To anyone who reads this blog often (which is mostly my immediate family), it’s always staggeringly obvious when the Great British Bake Off is on TV as I can’t stop baking things! My sweet tooth goes on a rampage craving all kinds of baked delights. Cookies, cakes, breads and pastries, every week I get urges I can’t control. This week I was inspired to make choux pastry. I love chocolate eclairs, they are one of my absolute favorite foods, but for some reason it’s been years since I last made them. They also aren’t all that prevalent in Korea and when they are, they are staggeringly expensive. The ones at Éclair, beautiful as they may be, are 6,000 a pop. I can bake about 12 for not much more. So it seemed churlish not to whip of a batch myself. I used the Silver Fox’s recipe as I figured I couldn’t go wrong, and do you know what I didn’t. My old recipe used more eggs, and I occasionally found they collapsed a bit after baking, so I’ll stick with Paul Hollywood’s from now on.
Choux pastry (I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe):
65g strong white flour (sifted)
50g butter (diced)
pinch of salt
300ml of Cream
2 tabelspoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
200g of Chocolate
100ml of cream
1. The first step is to make the pastry, start by pouring the water, salt, and butter into a pot and heat it up. You don’t want it to boil at this stage, you only want the butter to melt. Once the butter has melted quickly bring the mixture to the boil. Once it starts to boil remove it from the heat and quickly add all the flour. Whisk this together for about a minute and it should form a kind of sticky dough. Put this back on a low heat for a minute or two, just to cook the dough a little bit, beating as you go. It should all come away from the sides and form a glossy ball of dough.
2. Transfer the dough into a large mixing bowl and leave aside to cool. Meanwhile in a separate bowl beat your two eggs. Once your dough has cooled a bit you can gradually beat in the eggs using an electric mixer (if you have one), or by hand. Keep beating it until your mixture gets to the correct consistency, you may not need all the egg. A tip I picked up from watching the bake off was that you should be left with a V shape of mixture hanging from your beaters when you remove them from the mixture.
3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Now your mixture is ready to go, prepare a flat baking tray. You can grease it with butter or put down a sheet of baking paper (I recommend the latter!). Put your mixture into a piping bag with a large nozzle and pipe out twelve 4 inch long lines a little bit apart. Depending on the size of your oven you may have to use two trays. Sprinkle a little bit of water on the trays around the pastry, taking care to avoid getting the pastry itself wet.
4. Put your eclairs into the oven for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes is done, reduce the temperature to 170 degrees and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Do not open the oven at this stage under any circumstances unless you want flat choux pastry! After this 10 minute period remove your eclairs from the oven and quickly poke a hole in the end of each one, to allow steam to escape. Then put them back into the oven to dry out the inside for another five minutes. Finally remove them from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
5. To make the filling, whip the cream, vanilla and sugar until thick, and set aside until the eclairs have cooled. Once the eclairs have cooled use a piping bag and a thin nozzle to pipe the filling inside the pastry. You may need to make the holes slightly bigger to do this. or if you don’t have a piping bag, make a slit in the side and fill them with cream.
6. To make the ganache, melt the chocolate over a double broiler, then stir in the cream. It should be thick and glossy. You can then dip the eclairs in the ganache and allow them to set. But if you are anything like me, it will really test your willpower. Once the ganache has cooled, devour with gusto!