I think we all need to experiment and try things in life. My obsession being creating the perfect éclair (and croissant, bun, loaf of bread and so forth), I decided to take a standard recipe and try adding my own twist to it. I had been in the kitchen the whole morning to make pastry delicacies for a housewarming party of a friend of ours (task I thoroughly enjoyed) and making some homemade éclairs looked like the perfect ending to a baking marathon.
Now, all I did was adding some espresso powder to a homemade custard and voilà! the perfect coffee custard was born. As for the decoration, I really wanted to try and make some royal icing, so that I made. Piping it was, well, interesting. I think this kind of icing is probably more suitable for dunking and/or spreading. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, royal icing is a type of icing made from raw egg whites, lemon juice and icing sugar. The definitely superior amount of icing sugar in the mixture lends the hardness and pliability to the icing, which really looks like a suppler version of marzipan. You can pipe it very easily, provided you loosen the mixture up by adding some more egg white or food colouring.
- 1 quantity of choux pastry
- 1 quantity of homemade custard cream
- 200g double cream
- 2 tsp instant espresso coffee powder (I used Nescafé Azera)
- 3 tsp caster sugar
- 1 quantity of royal icing
- cocoa powder, to dust (optional)
- Pipe your éclairs on your prepared baking trays and bake according to your favourite recipe. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely at room temperature.
- Once you remove your custard from the heat and transfer it to a bowl to chill it, mix in the espresso powder and the sugar. Gently fold the ingredients in until the mixture darkens in colour. Cover with clingfilm and leave to cool at room temperature, then transfer to the fridge until thoroughly chilled.
- Once the custard has nicely set and is properly chilled, in a separate bowl whip the double cream until stiff peaks form, then fold in the custard. This will be your cappuccino custard to fill the éclairs.
- When the éclairs have cooled down completely, use a small knife to make two holes on the bottom of each one (these will be used to fill them).
- Fill a piping bag with a small nozzle with the cappuccino custard, then pipe in the éclairs using the two small holes. Do not overfill them or the custard will ooze out. Turn upside down and prepare to ice them.
- Transfer the royal icing to another piping bag equipped with a half star nozzle (you are more than welcome to choose your own icing implement), then pipe three parallel stripes on top of each éclair and finish with a diagonal one.
- Arrange the small buns on a tray, then lightly dust with cocoa powder using a small sieve, serve and enjoy.