In an attempt to to be kind to myself, I swopped my workout at the gym today for a gentle class of Pilates aimed at retired people. That backfired. This is the second time I've taken the class and for whatever reason (the fact that I am clearly under 65), the guy who runs it, takes one look at me, apologises for the gentle pace (which is what I go there for) and then ramps it up!!! Needless to say, I almost didn't manage to get a post up today, I am shattered, my body hurts and my brain is refusing to come up with coherent sentences: in short there is a mutiny going on!
Last week, for a baby shower, I turned my hand to choux pastry, adapting 3 different recipes to make some mini chocolate eclairs. This was my first time making them and as I'm not a great lover of choux pastry I was more than a little intimidated - how would I know if I got it right, I haven't eaten an eclair for ages?? Improving my pastry skills is one of my (many) goals for 2012 and I had some left over marshmallow flavoured cream from a birthday cake so I figured, why not!
Choux Pastry Recipe
Makes about 24 mini eclairs
Choux Pastry (adapted from How to Bake by The Great British Bake Off)
100g plain flour sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
75g unsalted butter at room temperature
3 eggs beaten
Marshmallow Cream (adapted from the Whoopie Pies by Love Food)
100ml double cream
1 1/2 tbsp milk
Chocolate Topping (from all recipes UK)
2 tablespoons butter
60g plain chocolate, chopped
125g icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6 and line a baking sheet with greasproof paper
2. Put the water, salt and butter into a medium sized pan and gently heat until melt the butter is melted, then quickly bring to mixture just to boiling point before adding the flour.
3. Take the pan off the heat and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until it turns into a smooth dough.
4. Put the pan back on the fire and slightly cook the dough for about 2 minutes until it comes away from the pan in a smooth ball.
5. Tip the dough into a mixing bowl and leave to cool until it is it just warm then gradually add the eggs using an electric mixer. You will not need to add all of the egg so leave a tablespoon or so. It needs to be shiny and paste like but not too wet.
6. Pour into a piping bag and cut off the end. Pipe 5cm lengths of dough onto the baking sheet, leaving enough space for the rolls to expand.
7. Bake for 15 mins then reduce the temperature to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Quickly open and close the door to let out the steam and then bake for a further 10 mins.
8. Remove from the oven and poke a small hole in one end of every roll to let the steam come out. Return to the oven for 3-5 mins to make sure they are fully cooked on the inside.
9. Cool on a wire rack.
1. Melt the marshmallows and milk in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
2. In a separate bowl, whip the double cream until it holds firm peaks. Fold the cooled marshmallow mixture into the cream and leave to set in the fridge for at least 30mins.
1. Heat 2 tablespoons butter with chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted. Remove from heat and stir in icing sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla. Set aside.
To assemble: Slice each eclair in half lengthways. Pipe some cream onto the bottom half of each eclair. Replace the tops and spoon on the chocolate topping. Chill until serving. The eclairs get soggy if left for too long so it's best to assemble them when you are ready to eat them. You can freeze the eclairs and take them out 10 mins before you are ready for them to defrost.
I'm now off to bed, my sugar high has ended, my vision is getting blurred. I hope you had a great start to your week and don't forget there are still a few days left of the giveaway. Click here for more details!
Peace & Love