Choux pastry was one of the first things that my Mom taught me how to make. When I say “taught me” I mean showed me how to do it, gave me some tips and then said, “Now go yourself and do it, the books are over there’. A pretty laissez fair approach I’m sure you’ll agree? Nonetheless these first tentative explorations of patisserie (sounds far more glamourous than I actually remember!) have given me a solid base from which to build and no doubt resulted in the lack of fear of trying choux pastry.
Eclairs have always been synonymous with “being a treat” for me. They were always in that separate part of the bakery shop display cabinet, away from jam doughnuts, vanilla slices and chester bread, basking in their own halo of the fluorescent bulb. Let me tell you this though- the eclairs I grew up on were a far cry from those gourmet, high-end ones seen today. I’m talking a childhood indulgence filled with sweetened cream and chocolate “flavoured” glaze. Sounds delish, huh? Well, back then it was.
So here is my take and what better way to pay homage to the memory of my mom (ala upcoming Mother’s Day) than take one of her first lessons to me and combine it with my knack for unexpected, “haute” flavours. I want you to enjoy creating these so, as I mention later, if the filling them in the way I describe sounds a bit daunting, or laborious, please feel free to fill them with just the cream and serve the coulis and pistachio butter alongside. They make wonderful dipping sauces!
I find the floral flavour of elderflower works so well with raspberry. The zing tart hit of the berry contrasting wonderfully with the regal, fresh floral note. Adding in the pistachio gives another depth of flavour with earthy, sweetness that seems to almost bridge to two flavours. If all of this sounds like a load of ol’ foodie jargon then let me just say this – these are damn good!
The use of SOMA Pistachio Butter here is in no way paid for or compensated by the manufacturer. I simply mention using it as I am a huge fan and have yet to find something fit for substitution.
Elderflower & Pistachio Eclairs #recipeTweet
- 250g cold water
- 65g butter
- 65g shortening
- 2g Kosher salt
- 5 eggs, whole and whisked together
- 185g Bread flour
Elderflower cream filling
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Elderflower syrup
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup SOMA pistachio butter
- 1 cup ruby chocolate callets
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Fresh raspberries, optional
- Slivered pistachios, optional
To make choux eclairs
- Line 2 baking trays with either Silpat mats, or non-stick baking parchment. Set aside until needed
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F
- Combine water, butter, shortening and salt together in a pot. Heat over a high hear until butter and shortening have melted, and the mixture is at a rolling boil
- Carefully add the bread flour in one go, and stir vigorously for at least 5 minutes until the mixture comes together in a ball, and cleans the sides of the pan
- Transfer cooked dough mixture in to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until bowl is cool to the touch and there is no more steam rising from the mixture
- Gradually add eggs, roughly one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition. The mixture may separate after each addition but keep whisking until it comes together again before adding more egg. Ensure the dough is not too runny. You may not need the last amount of egg*
- Transfer the choux dough to a medium piping bag fitted with a French star nozzle
- Pipe the choux dough onto your prepared baking trays in lengths 5-6 inches, ensure they are all the same size/length
- Transfer to you preheated oven and bake for 25mins, until risen, crisp and golden brown. DO NOT open the door before this time
- After the 25 minute mark turn the heat off, remove one tray from the oven leaving the other one in. Working quickly using a skewer, or chopstick narrow end, prick each eclair, place back on the tray and return them all to the oven. Repeat with the second tray
- When all eclairs have been pricked, leave in the oven cooling for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and leave in a draught-free area to cool fully.
To make Elderflower cream
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl
- Whisk until cream is thickened and semi-firm peaks are achieved
- Keep cool in the fridge until needed for filling
To make the Raspberry coulis
- In a small pan combine all the ingredients
- Heat on high heat until the berries start to break down and the mixture has started to boil
- Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
- After this time remove from heat, transfer to bowl and leave to cool fully
- Once fully cool, transfer to a piping bag, seal and set aside until needed
To prepare the pistachio butter
- Stir to ensure an even mixture
- Transfer to a small piping bag, seal and set aside until needed
To fill the choux eclairs**
- Once all your components have fully cooled, you cab set about filling
- Using the narrow point of a chopstick, or thick skewer, make a hole in the underside of each eclair, roughly midway along it’s length
- Fit a piping bag with a narrow filling nozzle (“Bismarck” style) and transfer the elderflower cream to this bag
- Insert the nozzle into the hole you made in the eclair and gently squeeze to pipe some filling in. Be careful not to fill completely as you will not be able to get any of the other fillings. (You may have to sacrifice one or two to gauge the correct amount of squeezing and filling. Tasty cast-offs nonetheless!)
- After filling all with the cream, snip the end of the piping bag with raspberry coulis so it’s narrow enough to fit in the hole in the eclair. Gently pipe some coulis in. You’ll find you won’t need to pipe it for as long
- Once all have been filled with the coulis, snip the end of the bag fitted with pistachio butter (again so it can fit into the hole) and gently pipe a little pistachio butter into each eclair
- When all the eclairs have been filled, place on a baking tray and transfer to the fridge while you prepare the chocolate glazing
To prepare chocolate glaze
- In a medium bowl (wide enough to be able to place your ecliars in), combine the ruby chocolate callets and butter
- Heat in a microwave for 10 seconds. Remove and stir for a minute
- Repeat, heating again for 10 seconds. Stir until mixture melts down further and is fully combined
- If any small pieces of chocolate remain, heat again for 5 SECONDS. Remove and stir until fully melted
- Have a cooling rack handy to place you finished eclairs on
- Remove the eclairs from the fridge and, gently but firmly holding, dip one by one into the melted chocolate so that the top half gets covered. As second dipping might be necessary.
- Gently shake to remove and excess chocolate, and place chocolate side up on the cooling rack to finish setting
- If your decorating them as suggested here, sprinkle with the pistachio slivers and pop some raspberries on the chocolate to your liking. I’d suggest decorating as you go along, or have someone helping you decorate, as the chocolate glaze can set by time you’ve dipped them all- making it harder for the finishing touches to stick
- Serve and enjoy!
*When adding you eggs to make the choux dough you may not need all of the eggs. To check you want a consistency of dough that will fall from your spatula leaving a V-shape hanging, or using your (clean) finger, run it lightly through the top of the mixture. It should leave a groove that doesn’t collapse into itself.
** I completely understand that doing the full filling process is fiddly and can require a bit of practice. If you prefer shortcut to take is just to fill the eclairs with the elderflower cream and finish them with the ruby chocolate glaze as above. These can them be served with some of the raspberry coulis and pistachio butter alongside. That way you get to experience of all the wonderful flavors without it being so fussy to fill!