Choux pastry

½ c flour
pinch salt
55 g butter
½ c boiling water
2 eggs

Glossy chocolate icing
115 g icing sugar

55 g dark chocolate
1 tbs boiling water

Preheat oven to 220 C, line baking tray with baking paper and dust with flour. Sift flour and salt onto piece of waxed paper.
Put butter in a saucepan over low heat and pour on the boiling water. As soon as its melted, remove from heat and tip in all the sifted flour and salt.

Beat with wooden spoon until smooth, then return to the heat and keep beating until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan clean. Put the dough into the bowl of an electric beater or clean mixing bowl.

Turn to medium speed and add one of the eggs. Beat until the egg is absorbed, then add the second egg. Keep beating until the dough is thick and glossy. If you are using a wooden spoon, beat the two eggs and add them to the dough a tbs at a time.

Now shape the dough on to the baking tray. Round shapes are called cream puffs and éclairs are finger shapes. The pastries will triple in size so leave plenty of space around them.

Cover the tray with an upturned roasting dish and put in the oven for 30 mins. The dish keeps in the steam from the dough and makes the pastries puff up to the maximum.

After 30 mins (not before) remove the roasting dish and cook pastries for a further 10-15 mins to complete cooking.

Remove from oven and make a slit in the side of each pastry to let out any trapped steam.

If you want them very crisp you could return them to a turned-off oven for another 30 mins.

Slit open the cream puffs or éclairs with a small serrated knife. Fill with whipped cream or pastry cream.

For the icing, melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Stir in the siften icing sugar and 1-2 tbs boling wagter and mix to a creamy consistency. Beat well. Dip the top of each filled pastry into the icing and set them on a wire rack to dry.


Makes 18

From Alexa Johnston’s Ladies, a Plate (Penguin) -