This is an incredibly magical pastry for when you look at the thick sauce that gets transformed into an amazingly light, puffy crispy pastry, it feels like a miracle. I have always been very good at all the different types of pastries and specially love making this one as it is really quite simple if you follow all the steps carefully. It is also very versatile as after the first stage of cooking on a stove ......the paste keeps well for upto a day in the refrigerator. You would think that choux pastry is generally used for sweet fillings but they do very well with a creamy or spicy chicken/fish filling or even a cold mayonnaise based filling.

But my chocolate eclairs are to die for .....as I use the traditional confectioner's custard filling and coat the eclairs with a dark thick gooey chocolate . The classic chocolate eclair is elegantly thin but you may make them in different shapes. The small round ones are profiteroles or when made in large rings are called gougere rings.
Choux pastry has to be made in 2 stages - the mixing of the paste in a saucepan and then the baking in a hot oven. The pastry puffs up miraculously into whatever shape is required. As double cooking is required....it is important that the eggs are not added too quickly....as they are responsible for the delicate lightness of a choux pastry. They will otherwise set and cook instead of expanding dramatically in the oven.When melting the butter in the water...do not let it come to a boil before the butter has completely melted. Adding the flour all at once may not sound right.... but continue with the beating and soon it will become silky smooth.
Leave lots of space between them on the oven tray as they do expand quite a bit. It is important to sprinkle a little water on the oven tray and also keep a container of water in the oven during baking as steam is required to help with the rising.
100 gms plain flour with a pinch of salt (place near the stove for quick adding)
75 gms chopped butter
7 fl ozs or 200 ml cold water
3 eggs lightly beaten
Put the chopped butter in the cold water and place on a fire. Allow the butter to melt (without stirring) and bring slowly to a boil (without stirring). When boiling....immediately remove the pan from the fire and add all the flour at one go. With a wooden spoon beat the flour . It will take some time to become a smooth glossy paste that comes clean away from the sides of the saucepan. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Beat 3 eggs with a fork and when the paste has cooled..... slowly add them to the paste beating well after each addition. When ready the paste needs no rolling ....simply pipe or spoon onto slightly dampened baking sheets.
Bake at Gas Mark 6 or 200C or 400F until golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and cut open...scoop out the uncooked paste and return to the turned-off oven to dry out. Cool and fill with either cream or confectioner's custard and drizzle with melted chocolate.


Blend the cornflour with the milk, stir in the egg yolks and sugar 
( you use a hand held blender to do the above for a smoother finish). Cook over gentle heat until thick. Beat in the vanilla and allow to cool.

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