I have always thought choux pastry would be more difficult to make than it actually turned out to be. While the method is a little more involved in that the mixture is essentially cooked on the stove and then again in the oven, anyone who has ever made a bechamel sauce need not fear this delicious pastry. It was my mum who gave me sound advice and encouragement as I gave these eclairs my first attempt.
I followed the recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook Companion. I have such trust in Alexander’s recipes, especially in those set out in the first chapter, that it gave me enough confidence to tackle my baking fears and I was thus rewarded with a lovely petit four.
The eclair had a lovely crunch on the outside and the custard inside was a perfect accompaniment. I followed mum’s advice; as soon as the pastry was out of the oven, I poked it with a small hole, just to allow all the steam to escape and ensure the middle did not become soggy.
- 140g plain flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 100g butter
- 5 eggs
- 1 extra egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat your oven to 220°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. In a large heavy-based saucepan place the milk, water, butter and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and quickly add the flour, stirring vigorously until smooth.
4. Transfer to a food processor or stand mixture and using a beater or paddle attachment, beat on a low speed, adding an egg at a time (ensuring that each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg).
6. Cook in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
7. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Slightly slice a small hole in each pastry to allow the steam to escape.
8. I filled with custard and iced with melted chocolate. Feel free to fill and ice as you wish, this is a wonderful basic choux pastry recipe to experiement flavours with as you please.