Is the Eclair really the new cupcake ? baking Chocolate Eclairs today…..

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As the sale of the cupcake declines, we see a global rise of 23 per cent in the sale of the eclair….So is it possible for the eclair to take over and reinvent itself as the trendiest pastry around ?

The chocolate eclair has been a traditional pastry since the 19th century, but now we are seeing the introduction of new flavored fillings and toppings, from jasmine to green tea and I am sure somewhere… some place, there already exists a red velvet eclair, and if not, without doubt we will see its appearance very soon.

Eclairs are here to stay, they have been here forever and will certainly not go away but as to whether home bakers will spare the time and patience to devote the extra attention required to bake a perfect eclair, this I am not quite sure of yet…. And I am also not convinced that young mums will really want to see their toddlers getting hooked on all that cream…. Unless of course we can fill them with something that appears to be a little healthier like ricotta ?

Today I am baking the traditional chocolate eclair that I love so much. Dipped in melted chocolate, it tastes and looks totally divine …

Over the next few weeks I am going to try out various combinations as I am curious and right now I am trying to work out in my head if it would be feasible to create a good tasting, full of flavor savory eclair? Who knows, we must experiment with some new recipes and find out !

I use this basic recipe for my Chocolate Eclairs today and find it is excellent. You need to make sure that your measurements are accurate. I like to weigh my liquids too so for this recipe you would weigh 250g liquid as opposed to measuring 250 ml. It is also important not to open your oven to ‘check’ for the first 25 minutes of baking, otherwise the eclair will not be hollow and light. The last hint is to add your eggs very
gradually and if you achieve dropping consistency, then do not add any more egg. You will need :

250 ml water
125g butter
120g strong flour
3 to 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 220 C and place a large pan of water at the bottom of the oven so that there is moisture in the oven.

Put the water in a saucepan and add the butter cut into small pieces
Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Add sieved flour and mix well. I use a wooden spoon.
Return to moderate heat and stir continuously until mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Beat the eggs in a separate container and gradually add to the pan.
Do not add all the eggs at once and stop when the mixture is at dropping consistency. A good test for this is to check that the mixture flows back when it is stirred on one direction.
Place in piping bag with a nozzle of your choice and pipe onto a baking sheet.
Bake at 220 C for 25 minutes without opening door.
Bake further if required.
Allow to cool.
Cut open and pipe a filling of your choice.

Today I am leaving them unfilled but I am dipping them into melted chocolate and use a large packet of chocolate buttons melted in the microwave. My recipe is featured in Fun Recipe World

A friend of mine who lives in New York treats herself to an eclair from Francois Payard at the end of each week and they look to die for and if you are in London you must visit Selfridges and try their eclairs as recommended by Michel Roux ….and more on home made Eclairs very soon ….

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