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These are my husband's favourites. The choux pastry is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pastry Bible and it works beautifully every time. Sometimes I flavour them with coffee or white chocolate or I just do them the traditional way with creme Chantilly and chocolate glaze. However they're done - they start getting scoffed before the last one even gets iced!
Combine the water, butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil.
Remove saucepan from heat, add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon til the mixture comes together.
Turn the heat to low and put saucepan back on and stir and mash continuously for about 3 mins to cook the flour.
Either put the mixture in a food processor or in a large mixer bowl and process or beat for 30 seconds.
Add the eggs one at a time and keep mixing til they're incorporated.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tube, with pastry.
Pipe 10cm lengths on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Run the tines of a fork down the tops of the eclairs to encourage the pastry to crack evenly when they bake.
Bake in a 180C oven for 30 mins.
When cooked, gently make a hole under each eclair for steam to escape enabling them to dry out inside.
Put them back in the turned off oven for another half an hour to cool down slowly.
Beat cream with all the other ingredients til firmly whipped.
Fill a piping bag and fill each eclair via the hole you made at the base.
Put the butter in a saucepan over really low heat til melted.
Add the icing sugar, milk and caramel essence and beat til smooth over the heat.
Dip the top of each eclair in the icing and let them cool.
I found a nice thick caramel essence at Spotlight (of all places!) but you can get it at specialty stores.
I use the White chocolate powder from Gloria Jeans. It gives the cream filling a really nice flavour and great moussy texture.
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