Makes 12 large or 24 small to medium size
This is a fresh look at the usual chocolate and cream one and I tend to make them a little smaller.
For the choux pastry
250ml cold water
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
125g strong flour
4 free range eggs (about 240g), beaten
Egg wash, to glaze
For the filling
150ml cream, whipped to soft peak
4 tbsp icing sugar
½ lemon, finely zested
6 to 8 strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
Egg wash, to glaze
For the topping
100g white chocolate, melted
4 strawberries, sliced, to decorate
Edible flowers, to decorate
To prepare the choux pastry, preheat the oven to 210°C/Fan 190°C/Gas 6.
Bring the water and butter to the boil in a medium saucepan. Add the pinch of sugar and salt. Remove from the heat. Sieve the flour onto a piece of parchment and “shoot” the flour into the water and butter.
Return the mixture to the heat and immediately stir briskly with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
Beat in a little egg at a time until shiny and smooth, beating with a wooden spoon first and then using a whisk.
Once most of the egg is incorporated, the pastry should be soft but retain its shape when piped.
Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and pipe 5cm strips into the sheets, leaving sufficient space in between for them to rise. Brush the tops with a little egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes depending on the size until the outside of the éclairs are dry and crisp and golden but the inside is still slightly soft. Turn off the oven, slice down the one side of each éclair and return them to the oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
To fill the éclair, combine the whipped cream, icing sugar and lemon zest together and spoon into a piping bag.
When the éclairs are cold, fill them with the cream. Arrange a few slices of strawberry on the edge. Fill a piping bag with melted chocolate, snip the end and pipe along the top of each éclair.
To serve, place an edible flower on each éclair and place on a serving platter.