Le Cordon Bleu's Pastry School
Makes 15 éclairs
Preparation time: 1 hour + 15 minutes for the choux pastry + 15 minutes for the pastry cream – Baking time: 35 minutes
Chilling time: 1 hour 15 minutes – Storage: 2 days in the refrigerator
The fragrant and delicate violet is one of the oldest edible flowers in use. It is associated with the city of Toulouse, where it is found mainly as sugar-frosted flowers and used in pastries, but also in the form of essence used to flavour all sorts of indulgences. Try combining the flavour of violet with its colour by tinting your creams, macarons and glazes with violet food colouring.
You Will Need
For the craquelin
1 – Combine the butter, flour and sugar in a bowl. Mix with your fingers to form a dough, then smear (fraser) to a smooth consistency. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
2 – Transfer the craquelin dough to a floured sheet of baking parchment and roll it out very finely with a rolling pin.
For the choux pastry and éclairs
3 – Fill a piping bag fitted with the size PF16 nozzle with the choux pastry (see recipe on page below). Line a baking tray with baking parchment and pipe thick strips of choux pastry 10 cm long in staggered rows to keep separate.
4 – Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Cut the craquelin into 10 x 2-cm strips and lay one strip on each choux pastry strip. Bake for 35 minutes, slightly opening the oven door every 2 minutes to vent the steam.
For the violet pastry cream
5 – Put the hot pastry cream (see recipe on page 480) into a bowl and incorporate the violet essence. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then whisk the cream to smooth. Fill a piping bag fitted with the size 10 nozzle.
Assembly and decoration
6 – Make three holes on the underside of each éclair by piercing with the size 6 piping nozzle, turning it a little. Fill the éclairs with the violet pastry cream by piping it through the holes. Use a teaspoon to remove the excess cream.
7 – Finely roll out the fondant and cut out 10 x 2-cm strips.
8 – Use a teaspoon to spread a little jam on each éclair, and top with a fondant strip.
9 – Mix the neutral glaze with a pinch of food colouring and a pinch of silver glitter, then dip the surface of the éclairs in the glaze and smooth with your finger. Decorate with silver sugar pearls.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Makes 500 g choux pastry
170 ml milk, 70 g unsalted butter, 7 g sugar,
1/2 tsp fine salt, 100 g plain flour,
3 eggs (150 g)
Adjust the quantity of ingredients to your chosen recipe. Choux pastry, a French pastry classic, is the base for many traditional preparations, including éclairs, chouquettes, religieuses, choux puffs, and even the Saint-Honoré cake and Paris-Brest.
Follow this method, step by step, to obtain a consistent, even-textured pastry that will provide best results once baked.
1 In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, sugar and salt until the butter melts completely. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat, then tip in all the flour at once.
2 Mix with a wooden spoon to make a smooth, uniform paste that wraps around the spoon.
3 Place the pastry back on the hob to dry, stirring until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
4 Transfer the dough to a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes.
5 Mix in the beaten eggs little by little by beating them in with a spoon, reserving a little egg to test the dough.
6 Next, test the dough to see if it is ready to use: scoop up a little with the spoon, then let it drop. If it makes a ‘V’ as it falls from the spoon, it is ready. If not, add a little more beaten egg and repeat the test.