Ingredients for the choux pastry
65ml milk 50g butter, in cubes, plus a little extra for greasing
75g plain flour, sifted
110g eggs, around 2 large eggs
disposable piping bag
round nozzle, 12 mm
small pâtisserie brush
For the pumpkin pastry cream
150g pumpkin purée
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
250ml whole milk
70g caster sugar
20g corn flour (or custard powder)
2 large egg yolks (around 40g yolk)
40g unsalted butter, in cubes
Disposable piping bag
Small nozzle, 8mm
For the black and orange Halloween fondant icing
500g caster sugar
superfast thermapen thermometer
natural black food colour
natural orange food colour
100g caster sugar 100g water
Method... for the éclairs
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Grease two baking trays with butter.
2. Heat the water, milk, butter, salt and caster sugar in a pan until the butter has melted.
3. Away from the heat immediately tip in the flour and, using a wooden spoon, beat to combine.
4. Move the pan back over a low heat, and stir the mixture (known as a ‘panade’) until it comes away easily from the sides of the pan.
5. Remove from the heat, tip into a bowl and stir for 2-3 minutes until the mixture cools enough to add the egg.
6. Add half the eggs in one go and beat vigorously to combine. Then slowly add the remaining egg, little by little – you may not need to use all of it! Keep checking the consistency. The mixture is ready when it looks very silky, and will drop from a spoon held at an angle above the mixture – ‘dropping consistency’ . It shouldn't be runny.
7. Place the nozzle in the piping bag and fill with the mixture. Pipe 13cm lengths on the baking parchment.
8. Use a pastry brush dipped in any remaining egg to gently pat the surface of the choux pastry. Try to make the shape more regular without flattening it too much.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 200°C. Be sure not to open the oven for the first ten minutes as the éclairs may deflate.
Note: The éclairs can be frozen raw directly on the baking trays, after they are piped. When the piped mixture is firm, feel free to bunch them in closer together or store in a box to make more room in the freezer. Simply add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time from frozen.
To make the pumpkin cream
1. In a bowl mix the pumpkin purée with the ground nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.
2. Next make the pastry cream. Place the milk and roughly half the sugar in a pan and bring to the boil.
3. Meanwhile mix together the remaining sugar with the corn flour or custard powder. Add the egg yolk and mix with a whisk to make a thick paste.
4. Pour a small amount of the boiling milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add it to the rest of the milk and return to the hob over a medium heat, whisking constantly. When it starts to boil reduce the heat whilst continuing to whisk for a minute in order to pasteurise the cream.
5. Remove from the heat and add the cubes of butter along with the spiced pumpkin purée.
6. Pour it onto a baking tray or plate covered in cling film. Cover with another layer of cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
7. Use a small round nozzle to make three small holes in the underside of the éclairs, two near the ends and one in the middle.
8. Place the same nozzle in a piping bag and fill with the pumpkin pastry cream.
9. Hold the éclairs in one hand and use your dominant hand to pipe the cream into the éclairs through each of the three holes.
10. Scrape away any excess that comes out of the holes and refrigerate whilst you prepare the fondant icing.
To make the fondant icing
1. Begin by preparing a simple syrup using 100g water and 100g caster sugar. Bring the water and sugar to the boil in a pan. Set to one side and allow to cool.
2. Place a bowl of cold tap water in the sink.
3. For the fondant, bring the 500g caster sugar and 100g water to the boil in a pan.
4. Using a thermapen thermometer, heat the syrup to 115°C.
5. Cool the fondant syrup to 75°C by carefully placing the bottom of the pan in the bowl of cold water you have prepared in the sink. This will take a few minutes.
6. Pour the fondant syrup into a stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat hard for around 10 minutes until the fondant is white and solidified.
7. Transfer ¾ of the fondant to a small pan, just wide enough to fit an éclair inside.
8. Using a spoon beat the fondant vigorously whilst heating it over a very low heat.
9. The fondant should not exceed 35°C or it will not shine so it should not feel warm when you dip your finger in it.
10. Add 1-2 teaspoons of the simple syrup and a teaspoon of black food colour, and stir vigorously until the fondant is smooth and shiny. The fondant should not be too liquid or it will run everywhere when you try to ice the éclairs.Ice the éclairs by holding them horizontally with the fingertips of both hands and lowering them into the fondant. Shake up and down to remove excess fondant and then set aside.
11. Add orange food colouring to the remaining white fondant along with 1 or 2 tablespoons of simple syrup until you have a smooth liquid paste. This can be considerably more liquid than the black fondant as you will be piping it over the éclairs.
12. Make a cornet out of baking parchment, fill with the orange fondant and pipe evenly spaced lines along the length of the éclairs.
13. Take a small knife and drag it over the surface of the fondant at regular intervals to form a spider web pattern.
14. Refrigerate the éclairs until ready to serve, preferably the same day.
Note: Fondant will keep in the fridge for up to a year if wrapped tightly in cling film, so it can be reused again and again.