Choux pastry is such a versatile pastry to master it can be used for both sweet and savoury fillings. The most important point to remember when preparing the dough is use room temperature butter cut into cubes so that the water boils and the butter melts at the same time, Only add enough egg to make a stiff dough, if it is too soft it will not not rise and form a cavity.
Makes 12-14 eclairs
150g flour, sifted onto a piece of greaseproof paper
Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Put the butter and water into a pot and bring to the boil. As it boils and the butter melts, remove from the heat and tip in the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture forms a ball.
Put the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. Use the whisk attachment and give the mixture a quick beat to help release some steam. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
Turn the machine on and beat adding the eggs one at a time. Beat each egg until very well incorporated. When adding the 3rd and 4th egg add it a little at a time to ensure you do not add too much. Only add enough egg until the mixture is thick and glossy. The amount of egg you add will also depend on the size eggs you use.
To make eclairs draw a 10-12cm line on the back of some non-stick baking paper which you then place face down on a baking tray. Use a 1cm wide plain nozzle and fill a piping bag with the mixture. Pipe strips of the mixture onto the lines. Dip a fork into some of the left-over beaten egg and pierce the dough a few times. This will help the choux pastry rise more evenly.
To make choux buns pipe mounds of dough spaced apart onto a baking tray lined with non stick baking paper. Prick the dough with the fork dipped in beaten egg.
Place the tray in the oven for 5 minutes then turn the oven down to 180C and bake for 15-20 minutes until the buns have risen and are golden brown. Take each bun or eclair and pierce it to release the steam. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes to dry out. I like to make a little hole in the base of choux buns then squeeze in the filling through this hole. For eclairs I cut a slit along the one side. Use this slit to slice the eclairs in half once cooled to enable you to fill it.
Allow to cool completely before filling and glazing.
The choux pastry can be filled either with whipped cream or creme patisserie.
I used creme patisserie flavoured with grated tonka beans for my filling.
200g dark chocolate discs
60ml golden syrup
Combine all the ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Allow to cool and thicken before glazing the eclairs. Refrigerate the filled and glazed eclairs until ready to serve.