The third instalment of The Great Woolly Bake-Off saw our Digital Executive, Mario, take to the oche.

Mario has been known to bring a range of culinary delights to Head Office from time to time, so expectations were high. He didn’t let us down, and opted to boast his choux pastry skills with his take on Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Eclairs!



Ingredients:

For the choux pastry
  • 70g of plain flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 45g of unsalted butter, diced (plus extra for greasing)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (use free-range if possible)

For the filling
  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 5 tsp Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing
  • 100g of milk chocolate, chopped

Method:
 
  1. Mario preheated the oven to 200C and generously greased a baking tray with butter
  2. He then laid out some greaseproof paper and sifted the flour onto it
  3. Mario then put 120ml of water into a pan with the salt and butter and heated it gently until the butter had completely melted (Note: it’s important not to let the water boil, as it will begin to evaporate). He quickly brought this mixture to the boil and then tipped in all of the flour at once. At this point, Mario beat the mixture frantically with a wooden spoon until it formed a smooth, but heavy dough.
  4. Once the dough formed, Mario put the pan back onto a low heat and beat the dough for a minute or two to slightly cook the dough. It will come away from the sides of the pan to make a smooth, shiny ball. He then tipped the ball of dough into a mixing bowl and left to cool until it was tepid.
  5. Meanwhile, Mario beat the eggs in a bowl until combined and then gradually beat them into the dough with an electric whisk beating well after each addition (you may not need all the egg). The dough should resemble a paste and fall from a spoon if lightly shaken.
  6. Mario then spooned the mixture into a piping bag that had been fitted with a 1.25cm nozzle and piped 10cm lengths onto the greased baking tray.
  7. In-between the piped pastry on the tray, Mario sprinkled a few drops of water and baked in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, Mario reduced the temperature of his oven to 170C for 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown (Note: it’s important not to open the door before lowering the temperature
  8. Once removed from the oven, Mario made a small hole in the side of each éclair to allow steam to escape and then gave them a final 5 minutes in the oven until the pastry was completely crisp. At this point, he removed them from the oven for a final time and transferred to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Mario then whipped the cream, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl until just stiff
  10. Once the eclairs were completely cool, he cut down the length of one side of the eclairs and piped in the cream.
  11. Mario melted his chocolate by suspending a bowl over a pan of simmering water without the bottom touching the water and left to cool slightly. He then turned his eclairs upside down and gently dipped them in the chocolate to finish.
The Result:

Mario’s attempt at this confectionary classic were simply divine. Yamas!