Raspberry eclairs

6-1I think this might be my first proper choux pastry. It's hard to believe that I have not made this patisserie staple until now. Initially, I wanted to go with a classic creme pat + chocolate glaze eclair but I had some raspberries in the fridge and I really wanted to use them and make something fruity. Quite honestly, the raspberry creme patissiere is to die for - you have not lived until you've tried it!

The Recipe

Makes 12 eclairs

ingredients

Choux pastry

  • 125 ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • 3 large eggs + 1 for the glaze

Raspberry pastry cream

  • 250 ml full fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 25g cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 150g fresh raspberries
  • 1-2 tablespoons icing sugar (optional)

Raspberry icing

  • 2 tablespoons of raspberry puree, leftover from making the raspberry pastry cream
  • 10 tablespoons of icing sugar

Other

  • 100-150g fresh raspberries
  • 100-150 ml whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon icing sugar

Instructions

For the choux pastry

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Combine the water, sugar, salt, and butter in a medium saucepan and put it over a medium heat. Measure out 70g of plain flour and set aside. When the butter melts and the mixture is simmering, take it off the heat and whisk in all the flour at once. Continue whisking until the dough pulls away from the pan to form a ball. Return the pan to medium heat and beat for 30 seconds to dry out the dough. Remove it from the heat and break in 2 of the eggs, one by one, whisking after each addition until smooth. Break the remaining egg in a small jug and lightly beat it with a fork. Add as much of the remaining egg into the dough as needed to make the dough very shiny and soft – it just fall from the spoon.

Spoon the dough in a piping bag with a round or star-shaped nozzle and pipe 10 cm logs on a tray lined with baking paper; make sure you leave a space of at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) between the logs. For the egg glaze, using a fork lightly beat one egg in a cup*. Brush the piped logs with the egg – be gentle as the dough is soft and brushing can easily ruin the piped pattern. Bake for 25 – 35 min, until puffed and golden brown – the eclair shells should be dry inside. I piped an extra log as a tester; even though the eclairs looked done they were still slightly wet on the inside and I had to return them to the oven. Once baked, transfer onto a rack and let cool.

*I did not need an additional egg as I had enough egg leftover from making the pastry (my dough didn’t require the whole third egg).

For the raspberry pastry cream

The base will be a classic vanilla pastry cream. Line a baking sheet with cling film and set aside. Put 250 ml of milk and 1 tsp of vanilla paste in a pot over medium heat. Meanwhile, combine 60g of caster sugar and 25g of cornflour in a medium bowl. Add three egg yolks and whisk until combined and the sugar has started to dissolve, do not let the mixture get pale. Whisk 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture – this is called tempering eggs. Whisk in the remaining milk. Return the mixture to the pan (you can strain it through a fine sieve) and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly. As soon as the pastry cream starts to thicken remove it from from the heat. Whisk in 25g of butter until smooth. Scrape the pastry cream onto the prepared baing sheet and wrap in the plastic, pressing out all the air. Set aside to cool completely.

While the pastry cream is cooling, make the raspbery puree to flavour the cream. Put 150g of fresh rasberries into a saucepan and set over medium heat. Mash the raspberries to get some juices out and speed up the cooking process. Continue cooking until the raspberries have fallen apart. While still warm, pass the raspberries through a fine sieve to remove the pips – this will require some elbow grease! Remember to scrape the bottom of the sieve. Once you have a smooth raspberry puree, taste it and sweeten if required – I used 1 tablespoon of icing sugar as my raspberries were quite sour.

Once the pastry cream has cooled, transfer it to a medium bowl and give it a whisk. Now it’s time to add the raspberry puree. Add a tablespoon at a time to ensure that the pastry cream is not watered down too much. Taste after each addition. I added 4 tablespoons in total and I thought this amount was enough to get a lovely raspberry flavour and the maximum my pastry cream could take before becoming too thin. Also, make sure that you have approximately 2 tablespoons of the puree leftover to prepare the icing. Pour the raspberry pastry cream into a piping bag and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.

For the raspberry icing

Prepare the icing shortly before assembling the eclairs. Whisk icing sugar into the remainder of the raspberry puree. I listed 2 tablespoons of puree to 10 tablespoons of icing sugar however this is just a rough guideline. The exact amount will depend on how much raspberry puree you have leftover and how watery it is. The prepared icing should fall down the spoon forming a thick ribbon.

To assemble the eclairs

Whip 100-150 ml of cream with 1/2 tsp vanilla paste and 1/2 tbsp icing sugar and spoon it into a piping bag with a decorative nozzle. Using a sharp knife cut the eclair shells in half. Pipe the raspberry pastry cream on the bottom half of each shell. Place fresh raspberries on top of the pastry cream (1-2 per eclair) and pipe some whipped cream around them.

Next, ice the top half of each shell. Using a spoon let the icing fall onto each pastry shell held at an angle. Put the iced shells on a rack to set a little; then place on top of the filled bottom halves.

Eat the eclairs right away! Caution: it might be messy, especially if you’ve overfilled them like I did…

Credits: choux pastry and vanilla pastry cream recipes followed from this book. Inspiration from this website.

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