I wrote this recipe for a Mothers Day feature for Local Food Britain who like me champion local artisan food and drink producers here in Surrey. As the festive season is creeping up on us I thought it would be a good time to share it here too! They look as good as they taste and the choux pastries can be made in advance and frozen. You can substitute whipped cream or mascarpone for the filling but the custard is just delicious so it’s worth giving it a whirl. Its essential to make the custard the day before you need it so it can set overnight in the refrigerator. I used Wild at Heart Hedgerow preserve as it has lovely little berries and a unique flavour but I have also used home-made berry jams in its place (they need to be firm set though).
Mascarpone and vanilla custard
Download a print friendly pdf of the recipe White chocolate eclairs and mascarpone custard
2 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
250g mascarpone cheese (at room temperature)
150ml whipped double cream
I jar of Wild at Heart Hedgerow preserve
In a large heat-proof bowl beat the egg yolks, vanilla seeds and sugar together until they are thick and creamy (an electric hand beater is indispensable here). Place the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Continue beating as the eggs start to cook this should take around 7-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue to whisk for another minute. Put the mascarpone in a small mixing bowl and beat until smooth with a rubber spatula combine with the whipped cream. Fold this into the custard until smooth and lump free. Place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
White Chocolate Ganache
The topping for the éclairs needs to be made before you make the choux pastry. This way it will be the perfect consistency to use once the choux pastry has cooled.
100g white chocolate, broken into pieces
75ml Double cream
Place the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl and cook on high power in a microwave for 30-45 seconds. Remove from the oven and stir thoroughly until all the chocolate has melted. Cover the mixture and set-aside until later.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c /180°c fan.
Draw 12 x10 cm lines on the back of a sheet of non-stick baking paper and place on a large baking tray.
Heat 125ml water with 85g chopped salted butter in a medium size saucepan. Briskly stir in 100g plain white flour and keep mixing until a dough has formed which leaves the side of the pan. Take the pan off the heat and transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly. At this point you can use a mixer or continue to mix by hand. Crack 3 eggs into a bowl and lightly beat. Gradually add the egg mixture to the dough it will be difficult to incorporate at first but it will mix in. Add all the egg to form a shiny thick batter. Scoop the batter into a piping bag with a large circular nozzle around 1.5cm in diameter. Pipe the mixture onto the lines on the baking paper and cook in the oven for 25 -30 mins. They should be firm to touch, puffed up and golden brown. Cool on a rack completely, before filling.
This is where you can let your imagination take hold. I used a combination of crystallised rose and violet petals from Secretts in Milford. Nuts, dried fruit, sprinkles or and cake decorations would work well here.
With a small sharp knife cut a slit across each éclair. Spread each inside on the bottom with a teaspoon of preserve. Fill a piping bag with the mascarpone custard and fill each éclair. Carefully dip the top of each éclair in White chocolate ganache or spread on top with a spoon. Now decorate with your selected topping and leave to set in the refrigerator for 1 hour when they will be ready to serve.