15 January 2012

Chocolate Eclairs

My friend Tom has been getting at me to make him some eclairs for quite a while now.  I offered to buy some from Waitrose today to delay his waiting time but he refused and insisted I had to make them myself, and soon because I'm going away in a week.  Luckily for Tom it's his birthday today AND  I've finished my dissertation so I've made him some birthday eclairs!

I used Raymond Blanc's recipe from his Kitchen secrets book that I found on the Guardian website - I watched the baking episode of the programme about 5 times when it was on last year and got a bit obsessed.  But this was my first time making choux pastry or eclairs.

These ones are beautiful, if slightly odd shaped, but lets just glaze over that.

As I'm practically perfect in every way, a la Mary Poppins, I never make mistakes, especially when I'm baking.  But if I had made a mistake, as unlikely as it is to happen, this might be what happened....

For the first batch, I may have added the egg before the pastry had cooled, thereby producing a pastry/scrambled egg combo.

For the second batch, the recipe confused me (in my defense it is written in a very basic way with all the important parts as footnotes, such as 'use 4 eggs' and the footnote reading 'you won't need them all'.  this is not easy to follow!!!) so I might have added too much egg, and then tried to compensate by adding extra flour.  This is what they look like when you bake them....

For the third batch they came out beautiful but there is a chance that I forgot Raymond's cheeky little tsp caster sugar until after I had added the flour.  But look, everybody makes mistakes.  I don't, but don't judge.

Filling them with cream was fun.  I broke a couple being over enthusiastic and tried to use my flavour injector to little success.

The chocolate icing isn't shiny like it should be because, I admit it, I did make a mistake here and I didn't use fondant icing like Raymond's recipe asks for.  Instead I used ready to roll stuff we had in the cupboard, I'm not sure its the right thing to use or not but it didn't look as pretty as it should but it did taste VERY SWEET, which I am a fan of.
ever hopeful wolfhound, who does actually like choux pastry

wrong thing to use?

Raymond Blanc's Eclairs
65ml water
65ml milk
55g unsalted butter
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch of sea salt
100g plain flour
3 medium eggs, beaten - Raymond's recipe asks for 4 then adds that you probably won't need them all to get the pastry to the right consistency, so I used 3 in my final batch 

- preheat the oven to 180 degress

1) Put the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a pan and bring to the boil.
2) Take off the heat and quickly stir in the flour until smooth - it makes a light dough
3) Return to the heat and stir for 1 minute more.
* LEAVE THE MIXTURE TO COOL BEFORE ADDING THE EGGS, scrambled egg doesn't work well in a pastry!
4) Add the beaten egg gradually and beat, always keeping an eye on the consistency: it should be of dropping consistency.  Rest for 5 minutes before using.
5) Using a piping bag and a 1.5cm nozzle, pipe 10 eclairs around 15cm long onto the baking trays and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

To fill mine I used whipped double cream with 1 tbsp icing sugar added.  You could add melted dark chocolate, vanilla extract or coffee extract if you're feeling very fun.

Raymond Blanc's Glaze
200g fondant icing
12g cocoa powder
1-2 tsp water

1) Gently warm the fondant; to hot and it will lose it's glaze, possibly what happened to mine.
2) Stir in the cocoa powder and water until combined.
3) Dip each eclair in to cover the top; I had to use a knife to spread my topping as it was too thick to dip.

Other recipes use dark chocolate and heavy cream as a topping.


  1. Well done on finishing your dissertation after many late nights. These look good and not as hard to make as I thought which is encouraging as these things scare me.

  2. I think they look fab! I dont know anyone who can resist an eclair!

  3. I absolutely love éclairs - they are one thing I really want to try but I keep shying away from all pastry! Well one and thanks for visiting my blog x

  4. thank you! the pastry is quite easy, if you don't make mistakes like i did!! x