Instead of opting for artificial food colourings to represent the colours, I’ve picked some fresh fruits corresponding to some of my favourites lines. Well, no one actually likes the District line – let’s be honest – but kiwi beautifully accessorises these eclairs
Makes 8 eclairs
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25–30 minutes
- 65ml water
- 65ml milk
- 50g unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp caster sugar
- 85g strong plain flour
- 2 medium eggs
For the pastry cream:
- 6 egg yolks
- 80g caster sugar
- 40g cornflour
- 1 vanilla pod
- 500ml full-fat milk
For the icing:
- 100g fondant icing sugar
- 1/2 egg white
- few drops lemon juice
- Central line: 5 strawberries
- District line: 1 kiwi
- Circle line: 1/4 pineapple
- Hammersmith & City line: handful raspberries
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Pour the water and milk into a pan and add the butter, salt and sugar. Place the pan on a high heat and melt the butter. Bring to the boil.
- Turn the heat down to low and add all of the flour.
- Beat hard. At this point, the mixture will have the consistency of lumpy mashed potato.
- Continue beating until you have a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the pan without sticking.
- Take the pan off the heat and continue to beat until the dough is cold enough to touch.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time – the batter will go lumpy when you add them, but beating continuously will smooth it out. Once both eggs are incorporated and the mixture is smooth, put the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 20-mm nozzle.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper, dotting a little dough in each corner to stick the paper down.
- Pipe a 10-cm line of the choux mixture at a 45-degree angle. Repeat with the remaining pastry to make 8 eclairs.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
- While the eclairs are baking, make the pastry cream.
- Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and thick, then whisk in the cornflour.
- Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways. Remove the vanilla seeds from the pod and add to the milk. Bring the milk to a boil and switch off the heat.
- Pour the milk in a slow stream onto the egg mixture, whisking vigorously all the time.
- Return the mixture to a clean pot and whisk continuously over a medium heat. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom – otherwise it will burn.
- The cream will start to thicken. Once it releases a bubble or two, take it off the heat.
- Pour into a bowl to cool, with cling film in contact with the cream so as not to form a skin. Cover with cling film (pat the cling film so that it sticks directly onto the cream) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
- When ready to use, beat the cream, smoothing it out, and place in a piping bag or plastic food bag
- Cut the eclairs open and pipe the pastry cream inside each. Put the top back on and make the icing.
- Mix the icing sugar with the egg white and lemon juice until you have a very thick paste. Note: if it is too runny, it won’t stick properly, in which case just add a little more sugar.
- Spread a thin line of icing along the top of each eclair lid.
- Thinly slice the fruits and line up along the top of the pastry, using the icing to stick them down.
- Decorate 2 of each eclair with the strawberries, kiwi, pineapple and raspberries.
- You can keep the extra egg whites for several days in an airtight container or freeze for later use.
- If you’re short of time, fill the eclairs with Chantilly cream (whipped cream with vanilla) instead of pastry cream.
Recipe courtesy BBC Asia
Check out Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London, which can be seen on Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC Lifestyle (HK Cable TV channel 131 and now TV channel 221).