For almost a year, I indulged in French patisserie like there was going to be no tomorrow. Picture… my 20 year old self… living far from home and family… working in a high school (lycée) in the South of France… feeling homesick at times… often frustrated by the antics of my puberty-stricken students… but thankfully, more often than not, delighting in the company that I kept, along with the food, wine and lifestyle of my beautiful adopted country. I really must confess that I must have been in complete denial that so many ‘tartes aux framboises’, ‘croques-monsieurs’, ‘poulet-frites’ and ‘ficelles’ slathered with Nutella could possibly cause a transformation of my general body shape. Oh dear… the wine and beer as well! My wage while working as an English ‘Assistante’ was certainly not a grand one, so I hate to now think how much of it I invested in the local patisserie/boulangerie and inevitably in that burgeoning waist-line.
Alas, the days of over-indulging in the richest of French food are over. Moderation is most certainly the key my friends! So despite my story of weight-gain through patisserie, I ask you to ignore all that I’ve said above and please join me in partaking of this absolutely delicious afternoon treat… just be sure not to eat them all in one sitting! Eclairs are fun and easy (yes… EASY!) to make. Give them a go!
French Chocolate Eclairs (Éclairs au Chocolat) | Gather and Graze
- ½ Quantity Choux Pastry (Recipe Here)
- 300ml/1¼ Cups Heavy Cream
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 115g/½ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
- 125ml/½ Cup Water
- 60g/⅓ Cup (70% Cocoa) Dark Chocolate (Chopped)
- 30g/2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Chopped)
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking/parchment paper.
Prepare the Choux pastry dough as per the recipe for Profitéroles (in the link above), but instead of piping round puffs onto the baking trays, pipe long sausage shapes instead.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp all over. As soon as they are out of the oven, move them onto a cooling rack and place a little slit in the side of each one to allow any steam to escape from the middle. Allow to cool completely.
Whip the cream and vanilla extract to medium peaks, then set aside in the fridge until the chocolate glaze is ready to go.
To make the chocolate glaze, combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved completely. Bring to a boil and allow to boil rapidly for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down a little, before adding in the chocolate and butter. Stir again until completely melted and combined. As it cools a little more it will start to thicken.
Using a piping bag, pipe the whipped cream into the middle of the eclairs through the same slit that was cut to allow any steam out.
Now spoon over the still slightly warm chocolate glaze. Place back on the cooling rack and allow the glaze to set for a minutes, before serving.
- The method for making the chocolate glaze was adapted from that of a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe.