I have a confession to make. During last years bake-off, I failed at making choux pastry. 3 times. It was a Sunday afternoon and no matter what I did it wouldn’t go right!
This time, as part of the second pastry week of this year’s Great British Bake-Off and #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 , I was determined not to be beaten.
I used Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Eclair recipe to the letter to avoid going wrong again – so won’t re-write it here. It’s definitely worth reading through a couple of times before you start so you know what’s ahead.
The lovely folks at Kerrygold sent me some butter to try, so this seemed a good place to start. Maybe the lower-fat butter blend I have as standard in the fridge was to blame for last year’s failure?
Being ultra-prepared, I got everything out, pre-whisked the eggs, greased the tray just like Paul said…
…and set about the choux pastry!
One of the main problems I find with making choux pastry is that it really doesn’t look like anything until it’s baked. The ‘cooking a ball of flour, butter and water dough’ is both unattractive and uninspiring in my book, but, what Paul says…!
Dough satisfactorily ball-like and shiny, I put it in a bowl and set aside to cool. Suddenly it dawned on me where I’d gone wrong last year. Those five little words, ‘leave to cool until tepid’, (or the lack of them in my reading), were entirely responsible for my downfall. Cue flashbacks to last year and trying to beat eggs in the hot saucepan only for them cook and scramble… it’s like something from an outakes show!
Cool and tepid, whisking the eggs in was happily much easier this time!
And a smooth shiny, paste-like dough, well seemed pretty good to me 🙂
All that was left was to pipe…
What a result! I was as pleased as punch, my first choux pastries and they were really rather marvellous 🙂
Next came the cream piping – rather simple but made much trickier in a warm kitchen, with the cream threatening to melt all the time. I don’t envy the bakers in that tent one bit!
And to top – I used Paul’s suggested chocolate topping for half the batch:
And feeling more confident, whipped up a quick caramel icing for the remaining batch:
55g light brown sugar
20ml cream or milk
– Melt together the butter and sugar
– Add the liquid and boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally
– Leave to cool and use once the icing reaches a spreadable consistency. If it over-sets you can easily re-heat to liquify it again
I finished both sets with a decorative drizzle of the other icing – chocolate on caramel, and caramel on chocolate.
My first batch of eclairs – and I am so delighted with the results 🙂
Read more about #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 here.
And for all the cat lovers out there – what better use of leftover cream? Chilli and Pepper have just turned 3 and are as mischievous (and ravenous) as ever!
Disclaimer: I was sent some Kerrygold butter to use in my gbbo recipes. Opinions and bakes are all my own.