My latest bake and my entry this month into Perfecting Patisserie is my festive chocolate eclairs topped with cranberry and pistachio. Who says you can’t have an eclair at Christmas time! If you are looking for an alternative to a traditional Christmas pudding or a special dessert for the Christmas period, these could be ideal.
This is the first time I have made eclairs, though I have made choux pastry before, for choux buns. I decided to play it safe and follow a proven recipe for the eclairs, so I first tried using an eclair recipe from BBC Good Food. Unfortunately these turned out completely flat and too big, the choux pastry didn’t have the right consistency when ready for piping. Not sure what happened there! Next, I tried a different recipe, this time one of Paul Hollywood’s. These worked much better. The choux pastry had the right texture when piping, and they puffed up very well and kept their shape.
For the filling I used whipped double cream, and topped the eclairs with melted Amedei milk chocolate. I was sent this by King’s Fine Foods and have been waiting to make a recipe that would be worthy of such a good quality chocolate. On top of this I added chopped dried cranberries and chopped pistachio kernels for a festive flavour and look. The Christmassy colours of the cranberries and pistachios look like little jewels and the flavours come through in each bite.
- 65 g plain flour, sifted
- Pinch of salt
- 50 g unsalted butter, diced
- 2 medium free-range eggs, beaten
- 120 ml water
- 300 ml fresh double cream
- 100 g milk chocolate (I used Amedei)
- A handful of dried sweetened cranberries
- A handful of pistachio kernels
- First make the eclairs. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
- Put the butter in a saucepan with the water and salt and melt on a low heat.
- When all the butter has completely melted, bring the mixture to the boil quickly and add all of the flour.
- Remove the pan from the heat and beat with a wooden spoon.
- Once the dough has come together, place the pan back on a low heat for a minute, still beating, to cook the dough a little.
- Then put the dough in a large mixing bowl and leave it to cool for about five minutes.
- Beat the eggs in a small bowl, then gradually add them to the dough, bit by bit, beating well after each addition.
- Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe 10 cm lengths onto an oiled baking tray.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 170 and bake for another ten minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven and make a small hole in the side of each eclair, to allow the steam to escape. I used a cake tester to do this, which made a very small hole. Put the eclairs back in the oven for another five minutes.
- Remove from the oven, leave to cool, then cut each eclair open along one side and pipe in the cream.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water.
- Dip the top of each eclair in the melted chocolate and smooth it over with a spoon.
- Chop the cranberries and pistachios into small pieces.
- Decorate the top of each eclair with the chopped cranberries and pistachios.
- Serve and enjoy!
For more choux pastry ideas, how about:
- Lemon curd choux buns from BakingQueen74
- Choux buns with coffee custard filling from Kavey Eats
- Blackcurrant and vanilla eclairs from Jen’s Food
- Strawberry choux buns from Fab Food 4 All
- Coffee and walnut mini eclairs from Maison Cupcake
- Perfect party eclairs from Made With Pink
I am sending this recipe into my Perfecting Patisserie challenge. Do visit and see the other delicious entries for more patisserie baking inspiration. If you are a blogger, why not join in?
I am also linking up with Festive Food Friday.