Salted Caramel Eclairs

Quantity: 12 Eclairs

Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Preparation: 30 minutes

Delicious salted caramel éclairs filled with sweet cream, perfect for any occasion including afternoon tea and Valentine’s day.

Choux pastry
175 ml water
75g butter
110g plain flour
2-2 1/2 eggs size 2
Oil for the baking tray

Filling
300ml whipping cream
3 drops vanilla essence
2 tsp caster sugar

Salted Caramel Frosting
50g caster sugar
100g single cream
30g glucose
10g butter (semi salted)

To make the choux pastry:

1)
Melt 175ml water and butter in a large pan. Heat gently on a medium heat until the butter has dissolved. When the butter has melted, turn the heat up. Bring to the boil until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

2)
Sift the flour onto a large square of parchment or greaseproof paper. Lift one half of the paper so that the flour falls onto the other half. Make a crease in the middle to create a ‘chute’. When the butter starts to bubble, give it a stir. Remove the pan from the heat. Pick up the flour ‘chute’ tipping the flour into the pan, all at once. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon incorporating all the flour.

3)
Beat hard for a few minutes.

4)
After about 1 minute, the mixture will gather into a ball leaving the sides of the pan clean. Set aside the mixture. Cool for about 10 minutes.

5)
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/Mark 7. Crack the eggs into a separate small mixing bowl. Beat lightly with a fork. Place the dough in a mixer and use the paddle attachment. Or place in a bowl and use a wooden spoon.

Tip:To prevent any risk of the eggs curdling, do not add the eggs before the mixture has cooled.

6)
When the mixture is warm to the touch, gradually transfer the beaten eggs from the small bowl into the paste in the mixing bowl. Allow 3-4 additions. To ensure that all the ingredients have been incorporated to form a smooth consistency, beat really thoroughly after each addition. The more air you can incorporate, the lighter the pastry. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that all the eggs are incorporated into the mixture. If necessary, use all the egg. The paste should be pipeable, but not too runny.

Tip: If the mixture’s too soft the éclair won’t hold its shape.

Tip: From a spoon, the mixture should drop easily, but not too quickly.

7)
Lightly oil and flour 2 baking trays.

8)
Support the piping bag with a jug. Fit the piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle and fill the piping bag with the paste.

Tip: Avoid over-filling the piping bag.

9)
On the baking tray, pipe 12 7.5cm ‘sausage’ strips. Allow the éclairs enough space to rise up and expand in the oven.

10)
Place at the top of a hot oven. Cook immediately for 20 minutes until golden and well risen.

Tip: Use a wet knife to neaten the pastry end.

Tip:Drizzle the ‘sausage’ strips with cold water to help them to rise.

Tip:Ensure that the oven is hot. Baked choux pastry products rise due to the egg content and steam. For perfect éclairs, the oven needs to generate hot steam.

11)
Reduce the heat to 190 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5. Continue to bake until the éclairs have crisped and turned golden brown.

12)
Remove one of the éclairs from the oven. Slice open. The centre of the éclair should be dry and free from soggy, uncooked dough. If the dough is still soggy, replace the éclair and continue to bake at 190 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5.

When the éclairs are cooked, remove them from the oven and place on a baking tray.

13)
To ensure that the éclairs stay crisp and dry on the inside, release the steam inside by piercing each éclair with a darning needle, or the blade of a sharp knife.

14)
When cooled, slice with a sharp knife and fill.

To make the cream filling

1)
Whip the cream, vanilla and sugar.

2)
Fit the piping bag with a plain nozzle.

3)
Spoon in the mixture.

4)
Widen the hole made by the trussing needle. Insert the piping nozzle. Pipe the cream into the éclairs. Place in the fridge to firm up.

For the Salted Caramel Frosting

1)
Melt the sugar in a large saucepan until golden in colour.

2)
Add the glucose until the mixture reaches 104 degrees centigrade.

3)
Gradually add the cream until the liquid starts to bubble.

4)
Mix gently. Add the butter, stir and cool.

5)
When the mixture has reached a slightly runny consistency at room temperature smooth onto the top of each éclair with a palette knife.

6)
Refrigerate and serve.

StorageEclairs are best served 2-3 hours after they’ve been made.

Store in a refrigerator and eat within 24 hours.

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