I found some wonderful treasures in my grandparents’ kitchen recently. My Grandma passed away a long time ago now, but Grandpa kept most of the things she used. One of the more surprising treasures was what I’m calling an ‘éclair tin’. I’ve no idea if making éclairs was its original purpose. It would also be good to make sponge biscuits for example. But for me, it was an éclair tin. It has indeed proved to be perfect for baking eclairs, keeping them in perfect shape while they rise.
My Grandma was in no way an excessive woman. I do remember making biscuits with her, but never anything fancy. However, I remember her making choux pastry. I think it was to make profiteroles for their fiftieth wedding anniversary. When Grandpa died recently, I asked if I might have the éclair tin, and some other ‘treasures’ from the kitchen. For as long as I can remember, they’ve grown raspberries in the front garden. I decided a fitting tribute would be chocolate éclairs filled with raspberry cream. So here they are.
You don’t need an éclair tin for this recipe. It’s perfectly fine to use a biscuit tray lined with baking paper. I am however, very happy with the shape of the éclairs from Grandma’s éclair tin. Choux pastry recipes often melt the butter with water, but I once saw a Frenchman use milk instead. I thought this would give a richer pastry and I’m very happy with the results it gives here.
Makes 12 (approximately)
|300||millilitres||cream for whipping|
|1/4||cup||frozen raspberries, defrosted|
|50||grams||fair trade chocolate|
To make the choux pastry, chop the butter into small pieces and place it in a saucepan with the milk, sugar and salt. Heat until the butter melts. You do not want the milk to boil though, because it would evaporate and skew the ratios of wet to dry ingredients.
When the butter is just melted remove the pan from the heat and tip in the flour. Stir to combine. Don’t worry that it’s lumpy, it’s supposed to be.
Return the pan to the heat and stir the lumpy paste, cooking gently. You want to cook the paste till it begins to look like a dough. It will stiffen and come together in glossy ball. Turn off the heat and allow the dough to cool.
Preheat the oven to 190oC.
Break one egg into the dough and mix till fully incorporated. Do not worry that the mixture looks curdled to begin with, it will incorporate fully. Add the second egg yolk first because you may not need the whole egg. The idea is that you end up with a thick batter that will hang on your spoon before falling back into the dish. For example, I added the yolk and half the white of the second egg.
Transfer the batter to a piping bag. Line a baking tray with baking paper and pipe the batter into lines about three centimetres wide and 10-15 centimetres long. Place a little water in a baking tray on the bottom rack of your oven and the éclairs on the top rack. Bake at 190oC for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 170oC for another 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the pastry to cool.
Whip the cream to soft peaks. Sift over the icing sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Mash up the raspberries and fold through the cream. Transfer the raspberry cream to a piping bag fitted with a star shape nozzle.
Melt the chocolate and cream together in a double boiler over lightly steaming water.
To assemble to éclairs, slice them in half lengthways using a sharp, serrated knife. Using a zig zag motion, pipe the bottom of each éclair with a generous quantity of raspberry cream, ensuring you take the filling right to the edges of the pastry. Replace the top of the éclair. Brush the top of the éclair with the chocolate mixture and refrigerate for 15 minutes to set.
Bon a petit!