Thursday, September 20, 2012
Banoffee Pie has to be one of my favourite desserts of all time. It’s right up there with sticky toffee pudding and chocolate fondant, but what sets apart a banoffee pie for me is that wonderful combination of sweet caramel, rich cream and exotic bananas. With those key ingredients it made sense that it would make the ideal filling for an alternative eclair. The results are pretty stunning not to mention the extra dimension of deliciousness a crisp choux pastry bun adds to the mix!
Makes 13 eclairs
For the choux pastry:
60g of salted butter
130ml of water
80g of plain flour, sifted
3 large free range eggs
For the creme patisserie:
6 large free range egg yolks
120g of sugar
50g of cornflour
450ml of milk
1 vanilla pod
50g of butter
For the salted caramel sauce:
150g soft dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons of golden syrup
50ml of double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
A generous pinch of sea salt
100ml of double cream, whipped to soft peaks
3 bananas, cut in slices
Preheat the oven 220˚C and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the butter and water in a saucepan and bring to a steady boil until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and add the flour, beating with a wooden spoon until a dough comes together. Place back over the heat and beat the dough in the saucepan for about 40 seconds.
Remove from the heat and set aside. Beat one of the eggs in a small bowl.
Add the the remaining two eggs to the warm dough, one at a time, beating thoroughly until completely incorporated after each addition. Add a little of the beaten egg at a time until you have a consistency that will hold it’s shape when piped. It should be smooth, shiny and just about fall from the spoon.
Using a spatula, scoop the dough into a large piping bag fitted with a large round piping nozzle and pipe 10cm lines on the lined baking sheets, leaving about 4cm in between each line to allow for spreading. Brush each one with the little leftover beaten egg.
Place in the oven, reducing the heat to 190˚C, for approximately 25 minutes until they have risen and are golden and crisp.
Transfer to a wire wrack and allow to cool completely. Using a bread knife split each bun in half.
For the crème patissière, split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add this to a medium saucepan with the milk and place over a medium high heat. Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat. Scoop out the vanilla pod.
While the milk is coming to the boil, place the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until thick and pale.
Pour the hot milk into the bowl, whisking quickly and continuously until it is smooth and incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat beating continuously until it has thickened. Transfer the crème pâtissière to a cold bowl, create a flat surface with the back of a spatula and wipe the top with a little butter (this will prevent a skin forming). Cover directly with cling film and allow to cool completely.
To make the salted caramel sauce. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cream, vanilla extract and salt and whisk together. Bring to a steady simmer for 3 minutes until the sauce is sticky and thick.
To assemble the eclairs, mix the crème pâtissière with the whipped cream and fill a piping bag, fitted with a small round nozzle. Pipe the cream on to the inside of the bottom of the choux bun, add slices of banana, pipe another layer of cream and place the choux bun lid on top. Spread the salted caramel glaze over the top of each eclair and repeat with the rest.
Serve straight away or the eclairs will keep for 1 or 2 days in the fridge.
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