Food

Easy 4-step choux pastry recipe: How to bake homemade eclairs (with maple syrup and candied pecans)

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Megan Murray
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Try making Maple From Canada’s delicious maple syrup cream and glazed eclairs, covered in candied pecans, as a delicious pastime this weekend.

Who can say no to an eclair? Light and fluffy, creamy and sticky; these slices of pastry heaven are irresistible. 

They also make for a pretty good autumnal treat. In our opinion, eclairs are heavy enough to act as comfort food as the days get colder and evenings get darker, plus they’re delicious with a cup of tea. 

So, do you think you’ve got what it takes to make your own at home? Imagine the satisfaction of scoffing a whole batch of these squidgy, doughy beauties (especially when covered in candied maple pecans and a maple syrup glaze), knowing it’s your own handy work?

If you’re stuck for something to do this weekend, give whipping this yummy recipe up a go, from Maple From Canada and Emma Duckworth.

Ingredients 

Maple pastry cream:

  • 360ml whole milk
  • 80g caster sugar, split
  • 1/2 tsp ground salt
  • 30g cornflour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 40ml pure maple syrup (preferably amber syrup for its rich taste)
  • 40g unsalted butter, chopped

Choux pastry:

  • 240ml water
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 140g flour
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 beaten egg, for egg wash

Candied maple pecans:

  • 100g pecan halves
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (preferably dark syrup for its robust taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

Maple glaze:

  • 160g powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup (preferably amber syrup for its rich taste)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

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Method: 

Maple pastry cream:

  1. Add the milk and half the sugar into a medium saucepan. Over medium-high heat bring the milk to a simmer, almost to a boil.
  2. Whilst the milk is heating up, in a medium bowl placed on a tea towel (to prevent it from slipping), add the rest of the sugar, salt, corn flour, vanilla extract and yolks and whisk until combined.
  3. Once the milk starts to bubble, remove the pan from the heat. Whilst continuously whisking the egg mix, slowly pour a quarter of the milk in a thin steady stream into the egg mix to temper it. When it has been tempered, pour the egg mix back into the milk saucepan.
  4. Place the saucepan back onto medium heat and heat the custard base whilst whisking constantly until it starts to thicken. Once bubbles appear turn the heat down to low and keep whisking for a further 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup and butter and whisk until melted.
  5. Remove from the heat and push the custard base through a sieve over a medium bowl. Immediately cover the surface of the custard with cling film, allow to cool to room temperature and chill in the fridge until required.

Choux pastry:

  1. Heat your oven to 210C. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. In a medium sauce pan add the water, butter, salt and sugar and bring to the boil over medium heat melting the butter.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and tip the flour into the saucepan. Stir until completely combined and the mixture forms a ball. Place back onto the heat and cook out the flour for 3 minutes to dry out the dough. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl to cool for 10 minutes or until the dough has stopped steaming but is still warm. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. The mixture will make a smooth and shiny paste.
  3. Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle and pipe 11cm long lengths on baking paper leaving a couple of cm gaps between each length. Dip your finger in water and smooth the ends of the length so that it doesn’t have a point. Gently brush the choux dough with egg wash.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven, poke a hole in the bottom of each choux to allow the steam to escape and cool for at least an hour.

Candied maple pecans:

1. Whilst the choux pastry is cooling, mix the pecans, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a small bowl until the nuts are fully coated. Lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in a 180C oven for 7 minutes. Remove and toss the pecans on the paper and then continue baking for five more minutes. Remove from the oven sprinkle the sea salt, toss to coat and then allow to cool completely before chopping with a knife.

Candied maple glaze: 

1. In a medium bowl, sift the icing sugar then add the maple syrup, milk and butter and whisk until fully combined. If the glaze is too thick add more milk, one teaspoon at a time. Or if too thin add ¼ cup icing sugar until desired consistency is reached.

To assemble:

1. Scoop the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a long eclair piping nozzle, create a slit in the end of each choux pastry. Squeeze pastry cream into the pastry until it feels full and heavy. Then dip the top into the glaze and finally sprinkle with maple flakes or chopped candied pecans. Allow icing to set for ten minutes. Serve immediately.

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.