Saturday, 25 May 2013

ORANGE BLOSSOM ÉCLAIRS

After having a cracking response to my lemon profiteroles I thought I’d go the same direction in freshening up a similar treat; éclairs, this time with a different citrus. Not being a huge fan of whipped cream I thought I’d make these in the traditional way, with a crème patissiere, spiking this with orange zest. To make them the ultimate summery bake I took the orange theme to whole new fragrant level by topping with an orange blossom icing. I think they could rival the choc and cream combo in flavour stakes.

For the Choux Pastry
50g butter
200ml water
100g plain flour
Pinch salt and sugar
 3 eggs

For the Crème Patissiere filling
200ml milk
1 egg yolk
Splash of vanilla extract
1 tbsp caster sugar
20g corn flour
Zest of 1 orange

Orange blossom Icing
6tbp icing sugar
4 tsp orange blossom water (sometimes called orange flower water)

Makes 4

Begin the choux pastry by heating the butter and water in a pan until the butter has melted and it reaches a rolling boil. At this point turn off the heat and quickly add the flour, salt and sugar and beat with a wooden spoon until it forms a sort of blob that comes away from the sides of the pan. Transfer into a large bowl and spread a little to cool for about 15 minutes.

In this time heat the oven to fan180/200c/6 and place a baking tray right at the bottom. Line 2 baking trays with parchment.
Once the mixture has cooled to about room temperature, beat the eggs individually before adding them to the mixture one by one, and mixing in vigorously. The pastry should now be reasonably thick but drop from the spoon. Prepare a large piping bag with a rounded or flat nozzle and fill with the pastry. Pipe 4 long éclair-sized strips onto each tray, by piping two thin strips right next to each other and roughly smoothing out the dints on each with a wet finger. Fill the empty baking tray at the bottom of the oven with water then bake the pastry strips at the top for 15-20 minutes, or until puffed up and golden brown. Once baked leave to cool on a wire rack.

Whilst the pastry is cooling make the crème-pat filling. Put all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer, whisking throughout. Turn up the heat and boil for a few seconds until the custard thickens, still whisking vigorously so lumps don’t form. Once thick and glossy take off the heat and prepare a piping bag (I used a star nozzle).Its best to pipe this is warm because if you leave it to cool too long and try to stir again it will go lumpy. If you do, and it does, loosen with some more milk and pass through a sieve.  

Pipe the crème-pat onto 4 of the pastry strips in a row of generous, star shaped blobs and place on the 4 remaining strips to make a sandwich.

Little by little add the fragrant blossom water to the icing sugar to make a thick icing and smoothly spoon onto the top of each éclair. Enjoy the in sun!

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