How to Make to Most Delicious and Prettiest Eclairs
By nectar and stone on June 13, 2013
Creating beautiful sweet treats is something I truly enjoy. And what I love most about baking and cooking is putting my own stamp, interpretation and concept on a recipe.
how to make the perfect eclairs
I wanted to create some eclairs that were full of flavor and visually beautiful too. I decided to make mini eclairs with a Creme Patissiere filling and decorated with different colored royal icings.
Similar to macarons, what people struggle with the most is understanding how far to take the mixture - in this case I am speaking about the Choux Pastry. I have really simplified things and taken lots of pictures to show you how it is done.
I am going to break this into three parts -
1. Choux Pastry
2. Creme Patissiere
3. Royal Icing
Ingredients for Choux Pastry:
will make 12 mini eclairs
80 ml milk
80 ml water
70 g butter - chopped
large pinch of salt
10 g castor sugar
100 g plain flour
1 extra egg beaten for the choux pastry at the end.
1. Put the oven on at 150 degrees Celsius (gas mark 2) - Fan Forced and have 1-2 trays lined with baking paper.
2. Measure your plain flour and place in a bowl and leave to the side.
3. Crack your two eggs in a bowl and gently whisk with a fork to combine and leave to the side.
4. Have a spare large bowl or saucepan ready - you will need this for transferring your choux pastry into.
5. In another saucepan - add the milk, water, butter, salt and sugar and place over high heat until the butter has melted - (ensure that the butter has melted before the liquid comes to boiling point). Then, bring to boil for a few seconds until large bubbles start to form.
6. Remove from heat and add the plain flour - start to stir with a spatula for several minutes until all the flour has combined and the mixture has formed a nice ball and not sticking to the saucepan. Some saucepans retain more heat than others, so if you feel your saucepan is not very hot - it is okay to put the choux pastry back onto the heat a little to help it to dry out a bit.
7. Remove the Choux Pastry from the saucepan and place into the spare bowl or saucepan you put aside. Allow to cool a little - it should feel lukewarm.
8. Proceed to gradually add the beaten eggs - using the spatula to combine - do this in three steps, ensuring each time that the eggs are fully incorporated into the mixture. You will need some arm work for the next couple of minutes. You want your choux pastry to look and feel thick - refer to my picture below. When you add the eggs - the choux pastry will look really glossy and also slippery and sloppy, continue to use your arm work until the egg is absorbed into the pastry.
9. Place into a piping bag with the 2 cm nozzle and at a 45 degree angle, pipe 7 cm lengths. I use a sharp knife to cut the end of the choux pastry.
10. Brush with the egg wash and then place into the oven for 40 minutes.
11. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before filling and decorating.
(you can make this the day / night before)
250 g (1 cup) full cream milk
25 g castor sugar
Egg Yolk Mixture
3 egg yolks
25 g castor sugar
pinch of salt
10 g plain flour
10 g cornflour
1. Place the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk with the sugar and salt. Then add the flour and cornflour and whisk until nice and thick.
2. In a saucepan, place the milk and sugar over high heat and just before boiling point, remove from heat and add one ladle of the egg yolk mixture and whisk vigorously. This allows the mixture to loosen a little.
3. Add the remaining egg yolk mixture and then place the saucepan back onto a medium heat and whisk until the mixture thickens. This should take between 1-2 minutes. The mixture will look like a custard.
4. Remove from heat and place the mixture onto a plate and immediately cover with cling wrap. You want to use a fairly flat surface to cool the creme patissiere. You also need to cover it with cling wrap straight away so as to avoid a skin forming. When it has come to lukewarm - place into the fridge to completely cool down.
5. When cooled down, place the mixture into a piping bag to fill the choux pastry.
filling the choux pastry
1. Using a sharp knife, place a little cut into the back of the choux pastry - on one end only.
2. Place the piping bag filled with creme patissiere into this little hole and gently squeeze the bag until the choux fills up.
3. Place back onto wire rack ready for the royal icing.
(you can make this the day / night before)
500g g pure icing sugar - sifted
2 eggs whites
squeeze of lemon
coloring of your choice
(I used yellow, pink, purple, green, peach and white)
1. In a mix-master or using hand held electric beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
2. Add 2/3 of the sifted icing sugar and continue to mix a little before adding the remaining icing sugar and lemon juice. Continue to mix until thick.
--- when you have made the royal icing, it can keep for up to 7 days. Place into a clean dry and air-tight container. You will need to have a clean wet cloth - I use a chux cloth and place it directly onto the royal icing. Then place the lid on top and store in a cool and dark place.
3. Add your desired color to the royal icing and you will also need to add a little bit of water to loosen the consistency to coat the eclairs. Refer to my picture below.
my step by step pictures for
In the above picture, I am allowing my choux pastry to cool in a bowl - I want it to be lukewarm before adding the beaten eggs.
Add the beaten eggs, a little bit at a time and combine really well before adding more of the eggs mixture.
This is what you want your choux pastry to look like.
Place into a piping bag with a nozzle about 2 cm.
Don't forget to add some egg wash onto the choux pastry before they go into the oven.
Preparing royal icing colors....when making royal icing, you can make your choice of colors either on the day or day before. Just make sure you don't water the royal icing down until the time you are about to use it. NOTE: royal icing doesn't need a lot of water to thin out - so use sparingly.
Choux pastry are now cooked.
A little cut into the pastry before piping in the cream patissiere.
This is what the back of the eclair now looks like.
Decorating the eclairs is the fun part. Be creative and have fun.
I had base colors for all my eclairs - i.e yellow, white, pink, green, purple etc.
Then I used sprinkles, a couple of piping bags filled with white, pink and green to make some decorations.
For visual effect, try to select colors that will compliment each other -
You will be going back for seconds....
The above pattern is very easy to do. Simple coat the eclair with white icing, then using alternate colors, place a stripe across the eclair. I then used a skewer to feather the eclair - up and down.
For me personally, I get excited by color and patterns. I wanted my eclairs to be really pretty, sweet and dainty. Give them a go, I promise you will love them.