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If you think you couldn’t turn out a batch of professional looking and utterly irresistible eclairs, think again… These are very straightforward and will have you wowing family and friends.
Heat your oven to 190°C/gas 5. Line two baking trays with parchment.
Put the butter, sugar, salt and water for the choux pastry into a large saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted then bring to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and tip in the flour. Beat with a wooden spoon to form a smooth ball of dough that leaves the sides of the pan.
Now vigorously beat the egg into the hot dough, a little at a time. This takes some elbow grease! As you add the egg, the dough will become stiff and glossy. Stop adding the egg if the dough starts to become loose – but you should use up all or most of it. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Pipe 4 sausage shapes, about 12cm long, on each baking tray, leaving plenty of space for spreading.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until well risen and golden. Remove from the oven and split one side of each éclair to allow the steam to escape. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the filling, beat the mascarpone until smooth. Beat in the icing sugar and coffee. Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks and fold in. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and fill each éclair with the mix.
To make the icing, put the sugar, butter and salt into a small saucepan. Gently heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the milk, bring to the boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and sift in the icing sugar. Stir until smooth. Spread the icing on the éclairs. You’ll need to work quickly before the icing sets but it can be reheated if it sets before you have finished.
Serve the éclairs as soon as the icing is set.
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