Summer Berry Eclairs

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Éclairs and profiteroles have to be one of my favourite pastries and desserts, I usually do a chocolate sauce with a cream filling.  But with all the fantastic summer fruit around at this time of year I made a change from the usual!  I used raspberries, however strawberries will work just as well.

This will make about 12 éclairs depending on how large you like them.

You will need:

For the profiteroles:

  • 60g butter
  • 125ml water
  • 75g plain flour
  • 2 eggs

Filling:

  • 200ml double cream
  • 50g melted white chocolate (optional)
  • 4 raspberries for each éclair

Icing:

  • 2 large raspberries
  • 5 tbsp icing sugar

Method:

Profiteroles:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees, grease and line 2 baking sheets.
  • Melt the butter slowly with the water.  Once melted bring to the boil.
  • As soon as the water and butter boil turn the heat off and add the flour.  Mix the flour vigorously with a wooden spoon until you have a ball of dough that comes away from the sides of the pan leaving the pan ‘clean’.
  • The mixture should have cooled enough to add the eggs. If the pan and the dough are still too warm then the eggs will cook. Add the eggs one at a time mix thoroughly after each addition.  You should end up with a thick sticky mixture that holds its shape.
  • Transfer to a piping bag that has a large star nozzle.  I piped my éclairs into finger shapes.
  • Place in the hot oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 180 degrees for a further 10 minutes.
  • During the cooking time DO NOT open the oven!!
  • They should be puffed up and golden brown.
  • Transfer to a wire rack for cooling.

Cream:

  • Whisk the double cream until just thick, with the whisk still on slowly add the melted white chocolate. Transfer to the fridge.

Icing:

  • Put the 2 large raspberries in a glass bowl and mash them with a fork.  Now depending on how juicy your raspberries are will depend on how much of the icing sugar you will need to use.
  • You need an icing that is quite thick so it stays on top of your éclairs and not drip off.
  • The raspberry not only colours the icing but also flavours it too.  You will NOT need to add any water to the icing.
  • Once the éclair shells are completely cold, cut them in half length ways.
  • Ice the top halves and leave to set.
  • Pipe the cream onto the bottom halves, evenly space the 4 raspberries on to the cream, then carefully place the iced ‘lids’ on and they are ready for serving.

These ideally need to be eaten the same day – not really a problem in my house!

Chocolate Soufflé

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These are amazingly simple to make and fairly quick too.  Light and delicious, a perfect end to a meal.

They do need to be eaten straight away or they start to sink a little. Don’t worry if they do, this can be disguised with cream and fruit, either way they will taste amazing!

This recipe will make 4 servings

You will need:

  • knob of softened butter for greasing
  • 1tbs cocoa powder to dust
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 1tbs butter
  • 4 egg yolk plus 15g of caster sugar
  • 4 egg whites plus 50g caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar

Method

  • Heat oven to 180 degrees. Use the knob of the butter to grease 4 mini ramekins (mine are 9cm in diameter). Then dust the ramekins with the cocoa, tapping out the excess.
  • In a large bowl, over a bain-marie, melt the chocolate, once melted remove from the heat and stir in 1tbs of butter until smooth.
  • Mix the 15g of caster sugar with the egg yolks, and then add this gradually to the chocolate until well blended and creamy. Set aside.
  • In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are shiny and fluffy add the 50g of caster sugar and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the egg-white mixture into the chocolate one spoonful at a time. Taking care not to knock all the air out of the egg white.
  • Spoon into the ramekins.
  • Bake until puffed and set, 20- 25 minutes they should be well risen.
  • Do not open the oven door during the cooking or the soufflé will sink!!
  • Serve immediately with cream or ice cream and a strawberry.

Valentine Cherry Meringues

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I did a lot of research into finding the perfect meringue recipe. As a general rule 50g of sugar per egg white is used. The addition of corn flour and vinegar ‘strengthens’ the egg white, making it more stable giving a more chewy fluffier marshmallow centre and the cooking time can be shortened.  Adding brown sugar gives an even chewier centre (however no more than half the total amount of sugar used should be brown).  Cream of tartar makes a sturdier meringue that is less prone to weeping and more tolerant to a higher cooking temperature.  This is why cream of tartar is often added to meringue when making puddings like lemon meringue pie.

So what is the perfect meringue?  Well, that all depends on how you like your meringue.  I like a chewy meringue so I have put together the following recipe. I hope you like it to!!

This recipe will make about 8 meringue rounds which will serve 4.  I piped mine into heart shapes, but you can do any shape.

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Chocolate Truffles

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I was invited to my friend’s house to watch ‘The Voice’ and wanted to take nice nibbles for her and her family – something a little special.

My mum has made these truffles for mini presents at Christmas time, so I thought it was about time I made them myself and improve the recipe!

I made white and dark chocolate truffles.  White chocolate is a lot softer than dark and I have found very different to use.

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