Once you’ve mastered choux pastry, you can make éclairs, profiteroles, cream puffs and even cheese puffs, so this is a great recipe to learn. And choux pastry is much easier to make than you would think. I used the choux pastry to make chocolate éclairs, a classic treat, but this recipe would work equally well with any of the Natrel Flavoured Milks to flavour the pastry cream.
To make the pastry cream
- Place a strainer over a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is very light in colour. Whisk in the flour and then the cornstarch. Beat until smooth. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat the milk on medium-high. Bring to almost a boil and then remove from heat.
- Pour the hot milk over the egg mixture and whisk well. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return the pan to the stove.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook for 1 minute. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and transfer the pastry cream to the strainer. Whisk it through the strainer into the bowl. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap pressed down onto the surface. Refrigerate for at least several hours or overnight.
To make the choux pastry and éclair shells
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a couple of large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Bring the water, milk and butter to a boil. Mix in the salt and the sugar. Add the flour and stir vigorously using a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick and lumpy. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and consistent with a glossy shine. There will be a thin floury film that adheres to the bottom of the pan (that’s normal!).
- Transfer the mixture to an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before you add the next.
- Transfer the dough to a piping fitted with a large tip (at least 12 mm). Pipe the éclairs onto the parchment-lined sheets, spacing them at least 1.5” apart.
- Bake the éclairs for 35 to 45 minutes (until they are an even golden brown). Never open the oven. If you do, they may collapse and you will end up with pancakes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool enough to touch. Slice them in half horizontally. Let cool completely before filling them.
To make the chocolate ganache
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan. When the cream is hot, but not boiling, pour the cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute and then stir slowly and continuously until the chocolate has completely melted and the ganache is glossy and runny.
- Let the ganache stand for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken to a spreadable consistency.
To assemble the éclairs
- Take the pastry cream out of the fridge. Remove the plastic wrap. Whisk the pastry cream to loosen it. Whisk in the vanilla. Working with about half of the pastry cream at a time, fill a piping bag fitted with a small 6 to 8 mm tip and pipe the cream onto each bottom half of the éclair shells.
- When the ganache has thickened a little, smear the top halves of the éclair shells with ganache. Place the éclair tops on the filled bottoms.
- Serve the éclairs immediately or refrigerate before serving.