Master this classic dessert recipe for coffee eclairs and impress at your next dinner party

People tend to have a fear of choux pastry but it is, in fact, one of the easiest pastries to make provided you follow the very simple rules. Éclairs are a very popular option and, if you are visiting family and friends, I am sure that a plate of coffee éclairs would be very gratefully received.

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Coffee eclairs recipe

Makes 12–15

Ingredients:

- 250ml cold water

- 110g butter

- 1 pinch sugar and salt

- 150g strong flour

- 4 large eggs

- 225ml whipped cream

- 3 tablespoons icing sugar

- A little boiling water

- 1⁄2 teaspoon coffee extract

- 175g dark chocolate, tempered

- 1 sheet cocoa butter embossed chocolate acetate

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease two baking sheets with melted butter.

2. Put the butter, water, salt and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. It is important that the mixture comes to the boil – if you just melt it and do not allow it to come to the boil, the mixture will go dramatically wrong. Take the saucepan off the heat.

3. Sift the our and add it, in one piece, to the boiling liquid. Stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Return to heat and beat continuously until the mixture comes clean away from the sides of the saucepan. You are cooking the our at this stage. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for about five minutes.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together.

5. Slowly beat the eggs into the cooked paste. I tend to use an electric whisk as the mixture can be quite stiff. Add the eggs little by little, beating thoroughly between each addition.

6. Using a piping bag, pipe the choux pastry into long strips about 10cm long. You should get approximately 12–15 éclairs out of the mix. Bake for 30–35 minutes until they sound hollow when tapped on the underneath. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

7. Meanwhile, make the icing by beating together the icing sugar with the coffee extract and sufficient boiling water to make a thick, spreadable consistency.

8. When they are cool, split each éclair, fill with the whipped cream and spread each éclair with the coffee topping.

9. For the chocolate garnish (optional), to temper the chocolate, melt the chocolate over simmering water until it reaches 50°C. Transfer out onto a marble slab and, with a chocolate scraper, spread the chocolate over the marble and cool it down to 29-30°C. Return to the bowl and reheat gently over boiling water to 31–32°C. Cut the acetate into narrow strips approximately 5cm long. Neatly spread the acetate with a layer of chocolate and allow this to set. Once set, place these on top of each éclair.

Recipe credit - Edward Hayden 

Perfect coffee eclairsBrian Clarke at Harry Weir Studio