Ingredients (makes 12):
- 120ml water
- 40g butter
- 60g plain flour
- 2 eggs
Coffee cream filling:
- 200ml double cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp finely ground coffee
Chocolate ganache icing:
- 3 tbsp milk
- 40g dark chocolate, in small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- In a saucepan, heat the butter and water together over a medium heat until the butter melts. Bring the mixture to the boil before immediately removing from the heat.
- Add in the flour when you take the mixture off the heat and stir vigorously and continuously with a wooden spoon until it forms a soft ball. Cook over a low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from the heat once more and leave the mixture to cool. Add the eggs, beating each one in fully without adding the next, to create a shiny and smooth paste.
- Using a piping bag with a 2cm nozzle, pipe the pastry into 15cm long logs, leaving about 3cm between each.
- Bake at 220ºC for 8 minutes, and then at 180ºC for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the pastry inside with the door ajar for a further 5 minutes.
- Once the choux pastry has finished in the oven, take the buns out and leave them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Whilst you’re waiting for the buns to cool, you can make the filling and icing:
- To make the glaze, heat the milk and chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave on a medium setting for 20 seconds.
- Remove from the microwave and stir the mixture gently until the chocolate melts to form a ganache. Leave the mixture to cool in the fridge until needed.
- To make the filling, beat the cream with the icing sugar, vanilla extract and ground coffee until stiff peaks form. Store in the fridge until needed.
- Using a sharp knife, cut a horizontal slit down one side of the cooled éclair buns. Fill the buns with the coffee cream and spread the chocolate icing over the top.
- Place the buns in the fridge to allow the icing to set.
When chatting to Becky, one of my closest friends, a couple of months ago, we realised that despite having spoken about our respective baking endeavours on many an occasion, we’d never actually baked together. We’d shared ideas, recipes and tips, but we figured it was about time that we made something together rather than just talk about it. Given that I’m now out of the country on my Year Abroad, and I’m not going to be spending much time in the UK for the next 12 months or so, we settled on a date.
And so we baked. We’d spent some time deliberating over what we wanted to make, eventually settling on éclairs because Becky had never worked with choux pastry before, and I wanted to have a go at éclairs! (Plus they’d be easier to divide up afterwards.)
We did the usual things one does when baking: getting flour all over the hob, coating the walls in icing sugar, eating any remaining mixture that was sadly left unused at the bottom of the bowls… (I see you with your judging eyes, don’t pretend you don’t do it too.) We even ended up making a bit too much of the coffee cream filling, so once we’d finished baking, we treated ourselves to some chocolate-infused coffee with the leftover cream added for good measure and an éclair each.
I particularly enjoyed baking with Becky, because it sort of brought things full circle for me. She and another good friend from home, Charlotte, were the ones who about this time last year kept telling me to watch The Great British Bake Off until I finally caved into the pressure and agreed to watch the first episode of the new series. Looking back, I’m very glad I did. Since then, I’ve become hooked on the show and been inspired to start baking, much to the delight of my family and friends. One year later, and here I am!