(From Sucre: Recipes from Ladurée Paris)
Biscuit Topping Ingredients
100g unsalted butter, very cold
125g cake flour
125g caster sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Choux Pastry Ingredients
120g cake flour
100mL whole milk
10g caster sugar
1 pinch salt
80g unsalted butter
4 large eggs
Lightened Crème Pâtissière Ingredients
1 vanilla bean
400mL whole-fat milk
4 egg yolks
80 caster sugar
30g corn starch
25g unsalted butter
1 cup double cream
1. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces, then mix together with the flour, sugar and vanilla till well combined.
2. Bring the mixture together into a ball by hand and refrigerate for an hour.
3. While the topping mixture is chilling, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and melt the butter into the milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
4. Add the flour, sugar and salt all at once and rapidly mix with a wooden spoon till the dough comes together into a ball
5. Transfer the dough to a bowl and mix in the eggs with a wooden spoon, one at a time, till the dough is smooth and glossy.
6. Fill a large piping bag with a 1″ / 2.5cm round tip and pipe out long ‘sausages’ about 10cm long onto a tray lined with baking paper. Make sure to leave about 10cm between each pastry to leave room for them to spread.
7. Once this is done, take the biscuit topping out of the fridge and lightly knead to soften, then place between two sheets of non-stick baking paper or plastic wrap and roll flat to about 1-2mm thick. Cut into rectangles about 4cm x 12cm, to make sure that it completely covers the eclairs and hangs off the sides.
8. Place each rectangle of ‘biscuit’ topping on top of each eclair, then bake for 10 minutes, then jam the oven door open about 3mm (the handle of a wooden spoon is great for this) and allow to bake for another 20 minutes or till they are golden on top and fully puffed up. Set aside to cool before filling.
HOW TO MAKE THE LIGHTENED PASTRY CREAM:
1. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, then add the corn starch and whisk till mixture becomes pale yellow and thickened.
2. Set aside and scrape the vanilla into the milk and bring to a simmer.
3. Slowly pour the milk into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream while constantly beating.
4. Pour back into the saucepan and bring to a boil while whisking, making sure to scrape down the sides.
5. Leave the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes so that it’s no longer boiling, then briskly whisk in the butter till the mixture is smooth and glossy.
6. Scrape the mixture into a non-reactive bowl and keep tightly covered with plastic wrap till ready to use. Once you’re ready to fill the eclairs, beat the cream to firm peaks then carefully mix together the cream and the pastry cream with a spatula.
7. Fill a piping bag with the mixture then pipe each eclair with the pastry cream in three places and dust with icing sugar before serving!