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Claire Clark's springtime eclairs

22 MARCH 2013
Dish type: Dessert

Makes 24

Ingredients

For the fondant icing
300g (10 ½ oz) icing sugar
65ml water
1 tbsp Dr. Oetker Liquid Glucose
Dr. Oetker Sprinkles
Dr. Oetker Gel Food Colours

For the choux pastry

75g (2 ½ oz) plain flour
½ tsp caster sugar
125ml water
50g (2oz) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus a little melted butter for greasing
½ tsp salt
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten

For the pastry cream

30g (1oz) plain flour
30g (1oz) cornflour
4 medium egg yolks
125g (4 ½ oz) caster sugar
600ml whole milk
Dr. Oetker Natural Extracts
Dr. Oetker Gel Food Colours

Method

1. Start making the fondant icing the day before. Place the icing sugar, water and Liquid Glucose in a medium pan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches 33°C (92°F) on a sugar thermometer. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Add your desired Gel Food Colours, fold in the colour and cover the surface with cling film and leave to cool at room temperature.

2. To make the choux pastry, sift the flour and sugar onto a sheet of baking parchment. Put the water, butter and salt into a small pan and bring to the boil over a high heat. As soon as it comes to the boil, tip in the flour and sugar and stir constantly until it forms a ball in the centre of the pan. Keep stirring over a medium heat for about 1 minute to dry out the mixture. Be careful not to let it dry out too much or the éclairs will crack when cooked.

3. Immediately transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir briefly and then gradually work in the beaten eggs a little at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat to a smooth paste with a wooden spoon; the mixture should be thick enough to drop from the spoon when gently shaken.

4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C Fan, 400°F, Gas Mark 6). Spray 2 baking sheets with Cake Release Spray to grease. Place the choux paste in a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (½ inch) plain nozzle and pipe it on the baking sheets in lines about 12cm (5 inches) long, leaving at least 2.5cm (1 inch) between each one.

5. Place at top of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Turn the oven down to 180°C (350 °F, Gas Mark 4) and continue to cook until the éclairs are firm and dry on the inside. You can check this by breaking one open and making sure there is no soft dough left inside the shells.

6. Transfer the éclairs onto a wire rack to cool. Once they are cold, make 2 holes at either end of the base of each one. You can do this by pushing the tip of a 5mm (¼ inch) plain piping nozzle into the éclair.

7. For the pastry cream, sift the flour into a bowl, add the cornflour, then mix in the egg yolks and sugar to form a smooth paste. Bring the milk to boil in a pan. Pour the boiling milk onto the egg mixture and stir well. Return the mixture to a clean pan and whisk continuously over a medium heat until it returns to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and when cooled, add the desired Natural Extracts and Gel Food Colours.

8. Whisk the cold pastry cream until it is smooth then fill a piping bag fitted with a 5mm (¼ inch) plain nozzle. Pipe the cream into the éclairs from either end through the holes you made earlier. The mix will come out of the opposite hole when the éclair is full.

9. Place each the coloured fondant icings into a separate small pan that is big enough to dip the éclairs into and gently heat to approx. 32°C (90°F). Dip the top of each éclair into the desired coloured, warmed, fondant then hold the éclair at an angle pointed down toward the pan of icing and gently remove any excess fondant with your finger, so the top is neat and tidy. Place the éclairs on a tray lined with baking parchment and finish with your chosen Sprinkles. Leave for a few minutes for the fondant to firm slightly and serve.

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