These Chocolate Eclairs will have your guests in utter disbelief that you made them yourself

Basic Choux Pastry
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
3/4 cup (180 ml) water
1/2 cup (125 g) real butter
1 cup (120 g) cake flour
big pinch of salt
3 extra large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

Chocolate topping
1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh cream
2 T (30 ml) golden syrup
3 T (45 ml) butter
2 slabs (90 g each) dark chocolate, chopped

Cream filling
2 cups (500 ml) cream
2 T (30 ml) castor sugar
1 t (5 ml) powdered gelatine
1/2 t (2,5 ml) vanilla essence
a pinch of salt

How to
Basic Choux Pastry
Adjust oven rack to middle position and line a large baking tray with non stick baking paper. Preheat oven to 200C. Place milk, water and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a fast boil. Cook until butter has melted. Add all the flour and salt at once. Reduce heat to low.

Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for exactly 3 minutes until pastry mixture forms a ball.

Transfer pastry mixture immediately to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Allow to cool, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Beat whole eggs and yolk together. Add eggs to dough in a thin steady stream while running processor on high speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blitz for a further 30 seconds.

Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm plain nozzle. Glue the corners of baking paper down with a little of the raw dough to secure the paper. Pipe 8 cm long fingers on the paper, spacing them about 3 cm apart.

Bake for 15-18 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180C and bake for 10 minutes more. Remove puffs from oven and make a slit lengthwise along the side of each for steam to escape. Return the pan to the oven, switch the oven off, open the oven door a little and leave the puffs to dry out in the oven for a final 15 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack. Slice in half lengthways.

Chocolate topping
Bring the cream to the boil in microwave or small saucepan. Add golden syrup, butter and chocolate. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes or until chocolate has melted. Mix well. Allow to cool until mixture has thickened to a coating consistency.

Cream filling
Whip cream until slightly thickened. Mix the sugar, gelatine, vanilla and salt together. Add to cream and beat until soft peaks form (gelatine helps to stabilise cream). Spoon or pipe the cream into the cooled puffs. Replace tops and gently drizzle chocolate over eclairs.

By: Ina Paarman

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