I don't have the patience for fiddly recipes and am always looking for shortcuts, so perhaps this recipe wasn't a great idea! As well as making the eclairs, I had to make a mandarin compote and a creme patissiere - in the end I did the first two parts but skipped the creme patissiere and filled my eclairs with double cream instead.
The recipe is from the book Secrets of Eclairs, by Marianne Magnier Moreno, but I adapted it to make it quicker.
I used the basic method to make the choux pastry. To make 8, you need:
70g butter, diced
large pinch of salt
100g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 150C. Place the water and milk in a saucepan and add the butter, salt and sugar then stir over a high heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and add the flour and quickly but gently mix in, and the mixture will come together.
For the next part, place the saucepan back on the hob and turn up the heat. Stir until the mixture forms a dough that doesn't stick to the pan or to the spatula. Beat in the eggs a little at a time until the mixture sticks to the spatula then falls off - rather than doesn't stick to the spatula at all, or sticks and then stays on.
It gave me the opportunity to try out the eclair pan I got for my birthday; the indentations help you to get your eclairs just the right size and shape and all uniform.
I decided this meant I could cut corners and spoon the choux pastry mixture in rather than pipe it - which turned out not to be the case! You really do need to pipe the eclairs to get a smooth finish. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven.
To make the mandarin compote, you need:
2g pectin (which you can buy from the supermarket)
Peel the mandarins and divide into segments, then cut each segment in half. Place 80g of the mandarin segments in a saucepan with the sugar and pectin and stir. Cook over a high heat, mashing the mandarins with a fork and removing the skins. Simmer for about ten minutes until thickened and allow to cool.
To serve, rather than make creme patissiere or chantilly cream as the recipe suggested, I whipped some double cream and mixed in the fruit compote, and used that to fill the eclairs. One of these days I will get round to following an eclair recipe properly!
The theme for this month's Love Cake, hosted by Ness at JibberJabberUK, is French. Eclairs aren't exactly cake but they are French!