Eclairs and the Like.

Eclairs and  profiteroles are made from choux pastry which is a French word pronounced ‘shoe’ and it is not a pastry you roll out, but a mixture of butter, water, eggs and flour made in a saucepan and then either piped out on to a baking sheet or spooned out with a teaspoon to make whatever size you like.

When we eat eclairs they are piped out in a piping bag with a plain nozzle on to the baking sheet in to a long shape which is as long or short as you wish. They can also be piped out in a round shape.  You can use a teaspoon to place them on the baking sheet if you don’t want to mess around with a piping bag.

Profiteroles on the other hand are piped out  either with a plain nozzle or a star shaped one.  The size can be small or medium.  Whether you make an eclair or profiterole they are removed from the oven and slit open with a knife to let steam escape and put on to a rack to cool.

Before serving they can be filled with icecream, whipped cream or confectioners custard or even a thick chocolate sauce and topped off with a chocolate glaze or just plain melted chocolate.

 Profiteroles can also be served as a savory finger food with cream cheese and herb filling or any savory filling the hostess wishes to use.

 The basic recipe is  1/2 cup a water   measured into a medium saucepan and you add 4 Tablespoons of butter.  Heat rapidly until butter melts.  Bring to a boil and remove pan from the heat and immediatly add 1/2 cup flour all at once,beating vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the side of the pan.  Do not do it over the heat as that will separate the butter from the mixture.

Cool slightly and make a well and add 2 eggs one at a time and beat until it looks glossy and mixture falls away from the spoon.

Either place mixture in a piping bag with a plain nozzle or a star if using, and pipe onto a greased baking sheet.  Or use a teaspoon instead.    Bake at 400F about 20-25 minutes until brown and crisp.  Remove from the oven and slit open one side to allow steam to escape.  Fill with your choice of filling.

If you want to make chocolate profiteroles you simply add 1  1/2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder when you add the flour.

A quick and easy dessert to serve up and they can be made well in advance.  Just put into a warm oven if using at a later time, for them to refresh.

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