Did you know that the word éclair comes from the French for lightening? With rich choux pastry, chocolate cream filling and a cocoa glaze, it’s not hard to see why – you’ll be downing these delicious pastries in a flash.
For the choux pastry
For the glaze
Preparing the chocolate pastry cream
- 14 ounces (400 g) white fondant
- ¾ ounce (20 g) water (or 30° Baumé syrup) Depending on desired color: - cocoa powder (as needed) - cocoa butter (as needed)
Step 1: For the choux pastry
Sift the flour. Cut the butter into small pieces. Pour the milk and the water into a pot of suitable size. Add the salt and butter pieces. Bring to a gentle boil, so that the butter melts completely just as the water starts to boil. When the butter has melted, remove the pot from the heat. Add all of the flour. Use a spatula to incorporate the flour into the mixture until smooth. Place the pot over medium heat and stir the mixture vigorously with the spatula to dry it out. Stop stirring when this panade comes away from the sides of the pot and a film forms on the bottom.
Transfer to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a flat beater attachment. While beating on low speed, add the eggs one at a time. Wait for each to be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next. If the dough seems too firm, add a little egg. It is ready when it forms a peak on the spatula and has a glossy appearance. Transfer to a bowl and scrape off the excess.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F) (deck oven) or 170°C (350°F) (convection oven). Fit a pastry bag with a size 14–16 fluted tip and fill with dough. Pipe éclairs of about 15cm (6 inches) onto a greased baking sheet.
Step 2: For the glaze
Mix all of the ingredients for the glaze in a bowl. Glaze the éclairs. Bake about 15 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack. Set aside in a dry place.
Step 3: Preparing the chocolate pastry cream
Combine the milk with the split vanilla bean in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the custard powder and flour and incorporate. Pour the hot milk over this mixture while whisking constantly. Transfer the mixture to the pot and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Finely chop the chocolate. Flavor the warm pastry cream with the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Fit a pastry bag with a size 8 plain tip and fill with the flavored pastry cream. Cool quickly and refrigerate.
Step 4: Finishing
Make 3 holes at the bottom of the éclairs using a size 2 plain pastry bag tip. Fill the éclairs through the holes. Warm the fondant in a high-sided skillet over low heat. Dilute the contents of the skillet with a bit of water. Add the cocoa powder + cocoa mass. Heat to a maximum of 35°C (95 F).
Glaze the éclairs and smooth with your fingers. Transfer to a rack and allow the glaze to harden. Refrigerate.
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