Saturday, 20 February 2016

Chocolate Eclairs

Hi Guys!!

Today I've decided to make some 'chocolate eclairs.

I'm not talking about the chewy caramel coated chocolate from cadbury (even though thats also quite nice) ....but no, I'm referring to an oblong pastry filled with cooled custard or cream, and topped with a drizzle of shiny melted chocolate. With the first bite, you get the crunchy pastry shell, and then you're hit by the creaminess and coolness of the cream, followed by the bitter sweet taste of the dark chocolate. 

This delightful dessert is just an explosion of flavour. You would certainly want to make this for that special some one. Its certainly a welcomed addition to any party, as a dessert on a romantic date #wink, or as an exciting way to get your kids into the kitchen.
I made these as a gift for a friends birthday party and it was gone in a flash...which pretty much demonstrates the name 'eclair' french for 'flash of lightning'.



It certainly requires a good number of ingredients, however, thats because I made my own custard from scratch. You can always decide to substitute with the ready made custard or instant custard, however, it has to be made thick and sweet and definitely not runny.



So here's how you make it:

Ingredients
For the choux pastry shells
  • 100mls of milk + 100mls of water
  • 5.5 tbsp of butter
  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp of powdered sugar
For the custard
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 cups of milk
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate ganache
  • 160grams of dark chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids)
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 80mls of cream
Other materials required:
  • 3 Pots
  • 2 large bowls
  • A baking tray
  • A balloon whisk
  • 2 Piping bags (1 large nozzle, 1 pin nozzle)
  • A ladle
  • Parchment paper
  • A roll of cling film
  • A tooth pick
Instructions
  1. First we make the custard. Put the milk in a pot on low heat and bring to a simmer. In a bowl, add the yolks, corn flour, sugar  and vanilla extract together, and mix until it turns pale. 
    Corn starch added into the egg and sugar mixture

    Pale colour after incorporating the yolk, sugar, vanilla and corn starch
    Pot of milk brought to a simmer
  2. Once the milk has come up to a boil, ladle a spoon of it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Then add the entire bowl of egg mixture into the pot of milk, and bring back onto the low heat, whisking continuously until it becomes thick. Add the butter and mix well. Transfer into a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate.
  3. Now to make the choux pastry. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Add the milk, water, salt, sugar  and butter into the pot, and bring to a boil.
    Melted butter in the milk
  4.  Once it begins to boil, and the butter has dissolved, remove from the heat, and add the flour. Mix very well, until a dough is formed.
    Flour incorporated into the boiling milk

    Cooked flour dough
  5. Transfer into a plastic bowl, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. 
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each time. Then transfer into a piping bag with a large nozzle.
    Incorporating the eggs into the dough

    The dough put in a piping bag
  7. Pipe the dough into oblong shapes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Then sprinkle the icing sugar over the dough shapes, and place in the oven. for about 20 mins or until its browned and puffy.
    Piping the choux pastry

    Piped choux pastry
  8. Now to the chocolate ganache. Place the cream in a pot and bring to a simmer. 
    Simmering cream
  9. Chop the chocolate into shreds and place in a bowl. Then add the sugar and butter. 
    A chocolate bar

    Chopped chocolate

    The chocolate and butter
  10. Pour the cream over the chocolate and butter, and mix well, until its beautiful and shiny, then set aside.
    The chocolate ganache
  11. Remove the pastry from the oven, and using a toothpick, poke a hole at the side to allow the steam out faster. Remove the custard from the fridge and transfer into a piping bag with the pin nozzle. 
    Pastry out of the oven, and custard in the piping bag
  12. Use the toothpick and poke three holes along the base of the pastry, and put the custard into all three hole. Do this for all of them.
    Poking holes into the pastry for the nozzle to fit

    Piping the custard into the pastry shells
  13. Now dunk the front end of the pastry into the chocolate ganache, and set aside.
    Dunking the custard filled eclair into the chocolate ganache

    A perfect eclair
  14. Once you've done that for all the pastry's, allow to cool, and then Enjoy.


Tips
  1. Ensure you continuously whisk the egg and milk mixture or else the eggs would scramble in the heat, and that would make for a lumpy custard.
  2. When you add the eggs into the dough, it would split, but just continue to mix well, and it would become sticky again.
  3. Alternatively, you can microwave the chocolate, butter and milk for about 20 seconds, or until they are melted. But do not allow the chocolate to burn.