My Granny’s Eclairs

History

Eclairs did not originate in Ireland but have been very popular here as a Sunday treat since the early 1900’s. The origin of éclairs can be traced back to the mid 18th century in France when it was called ‘pain à la Duchesse’ or ‘petite duchesse’ until 1850. The word éclair was first attested in 1860. It wasn’t until the 19th century when eclairs actually made their appearance in France. There is no legitimate evidence as to who invented this decadent French pastry. Most food historians speculate that eclairs were first made by a notable French chef named Antonin Careme, who was also one of the first internationally renowned celebrity chefs. A few years later, a recipe of eclairs became popular among French people. It was during the late 18th century when the first known English-language recipe for éclairs appeared in the Boston Cooking School.

Ingredients

  • ¼ Pint of Water
  • 2oz Butter
  • 2 ½ oz Plain Flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • For the Filling and Icing
  • ¼ pint of double dairy cream
  • 1-2 oz castor sugar
  • Few drops of vanilla essence
  • 2  tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 5oz icing sugar, sieved

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, Gas mark 6.
  • Put butter and water into a heavy based saucepan and bring slowly to the boil.
  • Remove from heat and beat in flour, sieved .
  • Mix until the dough forms a ball which leaves the sides of the pan clean.
  • Allow mixture to cool to blood heat, then beat in eggs one at a time.
  • Put pastry into a piping bag with ½ inch plain nozzle.
  • Pipe 14  2-inch lengths on greased baking trays. Bake in a moderately hot oven for 25-35 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove carefully from trays and cool on rack.
  •  Lightly whip cream and add sugar and vanilla essence.
  • Make a slit down the side of each éclair and fill with cream
  • Put chocolate in a basin over a pan of hot water. Remove from heat and beat in water, then coffee powder and gradually add in icing sugar.
  • Spread on toop of eclairs with a palette knife.
  • Put in fridge to allow to set.

Renewal

For a dessert, you can make the eclairs into different shapes.

You can fill with custard rather than cream.

If you would prefer to  have no coffee in the recipe , you could use an alternative flavouring.

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