Inspired by the Great British Bake Off – Chocolate eclairs

The Bake Off is getting pretty difficult now, with the semi-final last week and the final coming up. I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t be able to make anything they did in the show itself, but I was keen to be inspired. They baked the following:

  • Signature dish – Petit-Fours
  • Technical challenge – Fraisier cake
  • Showstopper – Choux pastry gateaux

I figured that chocolate eclairs would be a good compromise, although the recipe confused me a bit as it seemed to have chocolate on the inside and white icing on the outside. All the eclairs I’ve ever had have cream on the inside and chocolate on the outside.

This probably should have been a warning to me, because this turned out to be a really rubbish bake.

Step 1 – Ingredients!

Step 2 – Make the pastry dough.

Step 3 – I hadn’t quite anticipated how much piping this recipe would involve. The dough had to be piped into eclair shapes, but I wasn’t really sure how much to use, how much it would rise when baked. It didn’t rise very much, and my eclairs were very flat.

Step 4 – The crème patissière started out pretty well, but then I think the eggs overcooked a bit. This was before adding chocolate, then I melted the 90% cocoa solids and made it a bit chocolatey. I thought, upon a little taste, that it was very much like Angel Delight.

Step 5 – The recipe calls for piping the cream into the eclairs, but mine weren’t really risen enough for that to happen. Instead, I tried to split them like hot dog buns and do it that way. It made a bit of a mess, but that got covered by the icing.

Step 6 – Eat!

Conclusion – Yea, I didn’t really like these at all. They weren’t like proper eclairs and none of the steps seemed to go off without a hitch. I pondered trying to do the pastry again but didn’t really have the energy to do it. Let’s just brush this one under the carpet and chalk it up to experience!

I must say that I am really ready for the Bake Off to come to an end next week (as a baker, not as a viewer!) When I set myself this challenge, I wanted to push myself to try new things so that I could find out if baking was as hard/complicated as it looks. I’ve done that successfully, and I’m inspired to try new things and keep baking, but I’d like to be able to do it on my own terms. One more epic Bake Off and then perhaps we’ll recap the good and the bad from the last few weeks. I definitely know which category the eclairs will fall in!