Nielsen-Massey Chocolate Eclairs

  • Total Time

    1h 10m
    • Prep Time

      30m
    • Bake Time

      40m
  • Serves

    12
  • Skill Level

    Intermediate
  • Dietary Needs

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Not many people can resist an éclair, and these vanilla and chocolate eclairs by Nielsen-Massey are great for a sweet weekend treat. These cream-filled choux pastry fingers are a patisserie classic and can make even the most accomplished baker shiver, but don’t be put off – it’s actually a lot easier than you think. This recipe ensured crisp, light choux pastry every time. If you want to make smaller party sized ones, you can, just pipe out 3" (roughly 8cm)  length instead.   Tip: Did you know you can freeze unfilled choux buns? 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (fan 180°C, gas mark 7). Lightly oil or line a large non-stick baking sheet with baking parchment. To make the buns, heat the milk, butter and 50ml of water very gently in a small saucepan until all the butter has melted. Meanwhile, sift the flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt.

  2. Increase the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from the heat and beat in the flour with a wooden spoon for 3-4 minutes back on a low heat, until the mixture is smooth and glossy, and leaves the sides of the pan.

  3. Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs, a little at a time, then add Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract. Continue to beat for another 3-4 minutes to a smooth, shiny dough.

  4. Spoon into a piping bag with a 1.5-2cm plain nozzle. Pipe 12 x 10cm long lengths (about 2cm wide) of the dough on to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, or until golden. If you want to make party sized ones, just pipe out a smaller length, we recommend 3" (roughly 8cm)

  5. Using a small knife, make a slit along the side of each eclair to open it out. Place the cut side up and return to the oven, turn off the heat and leave the door slightly open for 5 -10 minutes to dry out the pastry. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  6. To make the filling, bring the milk just to the boil in a saucepan with the Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste.  Meanwhile, mix together the egg yolks, sugar and flours in a bowl.

  7. Pour on the hot milk whilst continuously whisking, then return the custard into a wide-based clean pan.  Cook over a very gentle heat, stirring until the mix is thicker than a custard, (it may get lumpy but continue to stir until the lumps disappear) Transfer to another mixing bowl and place some cling film directly on to the surface.  Leave to cool, then chill.

  8. Meanwhile, make the chocolate glaze.  Heat the cream, sugar and Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract until the sugar has dissolved fully. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and finally add the butter, stirring until smooth and glossy. Set aside until needed.

  9. When the custard is completely cold, add the cream and beat with an electric whisk until it holds its shape again. Transfer to a piping bag with a 1.5-2cm plain nozzle and fill each eclair.  Spread the chocolate glaze over the top of each eclair and leave to set before serving.

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