No afternoon tea is complete without some perfect mini chocolate éclairs to delight your guests. These little éclairs do take some time to get right, but once you have perfected the method they will give you endless joy. These éclairs are best enjoyed when they have been able to chill in the fridge before serving, so that the melted chocolate can harden over the fluffy pastry.
Makes: 16 mini éclairs
125g plain flour
1 pinch salt
3 large eggs
300ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
110g plain chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon golden syrup
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Choux Pastry: Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Grease a baking tray or line with baking paper.
Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the salt. Set aside.
In a saucepan over a high heat, bring the water to the boil and add the butter, stirring constantly to melt. Add the flour directly into the boiling buttery water and beat continuously until it forms a dough. Remove from the heat and add the eggs one at a time, beating and mixing vigorously after each addition.
Fill a piping bag with the pastry dough and pipe 16 pastry oblongs about 3x6cm onto the prepared baking tray leaving at least 5cm between each éclair.
Bake the choux pastry in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and golden brown. Remove and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Puncture each éclair with a piping bag nozzle-sized hole at one end so that the cream can be piped in later. Allow to cool fully.
Cream Filling: In a bowl, whisk together the cream and the vanilla until light and fluffy.
When the pastry has completely cooled, fill a piping bag with the vanilla cream and gently pipe cream into each of the éclairs.
Chocolate Coating: In a small bowl mix together the melted chocolate with the golden syrup. With a spoon smear the chocolate mixture over the top of each éclair.
Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Just before placing the pastry in the oven, splash some water onto the base of the oven to create some steam. This will help the pastry to puff up and become light and airy.