Secrets of Eclairs
For 6 to 8 éclairs
PreParation time 1 hour 35 minutes
cooking time 1 hour 30 minutes / oven 150°c (300°F/gas 2)
Recipes and images taken from Secrets of Eclairs by Marianne Magnier-Moreno (£8.99), published by Murdoch Books.
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You Will Need
hazelnut crème pâtissière
Preheat oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Make a plain crème pâtissière using all the ingredients except the hazelnuts. Cover with plastic wrap placed in direct contact with the crème to prevent it forming a skin and refrigerate it. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray. Bake for about 30 minutes: they should be very brown, almost black. Allow to cool and set 50 g (13?4 oz/1/3 cup) aside for decorating. Crush the rest. Mix them into the cooled crème, whisking vigorously. Re-cover the crème and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2). Make the choux pastry dough and use this to fill a piping bag fitted with
a plain 20 mm nozzle. Position at a 45 degree angle in relation to the baking tray and push out the mixture while moving the bag in one clean movement to give the éclair a nice straight shape; apply an even pressure to piping bag so that the tube of mixture that comes out has the same diameter as the nozzle. When the éclair is 14 cm (51?2 inches) long, cut off the mixture with a smooth-bladed knife. If necessary, smooth the éclairs with some of the beaten egg left over from making the pastry or else with water. Bake for 55–60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow
to cool on a wire rack.
Once the éclairs have cooled, fill them with the hazelnut crème pâtissière.
the icing: fondant + hazelnut pieces
Chop the reserved roasted hazelnuts into small pieces. Heat the fondant icing with a few drops of water over a very low heat, stirring. When the mixture is (a little below body temperature) about 35°C/95°F, add
some lukewarm water until you have an icing that drops from the spatula without merging immediately with the rest of the fondant. Remove from the heat. Dip the top of an éclair into the icing, then hold it vertically and run a finger over it to remove the excess icing. Run a finger around the edge of the icing so you have a nice clean edge and arrange the pieces of hazelnut on top straight away. Ice and decorate the other éclairs in the same way, taking care to stir the fondant well before each dipping.