Fruit eclairs

Rachel Khoos underground eclairs are tubes of choux pastry topped with fresh fruit to represent the colours of Londons Underground
By Rachel Khoo
Fruit eclairs
  • Rating:
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Effort: hard

Ingredients

For the choux:

  • 65 ml milk
  • 50 g butter, cubed
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 85 g plain flour
  • 2 medium eggs

For the pastry cream:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 40 g cornflour
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 500 ml full fat milk

For the icing:

  • 100 g icing sugar
  • ½ egg whites
  • a couple of drops of lemon juice

For the fruits:

  • 5 strawberries, to represent the Central line
  • 1 kiwi fruit, to represent the District line
  • 1/4 pineapples, to represent the Circle Line
  • handful raspberries, to represent the Hammersmith and City line

Tips and Suggestions

You can keep egg whites for several days in an airtight container or freeze for later use.

If youre short of time, fill the eclairs with chantilly cream, made with whipped cream with vanilla, instead of pastry cream.

Method

1. For the choux: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Pour 65ml water and the milk into a pan and add the butter, ½ teaspoon salt and sugar. Place the pan on a high heat and melt the butter. Bring to the boil.

2. 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 potatoes. Continue beating until you have a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the pan without sticking.

3. 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 20mm nozzle.

4. Line a large baking tray with baking paper, dotting a little dough in each corner to stick the paper down. Pipe a 10cm line of the choux mixture at a 45 degree angle. Repeat with the remaining pastry to make 8 éclairs. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until golden and crisp.

5. For the pastry cream: Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and thick, then whisk in the cornflour.

6. Split the vanilla pod in half. 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 on to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously all the time.

7. Put the mixture to a clean pot and continuously whisk over a medium heat. Make sure to scrape the sides and the bottom, otherwise it will burn. The cream will start to thicken. Once it releases a bubble or two, take it off the heat.

8. Pour into a bowl to cool with cling film in contact with the cream so as to not form a skin and refrigerate for at least an hour before using. When ready to use, beat to smooth it out and place in a piping bag. Cut the éclairs open and pipe pastry cream inside the éclair then put the top back on.

9. For the icing: Mix the icing sugar with the egg white and lemon juice until you have a very thick paste. If it is too runny it wont stick to the eclairs properly, in which case just add a little more sugar.

10. To decorate: Spread a thin line of fondant icing along the top of the éclair lid. Line up the fruits along the top of the pastry, using the icing to stick them down. Decorate 2 of each with the pineapple, strawberries, raspberries and kiwi.

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