yeast or even completely omitted in the recipe.
Besides the cities of Surat, Navsari and Pune where Batasas are rivalled to be called their own, it was and still is a staple sold in Irani Tea Houses in Mumbai and until recently in Karachi. Sadly it is all dwindling down in numbers as many of the owners and bakers have moved to other pastures. Let's hope we can soon walk through the doors of the first wonderful Chai House in North America!

Current day situation:
Made from few ingredients, some like their batasas crisp while others like them flaky. There is also an amazing cheese batasa now popular amongst Canadians. The option to add cumin or caraway seeds; toasted slivered almonds still remains the same. Happily the shape continues to be mainly round like the original buns!


4 cups sifted flour
1 tbsp semolina
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

1 cup soft  butter 8 ozs/ 226gms

8 tbsp cold water
 In a bowl mix the dry ingredients
Add the softened butter in little pieces. With the tip of your fingers crumble the mixture till it resembles little beads. You can alternately use two butter knives or place all of it in a food processor using the pulse button. Add the cold water 1 tbsp at a time until it all comes together.
Do not over knead.
Roll out into a long even sausage on a lightly dusted floured surface. 
Cut this into 48-60 pieces.
Roll each one very lightly into a ball. Place this on a baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 325F/165C. Cook for 30 minutes. Lower the temperature to  275F/135C and cook for 30 minutes. Now lower the oven temperature to 225F/105C and cook until it cooks and dries from the inside which will be another hour plus. 
Leave to cool and store in an airtight box. 

If you have a food processor it will take less than 5 minutes to put this together. Overturn cut into 2 or 4 equal pieces and work with one at a time. It is more even and quicker.
Keep the baking trays ready with grease proof paper or grease the tray lightly with butter. You will need two large cookie sheets to fit all of them.  
The trick is to dry the batasas from the inside and so the heat variation is very important. 
Batasas should have a light pinky colour and not be white.
Try to keep them all even. 
Optionally add either 
2 ozs toasted slivered peeled almonds
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp caraway or cumin seeds
I like mine plain and simple.
Yeast gives them a definitive aroma and taste which I am not too fond off and so do not use it in my batasa. 

For more Parsi recipes click
Niloufer's Kitchen:Quick & Easy

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Rewa or Semolina Pudding


A nutritious pudding, the Parsis tend to prepare this for their Navroze/New Year, birthdays, jashans, weddings and anniversaries and all happy occasions. It is commonly prepared for babies in the family as part of their daily diet. Referred to as Sagun-nu or something that is auspicious.

4 oz salted butter
4 oz semolina
5 oz sugar
3 eggs
2 cups+ milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
1 flat tsp ground cardamom powder
2 oz slivered almonds
1 oz raisins
1 tbsp oil 

In a pan melt  butter on a low heat.
Add the semolina and fry it till all the aromas emerge and the it bubbles and cooks, stirring it constantly, about 5 minutes.
Add to this the sugar. Mix  well, take the pan off the heat.
In a bowl beat eggs, add a little milk to this and strain it through into the pan, mixing it all the time so that it all does not curdle. Return to low heat and add about 2 cups of milk. Keep mixing till the mixture thickens and coats the back of your spoon. 
Now add vanilla essence, ground fresh cardamom powder. 
To serve roast or pan fry lightly the slivered almonds and raisins and sprinkle all over the top. 

Freshly ground nutmeg can be added too.
The texture of the rewa will depend on the semolina, the finer it is the less textured it will be. 
Taste for vanilla essence
Frying the almonds and raisins is a quick option, but leave it on a paper towel to drain before sprinkling.  To fry, gently heat the oil, add the almonds and after a minute add the raisins for less than a minute. Keep a plate ready to overturn immediately. It will burn rather quickly!
Add more milk to soften as and when needed. It will harden as it cools.
Keep the eggs at room temperature and the milk tepid warm to help you along.
Use a whisk to stir as it prevents the lumps

For more recipes click on link

Niloufer's Kitchen: Quick and Easy

Niloufer's Kitchen: A Sweet Trio

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Meat Biryani; Lamb/Mutton/Goat

Lamb Biryani

Biryani: a word that has lately become popular here in the West. It seems to be generalized referring to anything that has rice and meat/fish chicken vegetables all cooked together! 

While in all honesty there are many different varieties and specifics to an authentic biryani. The spices and the protein like the meat, chicken, prawn or fish  should be marinated and cooked separately while the rice is boiled with its own spices in a different pot. The two combined through steaming create the one fantastic dish. 

Growing up I remember visiting the large open Kitchens of a famous Bohri caterer where the Biryani was being cooked in a hue deep pot, sealed on top with dough to avoid any steam from escaping. The rice was par-cooked before adding it to the pot of meat. This would finish off cooking with the intense steam created within. The end result  being a moist and delicious dish. I can still recall how each grain of rice would fall perfectly as the aromas were simply divine. The trick was the shameless addition of generous amounts of ghee or clarified butter to be able to achieve that feat.

Globally, regionally, country specific and even race and area specific people have created their versions of a Biryani to suit their personal taste. Some have saffron added, while others orange and yellow food colouring. While flavours vary from cardamom to the kewra/kewda;an extract from the Pandanus flower typical of North India and Pakistan. 

To myself a biryani must have yogurt, saffron and cardamom for the perfect flavour besides of course the umpteen other spices. The lamb must be accompanied by wonderful fried or roasted potatoes and the lamb/mutton/goat must be with bone for best results.

I can only recommend that it is the Bohri community that probably makes the worlds best Biryani. One can only try to compete with that!!

Meat Biryani with potatoes and  topped with soft boiled eggs

1 tbsp oil
3/4 kg or 1 1/2 lbs pieces; choice of lamb/mutton/goat meat, bone in
1 finely chopped  raw large onion
2 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 finely chopped green chillies
2 tsp garlic puree
1 tsp ginger puree
1 tsp salt

2 large finely chopped tomatoes
1 cup water

2 large onions, fried to a golden brown and crushed

1 cup yogurt, slightly beaten with a spoon and seasoned with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar plus
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crumbled

1/2 cup ghee or oil
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces 

Bay leaf
6 cloves
6 peppercorns
1 tsp whole cumin
6 cardamom pods, pounded
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole pod of garlic, peeled and sliced or hand chopped

3 cups rice, boiled with salt and 1 tsp oil and drained off all water

Step 1
Heat 1 tbsp of oil and saute the meat and then all the spices. Do this on a medium flame and keep stirring from time to time. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of water, cover and cook for 45 minutes to an hour till the meat is soft and tender. The cooked meat mixture should be fairly dry.
Let it cool down.

Step 2
Add the crushed fried onions, yogurt and saffron mixture. Mix and keep aside at room temperature.

Step 3
Heat the 1/2 cup oil
Fry the potatoes until cooked, they must be crisp from the outside and soft from the inside. Sprinkle them with salt.
Add the whole spices for just a minute to the potatoes. Swirl and overturn all of it including the oil into the meat mixture.

Step 4
Wash and boil the rice with salt and oil. Throw away all the water and immediately tip the rice on to a flat thal/tray/ foil. This will ensure that every grain keeps separated.
Let it cool just a bit.

Step 5
Assemble the Biryani.
Alternate with mixture of meat and potatoes and layer it with rice, starting with the meat and topping up with the rice. Sprinkle the top with a pinch of crushed saffron to give it a gorgeous hue of golden yellow.

Cover tightly with a thick layer of foil and a lid, or with a tea-towel and a tight lid.
Steam over hot simmering water for 1 hour.
Serve hot.

I like to salt the meat mixture, the yogurt mix, the potatoes and rice individually to ensure it is not salty  and not bland.
Try to keep the pieces of meat and potato equal. 
To cook the potatoes correctly, it is best to ensure they are wiped dry, the oil is hot in a shallow skillet and they crisp up on a medium high flame. Once that is done, cover the skillet  and lower the flame to a gentle simmer. Allow them to cook for 20 minutes. This will steam and cook them from the inside. Now raise the heat and add the dry spice for a minute. Swirl and overturn into the meat.
Add or subtract more chilli according to your taste. This will be medium spicy hot.
Optional choice of serving is to layer it in the dish you wish to serve it in. Sadly you cannot display it as above but it still tastes just as good! 
Golden fried onion and eggs top this beautifully.
This biryani does not necessarily need a raita or dal as it should be moist enough.

For more amazing and fun recipes to try click on
 Niloufer's Kitchen : Moroccan Cuisine

Wednesday, 3 September 2014



As a noun it is Lightning or then literally translated means in a flash of lightning. Flamboyance too defines the French word E`clair. Could we possibly have had a more appropriate name for these delicious morsels of exquisite pastry which can vanish in seconds; like lightning no doubt! 

The choux pastry is made easily and then piped in finger length for eclairs and in round balls for profiteroles.

Traditionally Creme Patissiere; a custard with or without sherry is filled in both, but alternately fresh cream or even ice cream is used. Chocolate or coffee glazes these eclairs  while caramel generally top up the profiteroles.

Chocolate eclairs and coffee eclairs filled with creme patisserie
Choux Pastry 

In a pan heat on a low flame,
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup water
now add
1 cup flour and mix well, it should make a roux. Cook for a minute or two.
Cool for 5 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a food processor and with the machine running add 4 eggs one at a time allowing it to process and give a sheen to the mixture.
Pipe the eclairs with a piping bag on a greased baking tray or lay out a sheet of parchment paper instead.
Bake in a preheated oven of 375F/190C degrees for 20 minutes and then on 350/175C for another 20 minutes until well baked through.
Slit and fill with creme patisserie or fresh whipped cream.
Will make 18 to 24 eclairs depending on the size you pipe out.

Creme Patisserie
2 cups cream
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sherry
In a pan mix the sugar flour salt and cream. Whisk to cook over a low flame. Bring to a boil for a minute or two.
In another bowl mix 2 egg yolks vanilla and sherry, mix it well. Now add 1 tbsp of the hot mixture to the egg and beat it well. This will temper the eggs so they don't curdle. Now through a sieve push the egg mix into the cream mix and keep mixing. Bring it back to the stove for a minute to allow the eggs to cook through. Keep stirring to keep it smooth. Put a piece of cling film over the custard so it does not form a skin over it.

Chocolate Topping:
Heat 1/2 cup cream lightly, add 100gms/4ozs dark chocolate pieces with 1 tbsp corn syrup,. Cover, turn stove off and leave for 10 minutes. It will now be melted, mix gently until just combined. You can even swirl the pan and not use any spoon to mix! Cool till its perfect thickness.
Hold each prepared eclair between two fore fingers and dip the top part of the pastry into the thick melted chocolate. Turn it right side up immediately and allow to dry. It will harden and stick automatically.

Coffee topping:
In a bowl mix with a spoon
100gms butter
100gms icing sugar
2 tsp coffee granules melted in 2 tbsp  hot water

If you don't have an icing bag use a large ziploc bag, fill in the choux pastry mix, twist to make a cone, and snip of the edge of the bag! No washing and no cleaning.

If you cannot find corn syrup, substitute 2 tsp of sugar. Heat the sugar and cream first before adding the chocolate.
Use 55% to 70% dark chocolate. Any less is not dark enough, any more can leave a bitter after taste.
The cream Patisserie is available ready to fill in delis across the UK and Europe. Just add a dash of sherry or rum if you prefer.
Whipped cream with pieces of fresh strawberries or other berries tastes superb. 

For more delicious recipes click the link below.
Niloufer's Kitchen: French Bistro
Niloufer's Kitchen: Soups