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Eclairs with crème patisserie

You really haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the joys of a homemade éclair, oozing with the richness of crème patissiere and topped with white chocolate.

How long will it take?

1 hour 30 minutes

What’s the serving size?

Makes 20


What do I need?

For the Eclairs

  • ½ cup full-fat milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Crème Patissiere

  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 ½ tbsp. cornflour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste/vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 75g white chocolate, melted for decoration

How do I make it?

For the Eclairs

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Fit a pastry bag with plain ½ centimetre tip nozzle and drape the bag over a large glass.
  3. Preheat oven to 220C.
  4. Whisk the eggs together.
  5. In a heavy bottom saucepan combine, milk, water, butter, sugar & salt. Bring to a boil.
  6. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add the flour all at once, reduce heat to medium and start mixing the dough with a wooden spoon vigorously. Continue doing so for another 2-3 minutes to evaporate some of the moisture.
  7. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and start stirring the dough on medium speed for 1-2 minutes to cool it down slightly.
  8. Add the eggs to the mixture in 4-5 additions, each time allowing the mixer to incorporate the eggs fully before adding more. The dough might separate at first, but it will come back together as you continue stirring and adding more eggs. The mixture should be thick but still fall off the paddle attachment in a thick ribbon.
  9. Transfer the warm dough to the piping bag and pipe out 7 centimetre logs, about 5 centimetres apart. Place the first baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190C and continue baking until golden in colour, about 25 minutes. DO NOT open the door before the éclairs are golden, they will deflate.
  10. Keep the other sheet with piped logs in the freezer or refrigerator until the first sheet is out of the oven.
  11. Allow the éclairs to cool.

For the Crème Patissiere

  1. If using vanilla bean pods, split the bean and scrape the vanilla seeds out of the beans.
  2. Add the bean and seeds with the milk into a saucepan. Heat the milk over medium high heat and bring it to a simmer, almost to a boil.
  3. While the milk is being heated, place the sugar, egg and yolks, cornflour and salt in a bowl. Whisk until you have a thick, smooth mix. (If you are using vanilla bean paste or extract, add it to the egg mix too). Place the bowl with the egg mix on a towel or napkin (to prevent the bowl from slipping while whisking, in the next step), and set aside until the milk comes to a boil.
  4. As soon as the milk starts to bubble, remove it from the heat. Slowly pour about a half of the hot milk in a thin stream, into the egg mix, while whisking constantly. Add the egg mix back into the hot milk in the saucepan.
  5. Heat over medium heat, while whisking vigorously until it starts to thicken - this should take about 1 - 2 minutes.
  6. While whisking, let the custard come to a boil (the custard will release bubbles). Lower the heat and cook for a further 1-2 minutes after you see the first bubbles break the surface. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Whisk in the butter, until it’s completely mixed in.
  7. Pour the custard into a bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the whole surface. This is to prevent a custard skin from forming on top.
  8. Let the custard cool down to room temperature and then let it chill in the fridge for a few hours, until it’s completely chilled.

To fill the Eclairs

  1. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip nozzle with custard.
  2. Insert the tip into the top of the éclair in 3 places, close to each end and in the middle and squeeze the custard until it almost overflows out of the éclair. Wipe off excess custard and leave the éclair for 15 minutes so that a skin can form in the places where you inserted the custard.
  3. Melt white chocolate in 30 second bursts in the microwave. Stir until it is smooth. Dip the top side of the éclair in white chocolate and refrigerate to set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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