Dear reader, it may not surprise you to hear that I often dream about food. Sometimes I dream something so good that when I wake up I have to write it down and turn it into a reality. And as crazy as it will definitely sound, this recipe came to me in a dream.
I’ve always loved the combination of coffee and white chocolate – I’m a latte drinker so I guess I like my coffee milky anyway, and I think the creamy sweetness of white chocolate is the perfect foil to coffee’s richness with a bitter edge. I could also perfectly picture how well these two flavours would go with the textures of an éclair – crisp, light choux pastry filled with clouds of coffee-scented whipped cream, for that perfect squish when you bite into it, and just-set white chocolate slathered on top. I couldn’t wait to make these and try them – and they came out exactly as I’d imagined them.
Are you hungry yet? You might be thinking – sure, Sal, it sounds delicious but I can’t be bothered to make choux pastry, isn’t that really difficult? But honestly, it isn’t. Okay, this isn’t something you can whip up in half an hour, it takes a little time, but none of the steps are actually that hard. And I promise, it’s totally, totally worth it.
A quick note on equipment & ingredients – to flavour the Chantilly cream inside these eclairs, I’ve used Sugar & Crumbs Coffee Icing Sugar. I used to work with Sugar & Crumbs and still use their flavoured icing sugars all the time, because they’re really fantastic, so I highly recommend checking them out. If you can’t get hold of any, though, see below for another way to flavour the coffee cream. You’ll also need to do some piping for this recipe. Cleaning out a piping bag is a royal pain, so if you don’t use them very often, get yourself some disposable piping bags. They have the added bonus that you can cut the piping end to exactly the right size, and if you’ve already got piping nozzles, you can fit those to a disposable bag too, for other recipes.
White Chocolate & Coffee EclairsPrint Recipe
- For the choux pastry:
- 100g plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 75g butter
- 3 eggs
- 175ml water
- For the Chantilly cream:
- 300ml cream
- 4 tbsp Sugar & Crumbs Coffee Icing Sugar
- OR 4 tbsp icing sugar and 2 tbsp instant coffee
- To decorate:
- Chocolate-covered coffee beans
- Instant coffee (optional)
- 200g white chocolate
First, make the choux pastry. Measure out the water, butter and salt into a saucepan, and heat gently on the hob until the butter has melted. Once you reach this stage, turn the heat up to bring the mixture to a boil, then take the saucepan off the heat straightaway.
Add the flour to the saucepan and mix briskly with a wooden spoon, until it comes together in a fluffy mixture. Return to the hob on a low heat, stirring regularly, to cook the mixture a little – it should go glossy and come together in a ball. Then transfer it to a clean mixing bowl and put somewhere to cool.
Beat the eggs together in a jug, and once the choux mixture has cooled to room temperature, add the eggs to the bowl a bit at a time, beating with an electric mixer, until the mixture is nice and thick – you should end up with a good ‘pipe-able’ consistency.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan), and line a couple of trays with baking paper. Fill the piping bag with mixture, and cut the end so it’s roughly 1.5cm across. Pipe the dough onto the trays in roughly 12cm lengths, leaving plenty of space between them to allow the mixture to spread (that’s why you need two baking trays).
Put the trays in the preheated oven and set a timer for 15 minutes – do not open the oven door at all during this time, or the eclairs might sink. After 15 minutes, you can crack the door to let the steam out, then close it (gently) and bake for another 15 minutes. Finally, poke a hole in the end of each éclair (to let out steam and make sure the inside dries out) and bake for 5 more minutes.
Cool the eclairs on a wire rack. Before you decorate them, bear in mind that filled eclairs will go a bit soggy after a couple of hours, so best to wait until shortly before serving to do these final few steps.
To make the cream, simply whip until soft peaks start to form, then add the icing sugar (and instant coffee, if you haven’t got coffee icing sugar) and whip again until the cream forms stiff peaks – it won’t take long. Fill another piping bag with the whipped cream, cutting the end to a similar size. Slice each éclair open, and pipe the cream inside before putting the ‘top’ back on.
Break up the chocolate, pop into a bowl and melt in the microwave, in 30 second bursts, stirring each time. Use a knife to carefully spread on the top of each éclair, and finish off with a few chocolate-covered coffee beans, a sprinkling of instant coffee, or a bit of both.