Can’t quite make summertime in Paris? You can still enjoy a Parisian favourite.
Recipe from Teatime in Paris!
Éclairs à la fraise et fleurs de sureau
By Jill Colonna
Published by Waverley Books
Makes 8 éclairs
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Temperature: 160°C/320°F fan (Gas 4)
½ tsp sea salt (or fleur de sel)
1 tbsp sugar
75g flour (plain, all-purpose)
250g full-cream milk
1 vanilla pod (or beans)
3 egg yolks
30g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
20g cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tbsp elderflower syrup (I use Monin’s)
Serve with elderflower cordial, or Darjeeling or jasmine tea
One particular pastry chef, Christophe Adam, showcases his “genius éclairs” in Rue Pavée, between the Hôtel de Ville and Place des Vosges in the Marais. Éclairs are not only easy to make but they’re one of my favourite ways of serving up the best-tasting strawberries when they signal springtime. There’s no need to make a glaze to coat the éclairs: just dust them with icing sugar. They are generously filled with a delicious pastry cream with a hint of elderflower, which goes beautifully with strawberries due to its floral notes and a nudge of lychee.
Try to find the shiniest, sweetest red berries in season, to appreciate the delicate taste of elderflower. In the French markets, the most popular, highly flavoursome strawberry varieties are Gariguette, Mara des Bois and Charlotte. If you can’t get elderflower syrup why not use your favourite floral essence or try St Germain elderflower liqueur.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F fan (Gas 4).
Make choux dough as in the recipe on page 64 (except make a half quantity).
Using a piping bag with a 12mm (½”) serrated tip, pipe out long éclairs to about 12cm (4¾”) on baking trays covered with greaseproof/baking paper (or a silicone mat). Leave a good space between each of them, as they will spread out during baking.
Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes until golden-medium brown. Leave éclairs to cool on a wire rack then cut the tops off horizontally.
Follow the pastry cream method on page 72, adding the elderflower syrup at the end of whisking. Immediately cover the pastry cream with cling film and, when cool, chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Pipe out a generous line of cream on the bottom half of each éclair, top with four or five strawberries (if they’re big, cut them in half). Crown with the éclair tops and powder with icing sugar. Chill until ready to serve.