CHOCOLATE ÉCLAIRS

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Makes about 24 small éclairs or 12 large éclairs

Ingredients:
For the choux pastry:
1 cup cold water
½ tsp caster sugar
85g unsalted butter
Pinch salt
1 cup cake flour
4 medium eggs, beaten

For the cream filling:
300 ml fresh cream
1 tbsp icing sugar

To complete:
175g cooking chocolate, broken into pieces

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. To make the pastry, place the butter, water, salt and sugar into a large saucepan.
3. Place over a low heat to melt the butter. Increase the heat and pour in the flour in one go.
4. Remove from the heat and quickly beat the mixture vigorously until a smooth paste is formed, stirring continuously to dry out the paste.
5. Once the paste curls away from the side of the pan, transfer the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes.
6. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, stirring vigorously until the paste is smooth and glossy.
7. Continue adding the egg until you have a soft dropping consistency. The mixture will be shiny and smooth.
8. Lightly oil a large baking tray or line the tray with greaseproof paper. Dip a teaspoon into some warm water and spoon out a teaspoon of the éclair mixture onto the baking tray. Leave enough space in between for the éclairs to expand.
9. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown, if too pale they will become soggy when cool.
10. Remove from the oven and prick the base of each éclair. Place onto the baking tray with the hole facing upwards and return to the oven for 5 minutes. The warm air from the oven helps to dry the middle of the éclairs.
11. Prepare the filling: lightly whip the cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form. Do not over whip. When the éclairs are cold, cut the éclairs in half and spoon in the cream with a teaspoon.
12. Melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water. Spoon the melted chocolate over the éclairs.

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