I very nearly didn’t post this recipe because the eclairs didn’t come out quite as I’d imagined they would. Technically the pastry was, as far as I could tell, great, as was the creme patissiere. It was just the piping of the eclairs that let me down. I chose a nozzle that was too thin so the eclairs didn’t come out quite as wide as they were supposed to which meant that when I sliced them they tore quite easily 😔
However, they tasted great and everyone who tried them enjoyed them. The pastry was light and airy and the creme patissiere had a delicious burst of sourness from the pureed rhubarb running through it. So why would I not share the recipe?! I spend so much time scrolling through instagram, looking at beautiful pictures of food that I’ve lost sight of why I started blogging and I only wanted to share things I was 100% proud of. Yes, the quality of the photos I take and post will always be important to me, however, I hoped to share a realistic view of my baking/cooking life. This means not only showing y’all the things that turn out perfectly but also my failed/not so “blog worthy” recipes and pictures.
This year is all about trying new and challenging things in the kitchen so there’s obviously gonna be lots of disasters and failed attempts, and what better place to document my progress! A big part of me really wants to emphasise the fact that everything I make doesn’t turn out as picture worthy first time, so you don’t feel discouraged from trying to make things yourself. I know it can be intimidating when you see these perfectly round cakes which are iced with such precision it almost looks like its painted on. It makes you feel like you can never achieve such brilliance which is why you then don’t even bother trying to make them yourself. I feel ya. I’m with ya. I am that person too. But it’s time we all realised you can’t become a drip icing queen without ruining a few cakes along the way. You’re gonna see it all. The good, the burnt and the undercooked.
So my friends, may I introduce to you (well it’s not really an introduction as I am drawing to a close here) my FIRST ATTEMPT at making Choux Pastry and Creme Patissiere in the form of Rhubarb & Custard Eclairs (and a few profiteroles). I am currently sat on a train back to London from Somerset, and there’s nothing I’d like more than a cuppa coffee and an eclair 😔
I did a bit of research when it came to choosing a recipe for both the choux pastry and the creme patissiere. I initially looked in Paul Hollywood’s “How to Bake’ and found a recipe for eclairs which had a marscapone filling. I then did a google and found Raymond Blanc’s recipe featured on a couple of sites so I went with that. Here’s the original. I made up the rhubarb part myself.
Prep Time: 30mins
Cooking Time: 30-35mins
Difficulty: Tricky (but don’t let that put you off, remember we’ve gotta make all the mistakes before we are pros)
*if you pipe choux pastry using the correct nozzle you should get 10 eclairs. If you have any excess pastry, make a few mini eclairs or profiteroles.
Mixing bowl x2
Piping bag x 2
Nozzle (1.5cm plain)
Baking tray x 2 (lined with baking parchment)
200g caster sugar
65ml whole milk
55g unsalted butter (room temperature)
1tsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
100g plain flour
4 eggs (beaten)
500ml whole milk
1tbsp vanilla essence
6 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
25g plain flour
25g corn flour
125g icing sugar
2tbsp rhubarb poaching water
pink food colouring (optional)
- Begin by preparing the rhubarb. Trim the ends and cut into 2 inch pieces. Cut each piece into 3-4 strips ➔ place each piece round, base side down and then cut vertically. **
- Mix together water and caster sugar and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
- Add the pieces of rhubarb and simmer for 5mins. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
- CHOUX PASTRY: Preheat oven to 170c/150c fan/gas 3. Add the water, milk and butter to a pan and heat gently melting the butter, and bring to the boil.
- Immediately remove from the heat and add flour. Beat well with a wooden spoon to form a smooth dough.
- Return to medium heat stir continuously and cook for 1 min until dough comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.
- Vigorously beat in the eggs, a little at a time (you don’t want scrambled eggs so make sure it is only a little at a time and a vigorous beating) ➔ the dough will become stiff and glossy and has dropping consistency. Stop adding the egg if it is too loose.
- Spoon dough into a piping bag and leave to cool for 5mins.
- On to a lined baking tray pipe, 12 16 inch eclairs (about 6 on each tray). Place in the oven and bake for 30-35mins until golden brown.
- Transfer ecalairs onto a cooling rack and slice in half immediately ➔ this prevents them becoming soggy from condensation as they cool. +
- CREME PATISSIERE: Whilst the choux buns are baking, make the filling by putting the milk and vanilla essence in a heavy based saucepan and brining to boil over a medium heat. Simmer gently for 5mins. Leave to cool for 30seconds.
- Whilst the milk is simmering, in a mixing bowl whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the mix is a pale straw colour. Whisk in the flour and the corn flour.
- Pour the milk into the egg mix whilst whisking continuously.
- Return to pan and whilst continuously mixing, heat over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, lower heat and cook for about 1min until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
- Drain the poached rhubarb saving the liquid in bowl. Set half of the pieces aside ➔ these will be used to top the eclairs so save the whole pieces.
- Blend remaining rhubarb until smooth.
- Gently fold the pureed rhubarb into the creme patissiere.
- Once the pastry has cooled. Fill a clean piping bag with creme patissiere and rhubarb filling and pipe into the cut ecalirs.
- Mix together icing sugar and rhubarb poaching water (add a couple of drops of food colouring if you want a brighter pink colour).
- Using a spoon, cover the top of each eclair with icing. Top with 2-3 slithers of poached rhubarb. Eat. Immediately.
** The rhubarb I used was thin so I only needed to cut in half. The thicker the rhubarb the more slices you will want, you want each 2 inch piece to be about 0.3-0.5cm thin.
+ I didn’t slice all the way through so both halves were still attached.
YOU CHOUX’D ABSOTOOTLEY MAKE THESE
I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed for LCD Soundsystem to be at Glastonbury…