A light French favourite with a twist! These moreish éclairs satisfy your sweet tooth and won’t leave you feeling heavy and overfull.
The soft pastry, decadent cream and tart strawberries all combine to create a delicious dessert that’s perfect for a cuppa and an afternoon treat.
Makes: 16 Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 20 minutes
For the pastry
- 50g (2oz) butter, plus a little extra for greasing
- 150ml (1/4 pint) water
- 65g (21/2oz) plain flour, sifted
- 2 medium eggs
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 400g (14oz) strawberries, hulled, chopped
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra sifted icing sugar to decorate
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil leaves
- 300ml (1/2 pint) double cream
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan), Gas Mark 6. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets and set aside.
- Add the measured butter to a saucepan with the water, heat gently until the butter has melted then bring to the boil. Take off the heat add the flour and stir together then put the pan back on the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously until the mixture forms a smooth glossy ball that leaves the sides of the pan clean. Cool for 15 minutes.
- Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition until all the eggs have been added and you have a smooth thick paste. If you have a food processor or electric mixer you might like to use this to save time.
- Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (1/2 inch) wide plain piping tube. Pipe 7.5cm (3 inch) long éclairs, leaving space between them to rise in the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes until well risen and golden, pierce each éclair with a small knife so that the steam can escape then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Meanwhile mix the strawberries, 2 tablespoons icing sugar and basil together, cover the dish and leave at room temperature.
- About 1 hour before you are ready to serve the éclairs, slit open the sides with a serrated knife. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks then fold in any strawberry juices. Spoon into the éclairs and top with the strawberries and basil.
- Dust with sifted icing sugar and transfer to a plate and serve.
Choux pastry isn’t as tricky as you might think to make, the secret is to weigh the ingredients accurately, don’t be over generous with one of the ingredients or the mixture may be too soft to pipe and use either metric or imperial not a mix of both!
For chocolate fans, spoon a little melted white chocolate over the top of the éclairs instead of adding the icing sugar.
Recipe courtesy of Seasonal Berries