Chocolate Eclairs | 90 down, 10 to go…

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We’ve reached the final two months of our time in Kenya and before we know it the time will have come to pack up the eye equipment and Mixer and prepare to move home and country once again. There is little time to sit back and think about all that has been, as so much is still going on. We need to keep focussed in these final stages to ensure it all runs smoothly and that we have done all we can to ensure our team will go on to bigger and better things beyond this project. There are three further eye projects planned for Kenya, one of which is the schools one and the others we will explain later. The bakery is also looking promising. The right people are in place, the Ujima board have responded positively and once the paperwork goes through we can start renovations and sourcing equipment. We are no longer working on English timelines and deadlines but have moved in to a middle ground of pushing where we can and learning to wait. Certain things will happen in their own time, regardless of how much we rush or push.

Amazingly, while we have been debating the pros and cons of importing refurbished equipment from the UK or buying locally (there isn’t much choice in Kenya and the prices are really high) we were sent an email explaining a local bakery in the West of Kenya is closing down and selling its baking equipment! Pretty much all the items we need… This could be perfect but we will need to check on the quality and condition of them as well as seeing if we can get them within our budget.

To celebrate reaching a once inconceivable target of 90 we asked the team how they would like to celebrate. The usual roast goat or something a bit different? They deliberated and got back to us that they would like to go somewhere where they could order food from a menu. We thought this was a really sweet idea so booked a place at one of the top hotels in the town centre and enjoyed a meal together. One of our team (who has a brilliant sense of humour) commented on the security/metal detector you have to walk through at the main entrance – he thought the beeping meant he had malaria!

The amazing team enjoying a la carte…

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Next week a film crew from the US will be with us all week making a documentary on the eye project in affiliation with TED so we will be flat out doing our usual combo of baking, eye work and the usual things that fill our days – we will try our best to keep up with the blog.

Recipe – Chocolate Eclairs

Ingredients

For the choux pastry
  • 65g plain flour, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 eggs, beaten
For the filling
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons castor sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons corn flour
  • 3 tablespoons double cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g unsalted butter
For the icing
  • 100g milk chocolate chopped
  • 50-75g yogurt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Generously grease a baking tray with butter.
  2. Sift the flour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper.
  3. Put 120ml/4fl oz water into a medium-sized pan with the salt and butter and heat gently until the butter has completely melted – don’t let the water boil and begin to evaporate. Quickly bring the mixture to the boil and tip in all the flour in one go. Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon – don’t worry, the mixture will look messy at first but will soon come together to make a smooth heavy doughPut the pan back on a low heat and beat the dough for about a minute to slightly cook the dough – it should come away from the sides of the pan to make a smooth, glossy ball. Tip the dough into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool until tepid.
  4. Put the pan back on a low heat and beat the dough for about a minute to slightly cook the dough – it should come away from the sides of the pan to make a smooth, glossy ball. Tip the dough into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool until tepid.
  5. Beat the eggs in a bowl until combined, then gradually beat them into the dough with an electric whisk or mixer, or a wooden spoon, beating well after each addition. (You may not need all the egg.) The dough should be very shiny and paste-like, and fall from a spoon when lightly shaken.
  6. Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1.25cm/½in plain nozzle and pipe 12 x 10cm/4in lengths onto the greased baking tray.
  7. Sprinkle the tray, not the pastry, with a few drops of water, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, without opening the door, reduce the oven temperature to 170ºC and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp.\
  8. Remove the tray from the oven and carefully make a small hole in the side of each éclair to allow steam to escape. Return to the oven and bake for a further five minutes, or until the pastry is completely crisp. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. For the filling, use a wooden spoon to beat the egg yolks with the sugar, corn flour and cream in a heatproof bowl until very smooth, add the 2 tsp vanilla extract.  Tip the mixture into a pan and heat until boiling stirring constantly until very smooth and thick, remove from the heat and add the butter stirring it in.  Cover to stop a skin forming and leave to cool.
  10. Once the éclairs have cooled, cut down the length of one side of each éclair and pipe in the filling.
  11. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) then mix in the yogurt to make the ganache. Use a palate knife dipped in hot water to spread the chocolate ganache.

One thought on “Chocolate Eclairs | 90 down, 10 to go…

  1. Wow 90 down! That seems to have gone quick to somebody who has not had to al with all the hard work and frustrations. Enjoy the last two months! Xx

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