- June 2015
- Makes 24
- Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 30 min
Filled with custard and topped with freeze-dried strawberries and icing, this strawberry éclair recipe makes a wonderful addition to any afternoon tea.
- 8.25g (4.6g saturated)
- 13.8g (9.6g sugars)
For the filling
- 150g strawberries, hulled
- 30g icing sugar
- 290ml whole milk
- 2 medium free-range egg yolks, beaten
- 50g caster sugar
- 20g plain flour
- 15g cornflour
- 150ml double cream
For the choux pastry
- 100g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 4 tsp caster sugar
- 80g unsalted butter
- 4 medium free-range eggs
For the topping
- 100g icing sugar
- A few drops pink food colouring
- 2-3 tbsp freeze-dried strawberry or raspberry pieces (from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Ocado, or bake shops)
- Extra strawberries to serve (optional)
You’ll also need
- 2 disposable piping bags
- For the filling, put the strawberries in a medium saucepan with the icing sugar and bring to a simmer over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until broken down. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Whizz in a blender/food processor until smooth and liquid. Push the fruit through a sieve to remove the seeds (discard them) and make a coulis. Set aside.
- Put the milk in a medium pan and bring just to the boil. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with 50g caster sugar and a dash of the hot milk, then beat in the plain flour and cornflour with a balloon whisk to a smooth paste. Slowly stir in the rest of the milk, making sure no lumps form.
- Return the mixture to the pan and slowly bring it to the boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick. It may go lumpy, but don’t worry too much about this – continue stirring and try to make it as smooth as possible. Spoon the custard onto a plate, put a piece of baking paper on top to prevent a skin forming, then cool completely. Chill in the fridge until solid.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6. To make the choux pastry, line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and sprinkle with a little flour. Sift the flour, sugar and a good pinch of salt together in a pile onto another sheet of baking paper.
- Heat 240ml water and the butter in a large pan until the butter melts, then bring to a vigorous boil. Using the baking paper as a funnel, quickly pour the flour mixture into the buttery water, remove it from the heat, then beat with a wooden spoon until a thick paste forms that comes away from the sides of the pan and the mixture starts to cool – about 5-10 minutes. You need to beat as fast as you can to make sure you get a smooth texture. Leave the mixture to cool for 10 minutes more.
- Beat 3 of the eggs, then add to the pan bit by bit, beating the mixture until smooth and glossy after each addition and stopping when it reaches a thick dropping consistency (you may not need all the beaten egg).
- Scoop the choux pastry into a disposable piping bag. Snip 2cm off the end of the bag, then pipe 24 thick lines about 6cm long onto the lined baking sheets, leaving a 3cm gap between each line. Beat the remaining egg and brush it lightly over the pastry lines. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen, golden and crisp.
- Remove the sheets from the oven, then pierce each éclair on the bottom with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Cool completely.
- Once the custard has cooled, whizz it in a food processor until smooth. Whizz in half the coulis, then pour it into a bowl. In another bowl, whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks when the whisk is removed. Fold the cream into the strawberry custard with the remaining coulis.
- To finish, pierce one end of each éclair with a skewer to make 5mm wide holes. Put the custard filling in a clean disposable piping bag, snip 5mm off the end of the bag and gently squeeze the filling inside each éclair.
- Mix the 100g icing sugar in a small bowl with 1 tbsp water and a few drops of pink food colouring to form a runny icing. Drizzle it over the éclairs, then sprinkle with the freeze-dried strawberry or raspberry pieces and serve with extra strawberries, if you like. Serve as soon as the icing sets.
Instead of making custard to fill the éclairs, you can split them and fill with whipped cream and strawberry slices. Fill at the last minute so the fruit and pastry don’t turn mushy.
Make the choux pastry buns up to the end of step 8 up to 24 hours ahead. Store unfilled in a cool place, in an airtight container. Make the custard filling up to the end of step 3, then keep it covered, chilled, for up to 2 days.
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