Well, better late than never. I actually made these yummy eclairs last weekend, but in a moment of ditziness I forgot to post this before leaving for a weekend in Norfolk with Mr AB's parents. Ah well.
I was really excited when I saw Meeta and Tony had challenged us to make chocolate eclairs. I'd been having cream-cake cravings in the days before the recipe was released and no amount of filthy supermarket eclairs or cream-filled doughnuts (you know the ones with the zig-zag of jam) were going to hit the spot.
I know that choux pastry has a tricky reputation, but it's actually one of the recipes that I mastered early. Before you dismiss me as a precocious pastry making child, wielding my wooden spoon with an authority beyond my years, let me explain. My mum is very hard to please and it's rare to present her with anything without receiving a little 'constructive' criticism first (sorry mum, it's true). I don't know why, but profiteroles are one of the only things I have ever made which have been accepted without comment. Realising the power of pastries, I learnt how to perfect them. In fact, at the height of my profiterole making prowess I even supplied them to our local pub. I think I stopped when I realised I was making about 5p profit per bag. Alan Sugar I am not.
I have never, however, made chocolate eclairs. Knowing that my profiteroles were a sure thing, there was no need to take the risk of a change in shape. Not to mention that the additional washing up created by piping-bag usage would surely have resulted in the dreaded comments. There's also the fact that it only seems socially acceptable to eat one eclair per sitting whereas you can usually polish off a fair few profiteroles in a bowl without being judged.
This month's recipe departs from the usual cream filling and uses a chocolate ganache instead. Perfection. Topped with a chocolate glaze, the choux fingers become the vehicle for an indulgent chocoholic fix. The pastry recipe is slightly different to the one I usually use, but I was still pleased with the result. A crisp shell with a softer, slightly doughier inside, if only I wasn't so cack-handed with the piping bag.
I had thought of filling the eclairs with a toffee flavoured cream or keeping the chocolate filling but adding a caramel glaze, inspired by Cadbury's version of this French classic. Unfortunately I didn't have time to experiment so I kept it simple with half chocolate filled and half cream filled. The only problem was the glaze. I don't know where I went wrong, but I ended up with an oily mess. Seriously, if Barack Obama wants to stop American dependence on Middle Eastern oil, he might want to come and visit me. I'm sure you could run a few cars on this:In the end, I kept the chocolate filled eclairs without a glaze and we ate the cream filled puffs with a simple hot chocolate sauce. Delicious. I'm only sorry there weren't any left to post up to mum.Check out the beautiful creations from the other Daring Bakers here and if you fancy a try yourself, the recipe is available here.