Strawberry and Champagne Éclair
- For the choux pastry:
- 100g lightly salted butter, chopped into small cubes
- 130g plain flour
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- 240ml cold water
- For the filling:
- 300ml double cream
- 100ml Champagne
- 400g strawberries, sliced
- For the Champagne icing:
- 100g icing sugar
- 1-2 drops of pink food colouring
- 25ml Champagne
- To make the choux pastry, put the butter in a saucepan with 240ml water. Sieve the flour into a large bowl and set aside. Bring the butter and water to a fast boil, simmer until the butter has melted, then tip in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and is lump-free. Tip into the bowl and spread the thick paste up the sides a little to help it cool quickly, then leave for 10 mins.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/356° F/Gas Mark 6 and cut two pieces of baking parchment to fit two baking sheets. Using a ruler and pen, mark 10 lines about 12cm long over each piece, leaving plenty of space between the lines, then flip the parchment over. Fit a piping bag with a large round piping nozzle, about 1.5cm wide.
- When the flour paste has cooled but is not cold, start adding the egg, bit by bit, beating well between each addition until you have a smooth batter which will reluctantly drop off the end of your spoon (you can do this in a freestanding mixer if you have one). You may not need to use all the egg, so add it slowly. Transfer to your piping bag and use a little of the mixture to stick the parchment to your trays.
- Pipe the choux onto the baking sheet, using the lines as a guide. Pipe slowly so the eclairs aren’t too skinny – each one should be about 2.5cm wide x 12cm long. Bake for 35-40 mins, swapping the trays around for the final 10 mins. The choux should be puffed, golden and sound hollow when tapped. You may wish to sacrifice one éclair to make sure the inside is completely dried out – if it’s still moist, the éclair will sink when cooling.
- Once baked, leave to cool completely. (Can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container, reheat in the oven for 5-10 mins to crisp up before filling.) Split each éclair through the middle with a serrated knife.
- To make the cream filling, whisk the double cream until fairly thick and slowly add the Champagne. Whisk gently through and put in a piping bag with a 2.5 cm nozzle.
- To make the icing, mix the icing sugar, food colouring and Champagne together in a bowl and set aside.
- Fill each éclair with the cream filling, top with sliced strawberries and decorate with the pink Champagne icing and sprinkle with pistachio nuts and freeze-dried raspberries.
Prosecco will work just as well or even a non-alcoholic sparkling drink.