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Mini Double Chocolate and Mint Éclairs

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Prep 40min (+pastry making and 15-20min cooling)Bake 40minMakes 24 serves
Éclairs are the darlings of the patisserie world at the moment, and rightly so. These cute mini mouthfuls are filled with a surprisingly intense fresh mint pastry cream that will make stopping at one very hard!

Ingredients

quantity basic choux pastry

Mint chocolate crème pâtissière

  • 400ml milk
  • 10 sprigs fresh spearmint
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa works well), finely chopped

Chocolate glacé icing 

  • 250g (2 cups) pure icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3-4 tablespoons water, at room temperature

Method

  1. To make the mint crème pâtissière, put the milk and spearmint sprigs into a medium saucepan. Bring just to a simmer over a medium heat. Remove from heat and stand for 30 minutes to infuse. Remove the spearmint sprigs. Use a balloon whisk to whisk the egg yolks, sugar and flour together in a heatproof bowl until well combined. Gradually whisk in the milk mixture until smooth and well combined. Return to the heat and stir constantly with the whisk over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer, stirring constantly with the whisk, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and chocolate until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Pass the crème pâtissière through a sieve into a heatproof bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  3. Spoon the warm choux pastry into a large piping bag fitted with a 1.7cm nozzle. Pipe 6cm lengths of choux pastry on the tray, about 2cm apart to allow for spreading. Use your fingertip dipped in water to smooth any edges of the choux. Sprinkle the choux and tray with a little water. Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden, puffed and dry. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, use a small sharp serrated knife to split the eclairs in half to allow the steam to escape. Turn off the oven and return the eclairs to the oven with the door closed for 15-20 minutes or until dry.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the chocolate glacé icing, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a medium bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir in 3 tablespoons of the water, adding the remaining tablespoon if necessary to mix to a very thick pouring consistency. Cover well with plastic wrap and set aside.
  5. To assemble the éclairs, spoon the mint chocolate crème patissiere into a large piping bag fitted with a 1.7cm plain nozzle. Pipe the crème onto the bottom half of an éclair and then cover with the top. Repeat with the remaining eclairs and crème pâtissière. Spread a little of the icing over the top of each éclair to cover and decorate with a mint leaf. Set aside for 15-20 minutes or until the icing sets.

Baker's Tips

  • The éclair pastries can be made up to 3 days ahead of serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Refresh by placing on an oven tray and reheating in an oven preheated to 180°C for 10 minutes. Cool, assemble and serve.
  • The mint chocolate crème pâtissière can be made up to 2 days ahead of serving. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge and stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before piping.

This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Choux Pastry.

CLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.

Photography by Alan Benson.

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