It’s been ages since I last posted… almost 6 weeks!!!! Since I have started A Levels I have been drowning in work. But at the weekend I made these. I promised myself that I would spend one day of my weekend taking the time to make these delicacies… OK, in the end it turned out to be 3 hours and then I returned to studying biology. Oh the joy…
Recently I have been focussing on improving my patisserie skills. So, I decided to make eclairs. I have made choux pastry a hundred times to make profiteroles, but never eclairs. Don’t let the idea of choux pastry alarm you as it’s so simple and quick to make that it takes me just 10 minutes to knock up. Because the process of making eclairs doesn’t take that long and as the pastry is so delicate they cool very quickly meaning you can speed through the boring preparations and take your time on assembly and decoration. Although, next baking session when I’m not so strapped for time I will take more care to pipe the choux pastry (see dodgy picture below) so my eclairs are less hmmm should we say homemade/rustic and more Parisian patisserie window display standard. That’s the vision anyway!
I wanted to do something abit different flavour wise so, I thought why not fuse two desserts together. Eclairs and banoffee surely nothing sounds bad about that?
What was important for me was to get all the textures right. Banoffee pie would be like eating sludge if it wasn’t for the understated biscuit base, so to prevent the repercussions of mulch in my eclairs I added toasted pecans for crunch. I incorporated sea salt into the caramel for a deeper flavour and so it wasn’t too sickly and I didn’t sweeten the cream for this reason too. However, I think it would be a nice touch to fold in some of the salted caramel into the cream to tie all the different textures and flavours together. Of course you mustn’t forget the key element. Banana, which I sliced thinly at an angle and coated in lemon juice to prevent them from browning as the oxidised with the air.
So, if you have a whole leisurely Sunday or just a few hours one afternoon there’s no excuse not to make these delectable Banoffee Eclairs!
(This recipe makes 12 eclairs and a small jar of salted caramel)
- pinch of salt
- 75g butter
- 100g plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 100g sugar
- 75g butter
- 100ml double cream
- 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp icing sugar (sifted)
- x2 bananas
- juice of half a lemon
- 50g toasted pecan halves
- 300ml double cream
- 50g dark chocolate
1. Begin by making the choux. Put the salt, butter and 175 ml of water in a pan on medium heat until the butter has melted and the liquid begins to simmer. Swirl the pan to mix the ingredients together.
2. Take it off the heat and quickly tip in the flour and beat it in vigorously. Then place the pan back on the heat stirring constantly for 2 minutes to cook out the flour.
3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool, then beat in the eggs with electric beaters until smooth, glossy but will hold it’s shape when you pipe it.
4. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Snip a 1 1/2 cm diameter off the tip of a piping bag, spoon the pastry into the bag and then pipe 4 inch lines onto the trays leaving a generous gap between them for expansion. Bake for 12 minutes, then take out the oven and carefully make a slit lengthways to release the steam and place back in the oven for 5 minutes. Finally take out the oven, carefully peel the eclairs off the greaseproof and let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
5. Whilst the eclairs cool make the salted caramel. Place the sugar, butter and cream in a pan and heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, swirl the pan regularly to help mix the ingredients together. Once you have reached this stage turn up the heat and let the caramel boil for 2-3 minutes until it has turned a dark caramel colour. Turn off the heat and add the sea salt and sifted icing sugar, stir. If you find you have lumps of icing sugar in your caramel return the pan to the heat and let it bubble away for a couple more minutes to help the lumps of sugar dissolve. Leave the caramel to cool and thicken to a consistency that is spreadable but won’t run down the sides of your eclairs.
6. When you are ready to assemble your eclairs whip the cream to soft peaks, (here you could fold in a couple of spoons of salted caramel into the cream if liked) chop the banana at an angle into thin slices then coat in the lemon juice. Slit the eclairs completely lengthways and melt the chocolate in a bain marie or in the microwave.
7. Next dollop the cream into a piping bag with a plain or star tipped nozzle and pipe swirls or zig zags on the inner casings of one half of the eclairs. Then place alternate pecan halves and banana slices on top of the cream. Place the other half of the eclair on top and using a teaspoon gently spread on a couple of spoonfuls of caramel. Finally place the chocolate in a piping bag and cut off the tip so there is about a 2mm hole. Pipe the chocolate widthways along the eclair, then drag a cocktail stick lengthways through the chocolate to create a feathering effect.
8. These are best eaten immediately but if you aren’t going to eat them straight away just place them in the fridge until you do so.
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