Chocolate eclairs with creme patisserie

September 22, 2021

For my self-designated French week, one must make choux! There are a lot of components to these eclairs; the French certainly don't do pastry by halves. Was it worth it? Mais oui!

Makes around 20

Choux pastry:

200 ml water

80 g butter

pinch salt

pinch sugar

1 1/4 c flour

4 eggs

Creme patisserie

1 1/4 c milk (I used homemade almond)

1 tsp vanilla paste or extract or 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

3 egg yolks

1/2 c sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 Tbsp cornflour

Chocolate ganache:

150 g dark chocolate

1/2 c cream (I used coconut)

1/2 c hazelnuts, dry roasted and chopped

Make the creme patisserie first or the day before.

In a medium saucepan heat the milk and vanilla on medium heat until just boiling.

In a medium bowl whisk together egg and sugar until pale and creamy, then mix in flours. The mixture should leave a ribbon trail.

Take milk off the heat and pour a little into the egg mixture to loosen it. Mix in rest of hot milk, then pour back into the saucepan.

Return to medium heat, constantly whisking until thickened into custard, up to 5 minutes. Transfer into a bowl and cover with cling film, pressed directly onto the custard so it does not form a skin on top. Let cool to room temperature then chill in fridge. Creme pat can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Whisk again or sieve to remove any lumps before using. Do not freeze.

To make the choux, put the water, butter, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat until just boiling. Take off the heat and add in sifted flour all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dry ball of dough forms that doesn't stick to the sides of bottom. Leave to cool.

Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Preheat oven to 210C.

Crack eggs into a small bowl and whisk lightly. Reserve 2 Tbsp of egg into a small bowl, mixed with 1 Tbsp water to make an egg wash and set aside. Add the eggs little by little into the dough, whisking constantly. You can do this by hand or electric mixer, or transfer dough to a food processor and drip the egg in slowly. Mix until a glossy thick batter forms. Let cool. Secure the baking paper to the trays with a tiny dab of batter on each corner. Spoon choux into a piping bag with a 2 cm wide nozzle. 

Pipe strips of choux on your trays approx 10 cm long, 8 to 10 per tray. I used kitchen scissors to cut the choux off as my piping skills aren't great. Brush with egg wash.You can use the brush to tidy up the shape your eclairs and flatten any bumpy bits.

Bake for 15 minutes then reduce oven to 190C and bake for a further 20 minutes until dark golden brown. Rotate trays halfway through.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Fill the choux by either cutting down the underside to open the eclair and spooning the creme pat in or put creme pat in a piping bag with a long thin nozzle and inject into the underside of the choux to fill it.

Make the chocolate ganache by melting the chocolate and stirring in the cream until incorporated. Spread ganache over the eclairs  and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Eat straightaway or store covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.



September 20, 2021

From left: Wheat baguettes; spelt baguettes

I came across this excellent no-knead recipe on Baking a Moment. Creating steam in the oven produces a crunchy crust. I added slightly more yeast for the spelt version. This is the start of a week of baking in memory of France. We had tickets booked to Paris for July 2020, would have been our first trip back in 10 years. Really hoping it's not another 10 years before I can savour real French bread and pastries again.

Makes 4 small loaves

1/4 c warm wat...

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Carrot cake roll

September 19, 2021

Carrot cake with a twist, a roll actually. This carrot Swiss roll brings the mighty combo of spicy carrot cake and cream cheese filling into every bite. Thanks to Denizen for the inspiration.

3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 c sugar
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c grated carrot (about 2 medium size)

1 c icing sugar
250 g cream cheese
85 g softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 190C. Line a 25 cm x 38...
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Chocolate mint thins

September 17, 2021

Better than store-bought for sure! It's a three-part process but definitely worth the delight in biting into your own fancy chocolate and mint biscuit. The recipe from @kitchenoftreats can be easily adapted to be gluten and dairy free. These store well in the freezer.

Makes 24-28

1 c flour of choice

1/3 c cocoa

60 g butter or non-dairy spread

1/2 c  sugar

1 egg


1 1/2 c icing sugar

4 tsp milk of choice

1/2 tsp peppermint essence

1 Tbsp jam mixed with a little hot water


250 g dark chocolat...

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Citrus peel cookies

September 16, 2021

Needed a quick bake to use up some mixed peel that's been sitting in the pantry for too long! It's worth the extra effort to add the tangy drizzle icing. You can swap out the butter for a non-dairy spread and use whatever flour you like.

125 g butter or non-dairy spread

1/3 c sugar

1 c flour (I used gluten free)

pinch salt

fine zest of 1 lemon, lime or orange

1/2 c mixed peel

For the icing mix 1/2 c icing sugar with the juice of 1 lemon, lime or orange to make a drizzling consistency.

In a bowl cream...

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Brioche scrolls 2.0

September 15, 2021

I first made brioche scrolls in during 2020's lockdown. It's not surprising I've had cravings for enriched dough again, since I haven't been able to purchase my favourite brioche at my local cafe, Seabreeze. This recipe yields a smaller amount of dough, but it fits perfectly into a bundt tin to make a beautiful wreath. The dough is best chilled overnight in the fridge to develop flavour so make it the day before you want to eat them!
There are many delicious flavour combos you can use for your...
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Banana bread cookies

September 11, 2021

This is adapted from Donna Hay's ingenious 4-ingredient recipe. I just used less banana to more flour ratio so the mixture wouldn't be so soft. They are not very good-looking cookies so you can jazz them up to look more appealing. The cookies have a crispy shell and a soft banana bread middle - a real wholesome treat.

Makes about 15
3/4 c mashed banana (about 2 medium)
3 c almond flour or almond meal (I grind almonds in a coffee grinder then sieve)
1/2 c coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
To sprinkle: 1 ...
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Striped Swiss roll

September 9, 2021

This is a little fiddly to make, but looks great! Takes your stock standard Swiss roll to a new level. You can get even fancier by dividing your batter into more colours. If your mixture gets too runny you can chill one colour of stripes in the fridge before you add the next one.

3 eggs

1/3 c caster sugar (I use organic golden)

1/3 c flour + 1/2 Tbsp hot water

1/4 c flour + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder + 1/2 Tbsp hot water + 1 Tbsp milk

2 piping bags or plastic bags

1 1/2 c whipped cream mixed with 1/2 c ja...

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Caramel cashew fudge

September 6, 2021

This is Donna Hay's simple recipe for a better-for-you fudge - only 4 ingredients! You can use another nut butter and mix or match your nuts if you prefer, such as almond, hazelnut, macadamia, pistachios or tahini. It's best to use roasted nuts for flavour. You can also add dried fruit, such as sour cherries or cranberries, but there is already enough dates to make the fudge sweet.

2/3 c cashew butter

400 g fresh pitted dates (medjool are best but you can use any other kind. Dried dates too can...

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Boiled chocolate cake with glaze

September 3, 2021

The 9-year-old wanted me to get back into the "chocolate zone" - so I dutifully obliged with the easy boiled chocolate cake and tzujed it up with a chocolate glaze. It uses one pot and minimum utensils.

125 g butter

1 c coconut sugar

1 c water or espresso coffee

2 Tbsp cocoa 

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 c flour (I used spelt)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda


200 g 70% dark chocolate

100 g butter

1/4 c liquid glucose

2 tsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a bundt tin or line a 20cm...

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EST. 2010

Frances C loves to bake. She's also a freelance editor and DJ. She shares some of her adventures, culinary or otherwise, on Instagram and Facebook.

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