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. (Elegantly named the pain`a la duchesse or petit duchesse until the 1860's).  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 prepared by my friend Eric

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

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