Eclairs (contrary to popular belief) are pretty easy to make from scratch. You can go classic chocolate and cream or mix up the flavours. Sharp raspberry and fragrant rose water cut perfectly through whipped cream and white chocolate. Great for a tea time treat and best made with Burford Brown eggs for a lovely orange, perfectly puffed choux pastry.
65g unsalted butter
100g strong bread flour
3 large Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs, cracked into a jug
350ml double cream
250g fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon icing sugar
200g good quality white chocolate
Sugared rose petals (optional)
2 teaspoons freeze dried raspberries, crushed
Pre-heat the oven to 200c (fan)/ 400 f/ gas mark 6. Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Mark 6 evenly spaced 12cm lines on each sheet of greaseproof. These lines will act as a guide for piping the eclairs. Have a large piping bag ready fitted with a large round nozzle.
Place the butter and 150ml water in a large saucepan and put on a medium heat until the butter has melted, allow the water to come to the boil and as soon as it does switch off the heat and then quickly tip all of the flour into the pan at once. As quickly as possible mix everything together with a wooden spoon, as you mix you’ll see the lumpy dough transform into a smooth dough that comes away from the sides of the pan. Mix most of the egg into the pan a little at a time mixing well and looking for the desired “dropping” consistency.
Transfer the mixture to the piping bag and pipe the mixture confidently along the drawn lines. Once the mixture is piped place the trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. After that time reduce the heat to 180c and bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes or until golden and well risen. Turn off the oven and leave the eclairs to harden a little for 5 minutes. Make a little slit in the end of each eclair to allow the steam to escape and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, pick 12 perfect raspberries to one side and place the rest of the raspberries in a small mixing bowl with the icing sugar and add a few drops of rose water. Mash through a small sieve into a bowl and place to one side. Next, place the double cream into a large mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste and whisk to soft peaks. Ripple through half of the sieved raspberry and place the rest to one side.
To prepare the cream for piping, place a few tablespoons in a piping bag with a wide nozzle and spoon in 1 teaspoon raspberry coulis, add more cream and a little more coulis followed by the rest of the cream. Keep the rest of the coulis for drizzling. Either pipe the cream into the cooled eclairs or cut them in half and pipe the cream down the centre to make a sandwich. Repeat with all the eclairs and place them back on the cooling rack.
Meanwhile, break up the white chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl over a small pan of simmering water on the hob. Stir until melted. Take the bowl off the heat and carefully dip each eclair into the chocolate at a 45 degree angle to coat the top. Place a raspberry on top of each eclair and sprinkle over the dehydrated raspberry and rose petal (if using). Place the eclairs back on the cooling rack and allow to set in the fridge or in a cool place for around 30 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of remaining coulis.
Éclairs are best eaten same day, however can be refrigerated in an air tight container overnight. You can make the pastry cases in advance and freeze, defrost fully before filling with cream and topping.