Time for some Christmas eclairs by Susan
I started making these as I didn’t like supermarket eclairs filled with cream and preferred the custard in these. While I haven’t made these for Bloomsbury, they are definitely something I use for tea parties to try to impress people. The custard can be made the previous day and left to cool.
3½oz/100g unsalted butter
4 eggs +1 yolk
Melt the butter in 8.5 fluid oz/250ml water on the hob, and heat until it comes to the boil
Take off the heat and tip in all of the flour at once, mix in with a wooden spoon and once incorporated, return to the heat.
Continue to heat on the hob to dry out the mixture, until the mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides.
Tip into a bowl to cool, and once it has cooled, mix in the eggs one at a time. A small bit of pastry on the end of a spoon should curl over with gravity, but not fall off the spoon.
Put into a piping bag and pipe into 12-16 strips, depending on desired size. Brush with egg yolk mixed with a small amount of water.
Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 20-25 minutes, and then leave in for another 10 minutes at 150C to dry out. Do not open the oven during this time, or they may collapse.
Crème Patissiere (custard)
I find that these quantities make more custard than is necessary, so you could probably scale down to just 2 or 3 eggs, however in my family there is always someone to eat
the leftover custard.
34 fluid oz/1l milk (whole is best)
7oz/200g sugar (or less if you prefer custard less sweet)
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
Scrape the vanilla pod seeds out as much as possible, but retain the whole pod.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the flour and whisk well, then add ½ glass of the milk to make the mixture smoother.
Heat the milk. When it is warm (about 3-4 minutes) add the egg/sugar/flour mixture, along with the vanilla seeds and the pod.
Whisk on the heat just until the mixture boils, then pour into a large glass tray to cool down, covering it with cling film so a skin does not form.
Chocolate Ganache and Assembly
5¼oz/150g dark chocolate
5 fluid oz/150ml double cream
Before making the ganache, fill the eclairs with the custard. Make two holes in the top of each éclair, one at either end. Put the custard into a piping bag with a long nozzle, and pipe into the eclairs.
Melt the chocolate with the cream to form a ganache.
Dip each éclair into the ganache to cover its top, making sure the holes are covered.
Leave the ganache to set.