These éclairs are the best you’ll ever eat. They are ideal for a big family party – make two-thirds chocolate and one-third coffee – over Christmas or New Year. You can make the cases several days beforehand and store them in an airtight container. A piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle is very useful for this recipe.
For 8 (makes 16)
For the éclairs
- 40g butter
- Pinch of salt
- 75g plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
- 275ml double cream
For the chocolate icing
- 50g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup
- Splash of double cream
For the coffee icing
- 1 level tablespoon instant coffee
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 4 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4.
To make the choux pastry, put the butter and salt in a saucepan with 150ml water and heat slowly to melt the butter. Add the flour all at once, keeping the pan on the heat, but as the mixture thickens remove from the heat and beat really well until it comes away from the side of the pan leaving the surface clean. Allow to cool slightly.
Add the eggs and beat them slowly but thoroughly into the mixture. (You can do this in a food processor, using the beater attachment, or by hand.) Add the vanilla extract and beat well until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
On a baking tray covered with non-stick or silicone liner paper either shape the choux pastry with two spoons or put the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle and pipe it. Make the éclairs roughly 8cm in length, with space in between for expansion.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes or until they are pale brown and well risen. Allow to cool on a wire rack and make a hole in the sides to release the steam.
To make the chocolate icing, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie with the tablespoon of syrup, add a splash of double cream and stir to mix. To make coffee icing, mix the tablespoon of instant coffee with 2 tablespoons of boiling water; then add the icing sugar and stir thoroughly. If you want to make the chocolate icing shinier, add a little more syrup; and you can add a dessert teaspoon of syrup to the coffee icing to take away any bitterness.
Whip the double cream until it holds soft peaks. Slit the sides of the éclairs and pipe in the cream. Dip half the éclair’s into the coffee icing and the other half into the chocolate icing. Put back onto the cooling rack until the icing has set.
This recipe featured in the Sarah Raven 2016 Calendar.
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