Apparently eclairs are now the new cupcake. There’s always a ‘new cupcake’ though isn’t there? The whoopie pie (so 2009 darling), the cake pop (‘oh cake pops, so easy to make’ said no one ever) and the macaron (ok, I’ll give them that, perfection in a nutty little sandwich).
I read this and realised I couldn’t remember the last time I ate an eclair. Perfect Saturday baking project. And oh boy, did I regret it. We’d had a bit of a difficult weekend. Poor unwell babies had left both me and Mr BDB exhausted. Him in need of wine and me, comfort food. I’m suitably embarrassed telling you I ate five of these over two days. They are irresistable. You have been warned.
The recipe isn’t as scary as it looks, just think of it as three processes and then building the little minxes.
Salted Banoffee Eclairs
Adapted from an original recipe here
Makes 12 eclairs
For the pastry:
0.5tsp Maldon Sea Salt
80g Sifted plain flour (really do sift it, it makes a difference in this recipe.)
3 Large eggs
For the creme patisserie:
6 Yolks from large eggs
120g Caster sugar
450ml Whole milk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
For the caramel:
100g Unsalted butter
100g Dark soft brown sugar
50g Caster sugar
3 Tbsp Golden syrup
50ml Double cream
1 tsp Vnilla extract
2 tsp Maldon Sea Salt (use less or more, to your own taste)
100ml Double cream (whipped until it is just standing in soft peaks)
3 Bananas (cut into slices, I think they look best cut at an angle)
To make the choux pastry:
1. Switch the oven on to 220C.
2. Put the butter, salt and water in a pan and heat until the butter is melted. Turn off the heat and add the flour. Beat it until the dough comes together. Switch the heat back on and beat with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute.
3. Switch off the heat again. Beat in two of the eggs. It will look like everything is going a bit wrong, but just keep going, beating until your arm aches and suddenly everything will come together. Break the third egg into a mug and mix with a fork. Add enough of this egg to the mixture in the pan until the dough looks shiny and smooth. It might take the whole of the third egg.
4. Pop into a disposable piping bag with the end snipped off to make an opening of about 3cm in diameter.
5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (not greaseproof paper, that’s not non-stick unless greased). Pipe 12 lines of the pastry, trying to make them the same size and length. They need to be about 10cm each if you want to make 12.
6. If they have peaks at the end, just press them down gentle with a wet finger. Brush them all with some of the leftover beaten egg.
7. Switch the oven down to 180C and bake the little fingers for about 25 minutes. They’ll be golden and beautiful and crisp.
8. When they are cool, carefully split each one lengthways with a knife.
To make the creme patisserie:
1. Put the milk in a pan with the vanilla and bring to the boil.
2. While the milk is boiling, put the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and whisk them until the are pale and airy.
3. Add the hot milk to the bowl and whisk it all together until smooth. Put it all back into the saucepan over a medium heat. Keep whisking slowly. When it has thickened, pour it out of the pan and into a cold bowl. Cover the custard with clingfilm and press it down so it touches the surface.
To make the caramel:
1. Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cream, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk it together. Heat for about 10 minutes until it becomes sticky and thick. Resist the urge to stick your finger in. It will look amazing, but it’s ridiculously hot and dangerous, so please be careful.
To make the eclairs:
1. Fold the whipped cream into the cold creme patisserie and put it into a piping bag with the end snipped off.
2. Pipe the cream mixture into the bottom half of each of the eclairs.
3. Add a layer of banana.
4. Add another layer of the piped cream mixture before shutting the eclair sandwich.
5. Put the caramel into another disposable piping bag with the end snipped off. Pipe artistic drizzles over the top of the eclairs.
6. Eat one to test it and feel very smug that you made these beauties.
If you can manage to resist them, they’ll keep for a day or two in the fridge.
What do you think is the latest ‘new cupcake’? Have you made choux pastry before? Do you think it’s wrong to eat an eclair for breakfast? (Hypothetical question of course.)