The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Winter 2022

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  • Christmas
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Discover France’s magical winter wonderland destinations - from the French Alps to the French Riviera. Read about the biggest bûche de Noël, Christmas log cake, in the world and see Paris when it snows. Head to the sweet village of Flavigny in Burgundy where the film Chocolat was filmed and to Rouen, the Ardèche region and Côtes du Rhône. Go gaga for gorgeous Gascony and feel festive at the colourful Christmas market of Metz, Lorraine.Toulouse, feel good films, recipes, guides and giveaways…

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 20minutes Portions: 12 Festive Éclairs Éclairs are one of those wonderful and iconic French pastries that are deservedly famous around the world. Popular with a traditional lusciously thick and creamy custard filling, they can also be enjoyed with chocolate or other delicious flavours. But these èclairs by Kit Smyth are something else. Never-fail perfectly crisp choux pastry, a thick crème patisserie filling with added sweet chestnut purèe or hazelnut praline (see pages 112, 113), and a decorative glacé icing. They’re just what you want for the festive season! INGREDIENTS Pastry: 200ml/7floz water, room temperature 90g/3oz butter or margarine 90g/3oz plain/all-purpose flour, sifted 3 eggs, large, beaten Crème Patisserie: 1 large egg, whole 1 large egg, yolk only 60g/2oz white caster sugar 15g/1 tablespoon cornflour 25g/1.5 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour, sifted 280ml/ ½ pint milk, room temperature Vanilla essence Chestnut puree or hazelnut praline – see recipes Glacé Icing: 450g/1lb icing sugar/powder Hot water Essence: Vanilla, or other favourite flavours Food dye if you prefer different colours. METHOD Preheat your oven to 18˚C/350˚F Choux pastry: Combine the water and butter in a deep saucepan, bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once; beat until combined and just coming away from the saucepan walls. Spread out on a plate to cool. Once cool, return to the saucepan, and gradually add in the eggs, beating well between each addition. The paste should be free of any lumps, and shiny. It should be thickish, holding its shape when tested – ‘drop’ a small amount on a plate to check. It will be difficult to ‘drop’ if too thick and will lose spread if too runny. If the latter happens, do not add any more egg. Rather, add a small amount (1 teaspoon at a time) of plain/AP flour to thicken. On a greased and lined baking tray/sheet, pipe each éclair approximately 7cms or 3 inches, and roughly 1.5cms/ ¾ inch wide; leaving plenty of space between each baton. Spritz the sheet with a little water prior to placing them in the oven. Once on the oven rack, close the door and increase temperature to 190˚C/375˚F, and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Crème Patisserie: separate the whole egg, reserving the white, and mix the yolks together with the sugar, sift in the flours, and half the milk. Warm the rest of the milk until almost boiling, then add it to the mixture, pouring slowly and whisking in gently. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened, remove from the heat. Whisk the egg white until stiff and fold into the custard mixture. Return to the heat and stir for about 1 minute, then add the vanilla essence. Remove from the heat, and cover with a greaseproof paper circle directly onto the custard and allow to cool. Once cool, you can divide and use this mixture as required, adding chestnut puree, hazelnut praline, or using without further flavouring. If adding the praline or puree, add it in tablespoon amounts, until you reach the flavour level you enjoy best! Glacé icing: Place the icing/powdered sugar into a bowl, and carefully add the hot water whilst stirring constantly. Only add a few drops of water at a time, as the sugar will dissolve quickly. Add the vanilla or other essences; stop adding water when the consistency runs evenly and coats the back of a spoon. Assembly: to build your èclairs, you can cut the choux pastry almost in half lengthways before piping some crème patisserie into it, or you can pipe the mix in with a long-nosed flute pipe – common for filling doughnuts, etc. Once filled, carefully dip the top of the èclair into the icing, or spoon the icing over the top to coat each pastry. Allow the icing to set before serving – or it gets very messy! Festive note: You can use different food dyes or flavourings to enhance your icings. For example, a ‘red’ Christmas pudding flavoured icing with traditional crème patisserie filling, or verdant green zigzags against plain white icing for a bold statement with a praline filling. 114 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 115

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