Everyone loves a chocolate eclair, and these Starbucks inspired ones (filled with coffee cream, dipped in milk chocolate and topped with a strip of dark chocolate and hazelnut praline) make a nice seasonal change from the usual vanilla cream variety.
- 3 eggs
- 85g butter
- 220ml water
- 105g plain flour
- 100ml strong black coffee, cold
- 2 tbsp light brown soft sugar
- 300ml double cream
- 100ml mascarpone
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 100g hazelnuts
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g milk chocolate
- 100g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 200c. Line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper. Sieve the flour twice to ensure there are no lumps then pour onto a square of greaseproof (this means it is ready to tip straight into the choux when you need it!).
- Place the butter and water in a saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted then bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and immediately shoot in all the flour. Stir very quickly for about a minute until the mixture is shiny and coming away from the sides of the pan. Now tip into a large bowl and spread thinly to speed up cooling.
- Once the choux mixture (called a panade at this egg-less stage!) has cooled to room temperature it’s time to add the eggs. Whisk the eggs in a jug to break them up then pour 1/4 into the bowl. Whisk with electric beaters to fully incorporate, then keep adding a little more and whisking until you reach a dropping consistency (this means the mixture should fall off a spoon when shaken after about 4 seconds). You might not need all the egg.
- Pile the choux into a piping bag and pipe 5 inch lines onto the prepared sheets (leaving space for expansion). Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden then pierce each eclair with a skewer, reduce the temperature to 180c and bake for a further 10 minutes to dry out. When they’re ready they should be crisp and nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack while you make the fillings and toppings.
- For the coffee cream, heat the brown sugar and coffee together then set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl whisk together the mascarpone, cream and icing sugar until thick. Fold in the coffee mix when it’s cooled completely.
- For the hazelnut praline, place the sugar and nuts in a small saucepan. Stir occasionally to encourage the sugar to melt then take it to a deep golden colour. Pour onto greaseproof paper, leave to harden then break into pieces or smash into a dust (depending on your decorating ideas!).
- For the chocolate topping simply melt the milk chocolate and allow it to cool. If you’d like to recreate the chocolate strip just melt and set the dark chocolate on a flat surface in the fridge, then slice into your desired shapes.
- To assemble the eclairs, slice them in half and fill with the coffee cream, dip in the melted chocolate and decorate with the set dark chocolate and praline.