I’m the sort of person if you tell me I can’t do it, I’ll give it my all to prove you wrong. This was also the case when I was about 16. It was my Grandfather’s birthday and I wanted to make something nice. Mum had mentioned that he had fallen in love with the profiterole since living in France. So with this I decided to make a mini croquembouche for him. Mum had warned me: ‘they’re hard to make, my oven isn’t good enough, they’ll surely ruin, it’ll be a waste of time’ but this only fueled my determination to make the best goddamn croquembouche a 16 year old could make! That was it – I had set my mind to it. Mum was happy to help out. Now don’t forget, this was the late 90s, before the days of Googling for a good recipe if you didn’t have one. Luckily for me Mum found a recipe in her old French cooking book and translated it for me so I could get cracking on my mega-creation. This book was the real deal.
As it turns out, my choux pastry was perfect and I nailed the custard! I filled half the batch with coffee and the other half chocolate. I covered them all in toffee and oh my… they were delicious. I’ve never seen a smile so wide on my Grandfather’s face.
I’ve been meaning to make these little guys again, ever since starting the blog two years ago. Although these are eclairs, they’re essentially the same thing (plus I had my mum’s vintage eclair tray that I’ve wanted to use!). These are sooooo good for a special occasion (as it turns out I had a birthday party I could take them to) but I wont lie – it’s a bit of a process, but it’s definitely worth it. This is the first time I’ve made a salted caramel version so I slightly altered my original recipe. I hope you enjoy them!
What’s your favourite French pastry? I have another favourite that comes a close second to these which I hope to bake for you soon ;)
Makes about 20-24 10cm long eclairs.
1 cup water1 cup flour, siftedsalt4 eggs – lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Bring butter and water to boil, remove from heat and add sifted flour and salt. Return to heat, all the time beating mixture until it forms one ball and leaves the sides of the saucepan, roughly 3 minutes.
2. Place pastry into a mixer and beat until it cools to a luke warm temperature. Then slowly add in the eggs until it’s all thoroughly incorporated. Place the pastry into a piping bag and pipe 10cm lines onto a lined baking tray (or you could make mini versions). Let cook for roughly 30 minutes or until golden brown.
1/2 litre milk
60g flour1 cup sugar1/4 cup water1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk – lightly whiskedpinch of salt
1. Place 3/4 cup of sugar and the water into a heavy based saucepan. Let the sugar boil for 8-10 minutes or until the sugar turns a caramel colour. You should also be able to smell once it has caramelised. Take the pan off the heat and place the base in some cold water. This will stop the sugar from burning. Add the milk a little at a time and then place back on the heat on low. Keep stirring, the caramel will harden but then soften and melt as the milk warms up.
2. In a separate bowl mix the remaining sugar, flour and salt. Slowly add the eggs whilst beating the mixture to prevent lumps. Add this to the pan of milk a little at a time and just keep mixing for 2-3 minutes! If all else fails and the mixture becomes lumpy you can always bamix it. (I did!) You’ll need to get rid of all the lumps as this may cause issues when piping into the pasty.
3. Place the custard into a piping bag. Create a small hole in the end of the pastry and poke the nozzle into the end and pipe! Hold the eclair and you should be able to feel when it’s full.
150g soft dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons of golden syrup
50ml of double cream
A generous pinch of good quality salt to serve – I used Murry River Pink Salt
1. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cream and whisk together. Bring to a steady simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before drizzling over the top. Sprinkle with a little salt
** These are the quantities I used. I actually doubled the initial choux pastry recipe I used but only made a single batch of custard (I didn’t quite have enough milk at the time to make two). I found the custard filled almost all the choux pastry casings but I did have piping bag problems (it went everywhere) and thought it may be enough after all. Please let me know how you find the quantities. Please email me with any questions.