Chocolate violet eclairs
The perfect recipe for Mother's Day this Sunday from Sybil Kapoor's lovely Simply Baking book for the National Trust. In fact you might giver her a copy of that as well . . .
Sybil says: "These delicious éclairs are best eaten on the day they’re made though you can chill and eat them the next day – they’ll just be a bit softer.
You can buy crystallised violets from specialist delicatessens and online baking shops. If you wish, you can replace the kirsch with crème de violette, which can be found in some specialist drink shops. Alternatively, you can flavour the cream with the finely grated zest of an orange – or simply use plain whipped cream.
Makes 12 éclairs
½ quantity choux pastry (see below)
Violet cream filling
55g/2oz crystallised violets
285ml/10fl oz double cream
3 tablespoons kirsch
55g/2oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
15g/½ oz butter, diced
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
1 To make the éclairs, follow the choux pastry recipe below, but use half the quantities. Reserve 12 crystallised violets for decoration and roughly crush the remaining violets.
2 Once the éclairs are completely cold, make the violet cream filling. Pour the cream and kirsch into a large bowl. Whisk until the cream forms soft peaks. Fold the crushed crystallised violets into the cream. Transfer to a piping bag with a 1cm/½ in plain nozzle. Fill each éclair with some cream.
3 To make the chocolate icing, put the chocolate, butter and water in a large bowl that fits snugly over a pan of just-boiled water (off the heat). Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter have melted. You may need to replace the boiling water to allow them to melt. Remove the bowl from the pan and beat in the sifted icing sugar. Once the icing is smooth, spoon it over the top of each éclair. Decorate with a single crystallised violet. Leave to set.
Makes 24 small éclairs
115g/4oz plain flour
pinch of salt
115g/4oz butter, diced
300ml/10½ fl oz water
4 small eggs, beaten
1 Preheat the oven to fan 200ºC/gas 7. Oil a non-stick baking sheet. Sift the salt and flour into a bowl.
2 Put the butter and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a brisk boil and, as soon as the butter has melted, take off the heat and tip in the flour. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for 3–4 minutes over a low heat until the mixture is smooth and glossy and leaves the side of the saucepan.
3 Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs, a little at a time. Stop beating once the dough is smooth and glossy but stiff enough to hold its shape.
4 If you’re making small éclairs, spoon the pastry into a piping bag with a 1cm/½ in nozzle. Pipe 9cm/ 3½ in lengths of pastry on to the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Using a small knife, make a slit along the side of each éclair. Return to the oven, turn off the heat, and leave the door slightly open for 5 minutes to dry out the pastry. Cool on a wire rack.
What to drink: an off-dry sparkling wine like prosecco would be great with this
This recipe comes from Simply Baking by Sybil Kapoor published by National Trust Books at £25. Photograph © Karen Thomas.
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