Ok it’s time for another MVK tries and this time we are attempting to make Paul Hollywood’s chocolate eclairs. You know the chap from the great british bake off, I fancied taking on a challenge and trying his version for comparison! All I can say is, wow! This really did blow me away and my piping was awful but still made it work! The recipe source is from bbc food and i’ll add it below, i’ve just tweaked the topping a little in the ingredients, but figured i’d do this in my own words.
First thing you need to do is sieve some flour onto some baking parchment, I did this on a silpat. Essentially we are doing this to make a little quick funnel run off to tip the sieved flower in quickly in a moment.
Warm a medium saucepan and add the water, salt and butter, heat gently breaking down the butter with a spatula. Don’t let it boil apparently so we don’t lose any of the fluid. Instead, once the water and butter mixture is melted turn the heat to high and as soon as it boils dump in the flour, turn the heat off the hob and beat it together with the spatula so it bonds together, it will be rough at first but keep going and it will start to become a bit like play dough. Return it to the heat for a minute or 2 on a low flame stirring still until it comes together as one lump. Allow this mixture to cool to room temperature in a mixing bowl.
Once it has cooled gradually add in the beaten egg, stirring as you go, you’ll use most of it, keep beating it until smooth. The bbc recipe says you can whisk it but the spatula worked well just add the egg gradually and beat as needed as and when. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a large nozzle using a glass to help you (as seen in the video, if you need to).
Pipe relatively thick lines onto a lined baking tray and spread apart, make the strips 4 to 5 inches long. Flick a little water on the baking tray around the pastry, not on it. This will help it steam. Place into a pre-heated oven at 180c fan or alternative and bake for 15 mins. Do not open the oven at any point! After 15 mins lower the heat to 150c fan or equivalent and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and make a small incision with a knife in the side of the eclairs and quickly return to the oven, this will help it hold it’s shape and not flatten. Leave in the oven for 5 minutes at the same heat, then turn the oven off and leave them in there for another few minutes before leaving on a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile whip the cream in a bowl until just thickened, adding the vanilla and icing sugar, get it fairly thickened then transfer to a piping bag. Also melt the chocolate on blasts in a microwave for 30 seconds, I used a mix of milk and dark chocolate as I wanted a little shine on the surface. Make an incision in the eclairs along the sides and pipe the cream into them. Dunk into the chocolate one at a time on the tops and leave to cool / set on a wire rack and in the fridge respectively. Insane!
Recipe originates from https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/pauls_chocolate_clairs_59944