I bought myself a little treat the other day – Whittard’s hazelnut coffee. I’m an absolute coffee fiend – although I don’t drink it black and unsweetened, oh no no. I like my milky and flavoured – vanilla, irish cream, and best of all –hazelnut. And, not content with simply drinking my coffee, I thought – why not bake with it? And since I had cream left over…..voila! Chocolate and hazelnut coffee eclairs.
I love working with choux pastry, it’s so quick to whip up – though I do think these could be improved by poking a few holes in them and popping back in the oven to dry out. But look! So cute! Tiny pastries are always v impressive.
This makes about 8 mini eclairs – perfect if you’ve got dribs and drabs of bits left over.
Chocolate coffee pastry cream custard
50g caster sugar
10g cocoa powder
1tsp vanilla extract
50ml cold strong coffee
1 egg yolk
25g unsalted butter, chopped into pieces
25g chopped dark chocolate
75ml double cream
In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornflour, cocoa and vanilla, add the milk, a little at first and then the rest of it, whisking together until the mix is smooth , then add the egg yolk and mix again.
Over a medium heat, bring the mix to the boil, whisking constantly to ensure it stays smooth. Once the mix has reached the boil, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl, cover the top with cling film and chill until cold.
Once cold, whip together with the double cream and return to the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
1/2 tsp sugar
30g plain flour
1 whole egg, beaten thoroughly
Preheat the oven to 190C.
In a saucepan, heat the milk, sugar and butter over a low heat and stir gently until the butter is all melted. Sieve the flour into the mix and whisk together. Beat the mix vigorously over a low heat for about 5 minutes, this ‘dries’ the mix out.
The mix is ready when it clumps together in a smooth ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Take off the heat and leave to cool down before adding the beaten egg and beating furiously [I always like the imagery of beating furiously] to form a smooth paste.
Fill a piping bag with the paste and pipe out strips for the eclairs onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
Bake in the oven until golden brown (around 15-20 mins), then poke holes in the end, turn down the heat to 175C and return to the oven for a couple of minutes to dry out.
To assemble, slice the cooled eclairs in two, and fill half with the pastry cream. Replace the top and glaze with thick coffee icing made from leftover coffee and icing sugar.