I’m a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off, drooling over the food, the innocent innuendo, Mel and Sue and of course Mary Berry’s jackets. The only problem is that I sit craving cake for the whole hour and then for the rest of the evening.
In last week’s episode the contestants were tasked with perfecting pastry and creating some show stopper éclairs. I caught the episode on Sunday so with a little extra time than a Wednesday evening I decided to give it a go myself. I took the recipe from Paul Hollywood himself, however I made a couple of changes and had to compensate for not being able to find a piping bag in the cupboards. I feel it makes them all the more unique.
I doubt Mr Hollywood would agree…
You will need:
For the choix pastry –
65g/2½oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
50g/2oz unsalted butter
2 free range eggs
For the filling –
200ml whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the icing –
Red food colouring
1. Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and generously grease a baking tray.
2. Sift the flour onto a grease proof piece of paper.
3. Put 120ml/4fl oz water into a saucepan, along with the salt and butter. Gently heat until the butter has melted without boiling it.
4. Once the butter has melted quickly bring to the boil and tip all the flour in. Remove from the heat and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon, eventually creating a smooth dough.
5. Put the pan back on a low heat and cook the dough for a further minute. Leave to cool in a mixing bowl.
6. Whilst waiting, I whipped up the icing. I never measure these ingredients, so just sifted the icing sugar into a jug adding a little bit of milk. Adding bits of either to get the correct consistency.
7. Once the dough has cooled down enough, beat the eggs and gradually add to the dough. The dough should be more paste-like and drop from the spoon when shaken.
8. As I didn’t have a piping bag, I spooned the mixture onto the baking tray in ‘eclair-type-shapes’ (technical term). A piping bag would have been handy, but I made it work.
9. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. After this, reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and bake for 10 minutes. Finally place a small hole in the side of each eclair, allowing the steam to escape and bake for a further 5 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven and whilst cooling whip up the cream. Add all 200ml to a bowl along with the vanilla extract and whip.
11. Once the eclairs have cooled, cut them in half and pack them with vanilla cream. Don’t forget to decorate with your icing.
10. Sit and marvel at your creation before devouring.