We are in Café des 2 Moulins on Rue Lepic. We've spent the morning shopping, our baskets are full of bread and cheese... and shoes. We're deep in conversation, but with an ear to the chit-chat going on around us. We've ordered huge bowls of café au lait and a plate of éclairs. We have the rest of the morning to sit and talk and soak in the atmosphere. Are you with me?
slightly adapted from Donna Hay's A Cook's Guide
For the Éclairs:
50g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
For the Chocolate Glaze:
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
For the Cream Filling:
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
Make the Éclairs:
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Set aside.
Put the water and butter into a small saucepan and place the saucepan over high heat. When the butter has melted and the water is boiling, dump the flour in all at once and stir like crazy with a wooden spoon. The mixture will quickly come together and you will have a smooth dough. Cook over a low flame for another minute or so, until the dough leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.
Put the dough into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. You will have a thick batter. Spoon the batter into a piping bag, cut a 1 cm opening in the end of the bag and pipe 8 x 7cm lengths of batter onto the prepared tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed, golden and cooked through. Cool on wire racks.
Make the Chocolate Glaze:
Melt the chocolate and oil in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until it is smooth.
Make the Cream Filling:
Put the cream, icing sugar and vanilla paste into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk until soft peaks form. Spoon the filling into a piping bag.
Assemble the Éclairs:
Using a small serrated knife, cut the éclairs in half horizontally.
Pipe the cream filling onto the bottoms of the éclairs.
Dip the tops of the éclairs in the melted chocolate and place the tops on to the cream-filled bottoms.