Everyone (including my past self) seems to think that choux pastry is extremely difficult to make. In actual fact, it really isn’t if you follow this very simple recipe. It’s one I commandeered from the very brilliant John Whaite’s first cook book – John Whaite Bakes. Just follow the steps and it’s fool proof.
It will enable you to be able to make a whole host of incredible and indulgent treats for you and your family! Just think, you’ve got eclairs, profiteroles, buns… ALL of which are delicious!
And the great thing is, you can really mess about with the flavours! I for one am a little bored of the chocolate eclair. I wanted something different. So here’s my recipe for some refreshing and Summery lemon eclairs! I kid you not, they’re ridiculously yummy and you need to have a go!
Still not feeling confident enough to have a go? Read through baking for beginners first. It’s packed full of helpful baking tips, useful freebies and it’ll seriously boost your confidence!
Easy Lemon Eclairs Recipe
Here is what you will need to make approx 14 eclairs.
For the Choux Pastry
- 80g Unsalted Butter
- 220ml Water
- Pinch of Salt
- Generous Pinch of Sugar
- 125g Plain Flour
- 220g Beaten Egg (about 4 eggs)
For the Lemon Cream Filling
- 600ml Double Cream
- 200g Lemon Curd
For the Lemon Icing
- 250g Icing Sugar
- 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Yellow Food Colouring
- Piping Bag
- Large Round Nozzle
First thing’s first, prep your ingredients. This recipe moves fast so there’s no room for dawdling!
In a medium saucepan, weigh out the butter and add in the water, salt and sugar.
Put the flour in a little bowl and weigh out the eggs in a jug and beat with a fork. Yes weigh them. Accuracy is key with this recipe and it takes out all the guess work.
Load a large piping bag with a big round nozzle and either lightly grease a large baking sheet or line with a silicone mat.
Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.
Lastly, place a large glass bowl in the fridge to chill. It mind sound a bit crackers but don’t argue, just do it.
Right! Now we’re ready to get started.
Place the saucepan over a medium heat and cook until it just starts to boil.
Throw in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon like your life depended on it. It will quite quickly form a firm ball of dough that should come away from the sides of the pan. Like so…
Take the chilled glass bowl out the fridge and tip the dough into it. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Now you need your elbow grease. Gradually add in the beaten egg, beating vigorously in-between each addition with a wooden spoon. The mixture will split every time but just keep mixing, it will come back together.
You are looking to end up with a smooth paste like dough that is ‘dropping consistency.’ (Meaning if you get a dollop on a spoon, it will drop back into the bowl within 5 seconds.)
Load the dough into your prepared piping bag and pipe 14 thick lines that are approx 12cm long by 3cm wide onto your baking sheet. Make sure to leave a gap between each one as they will puff up during cooking.
Carefully dab the tops of each one with a little cold water & bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
When the time is up, remove from the oven, quickly poke a small hole in each one with a skewer then pop back into the oven for a further 10 minutes. This helps to dry out the inside and prevent them from collapsing.
They should be crispy and golden brown when cooked. Transfer to a wire rack to cool whilst we prepare the other components.
To make the cream filling, simply whisk up the double cream in a large bowl using a balloon whisk until stiff peaks form. Then, in 2 parts, fold through the lemon curd until it’s all nicely incorporated and smooth. Set to one side.
To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time (just in case you don’t need it all) stirring between each addition. You want it relatively firm but a little runny.
Add yellow food colouring until you get the colour you want.
Now we’re ready to assemble!
Slice each pastry case in half. Load a piping bag with a round nozzle and fill with the cream filling.
Open each pastry case and pipe big blobs of the filling along the bottom. (Or you could just fill with a spoon if you wanted to.)
There are several ways to tackle the decoration. Either you can dip the pastry tops directly into the lemon icing, smear the icing along the top with a spoon or you can load it into a piping bag, snip the end and pipe stripes or a pretty pattern. Any way is fine, it’s all going in the same hole!! Finish by dusting with a little icing sugar.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last for 2-3 days but are best eaten on the day they were made. (The pastry tends to go soft quite quickly.)
And there you go! If you followed the choux pastry steps correctly, you should have some beautiful lemon eclairs to share with your friends and family.
Hang on, did I say share? Well, maybe I’m being a little optimistic there! They are a tad moreish. Ok they’re a lot moreish.
If you’ve anything like me you’re probably going to eat like half of them, and that’s after licking the bowls too! Oh well, if you’re going to do something wrong, do it right!