AT A GLANCE
Chocolate is hard to go past, but it's by no means the last word in éclair toppings and fillings. We've opted for a strawberry-flecked crème fraîche filling, contrasting with a crunchy caramel top scattered with pistachios - light, fresh and more than a little moreish.
For the choux pastry, see our basic choux recipe.
|01||Preheat oven to 220C and line baking trays with baking paper. Make choux pastry (see recipe above), transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1.2cm nozzle and refrigerate to cool and stiffen (30 minutes). Pipe 12cm lengths on prepared trays, leaving about 5cm between each for pastry to puff. With a wet finger, flatten any peaks on the choux pastry, then bake until puffed and light golden (6-8 minutes). Reduce oven to 170C and bake until golden brown and slightly crisp (8-10 minutes). Place upside down on a wire rack, pierce the base of each éclair with a skewer and cool completely.|
|02||Stir sugar and 80ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, then bring to the boil and cook without stirring until beginning to caramelise (6-7 minutes). Continue cooking, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is evenly dark caramel. Remove from heat and quickly but carefully dip tops of éclairs into caramel. Place caramel-side up on a wire rack, sprinkle one end with pistachios and stand until caramel hardens.|
|03||For crushed strawberry cream, combine strawberries, Cointreau and half the icing sugar in a bowl and crush with a fork to combine. Whisk cream, crème fraîche, vanilla seeds and remaining icing sugar in a bowl to soft peaks, then fold in strawberry mixture to form a ripple effect. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle.|
|04||Combine sliced strawberries, icing sugar and Cointreau in a bowl. Halve éclairs with a serrated knife, pipe crushed strawberry cream over bases, arrange sliced strawberries on top, sandwich with éclair tops and serve immediately.|