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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Elderflower & Blackcurrant Eclairs


Summer seems to be finally here.  Today the sun has shone all day.  This morning I ventured out for a walk with Kate and her dog, then we nipped to a local coffee chain for hazelnut lattes before playing with all the dog toys in 'Pets at Home'.  When I returned home I decided to try out a recipe that I have been thinking about for a while.  This recipe, Elderflower & Blackcurrant Eclairs, is one of what I am calling my 'summer flavours that go together' collection.  

Over the next flew blog post I will be presenting a range of recipes where fruit is the theme.  Seasonal fruit would be my ideal choice however I will be travelling the world a little - you will see.

The last time I made eclairs was at school.  I remember well watching my home economics teacher demonstrating how to make choux pasty.  I remember she used a handheld mixer to beat the eggs in to the flour, so did the same (any excuse to use my newest gadget, another Kitchenaid to all to the collection.  Delia states to use strong plain flour, however Raymond Blanc just says use plain.  This recipe uses plain because I happened to have it in.  Next time I will give strong flour ago.  This eclairs turned out well and as you will see from the photos I created small 'two bite' pieces and a few larger 'three bite' ones.  

Elderflower cordial is quite easy to get hold of, my local coop stocked it in their bottle juice section.  The blackcurrant preserve was also from the coop.  My tip is to use a pastry brush to apply the glaze, it gives a more uniform finish and stops excess dripping.



Elderflower & Blackcurrant Eclairs
makes roughly 16 small or 12 large.

For the choux pastry
4 tbsp water
4 tbsp whole milk
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch salt
100g plain flour
3 large eggs, room temp, beaten.

For the elderflower filling
3 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
30g cornflour
30g plain flour
50ml whole milk
6 tbsp elderflower cordial
300ml double cream

For the glaze
70g sifted icing sugar
100g blackcurrant preserve
2tsp lemon juice

Start by preheating the oven to 170C.

In a medium sauce pan place the water, milk, butter and salt.  Bring to a boil over a high heat.

Remove from the heat and place an electric whisk in the pan, turn on medium and add the flour.  Mix, you will get a crumbly mixture.

 
With the mixer running, pour in the egg mixture, a bit at a time.  Allow it to work in.  As you add the egg the mixture will start to soften and become glossy.

 
Transfer to a piping bag, fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle.  Allow the mixture to sit and cool slightly while you prepare two baking sheets (prepare by lining with grease proof).



Pipe short or longer eclairs.  Use a knife to cut the end off each time.  It is easy once you get started.  Make sure you leave a good gap between each one as they do rise a little.


    
Place in the hot oven and bake for 30minutes.  Remove on to a while rack to cool.


To make the filling.  Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl.



Heat the milk in a saucepan (small pan).

Sift in the flours to the egg yolk mix and beat.  It will form a thick paste.  



Pour over the hot milk and mix.  Add in the elderflower cordial and mix.

Transfer back to the pan and over a medium-high heat, mix until the mixture thickens.  This can take up to 4 minutes.  It will become very thick.



Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film.  Press the cling on top of the mixture to stop a skin forming while it cools.  



When cooled, lightly whip the cream and then mix in the elderflower mixture.  Mix until thick and smooth.  I used a machine but you could it by hand if you like.

 
Cut each eclair in half - long ways.
Using a pipping bag, fitted with a star nozzle, pipe a generous amount in to each eclair, and sandwich back together.

 



To make the glaze.  Simply sift the icing sugar in to a bowl.  Spoon in the preserve and add the lemon juice.  Mix together.  If your preserve has berries in it, press them with the back of the spoon to break them up.


 


Use a pasty brush to apply a thick layer on to each eclair.  Store in an airtight box in the fridge until ready to eat.  Its better to leave overnight for the choux pasty to soften slightly.


Enjoy.