Fresh, fruity and creamy. These eclair combine the freshness of the strawberries and lychees and the creamy vanilla flavour of the pastry cream. With its elegant style this eclair is the perfect Valentine's special.
Special material requirements
Star nozzle (e.g. Decora 865)
Round nozzle (e.g. Wilton 1A)
Small heart shaped cookie cutter
Perforated silicone mat (optional)
Spray gun and compressor (optional) or pink velvet spray in a can
Yield: 14 eclairs | Difficulty: medium
280g strawberry puree (10% sugar)
255g fresh strawberries
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp corn starch
3 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp lemon juice
150g lychee puree (10% sugar)
3/4 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 1/2 gelatine sheets
Pastry cream with mascarpone
325g whole milk
40g butter (room temperature)
4 1/2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp corn starch
1 vanilla bean
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
50g butter (room temperature)
60g fine brown sugar
pink food colouring
Pâte à choux
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
150g Valrhona Strawberry Inspiration (tempered)
150g Ruby chocolate (tempered)
pink rose petals
50g white chocolate
50g pink cocoa butter (or a mix of red and white)
Place the strawberry puree, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla paste in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat.
Put the corn starch in a separate bowl and add some of the hot puree. Whisk until there are no lumps, then pour the corn starch mix back into the saucepan.
Boil the puree on medium heat for a couple of minutes while constantly whisking. When the puree thickens, remove from heat, transfer into a bowl and cover with cling film to touch.
Let it cool down and place it in the fridge overnight.
Cut the fresh strawberries in small cubes and fold into the chilled puree.
Transfer into a piping bag and refrigerate until used.
Fill a bowl with cold water and place the gelatine leaves inside to soak.
Place the lychee puree, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat.
As soon as it boils, remove the saucepan from the heat. Squeeze out excess water from the gelatine sheets and add to the puree. Whisk until all of the gelatine is dissolved.
Transfer the puree in a bowl, cover with cling film to touch and let it cool down. Then place it in the fridge overnight or until it's set.
Place the confit in a tall cup and mix it with an immersion blender.
Transfer into a piping bag and keep it at room temperature until needed.
Pastry cream with mascarpone
Place the milk, sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan and heat it up on medium heat.
In a separate bowl combine the whole egg, egg yolk and corn starch.
Shortly before the milk starts to boil, remove from the heat and add little by little to the egg-corn starch mix while whisking in between to avoid lumps.
When you have added half the milk to the eggs, pour the egg-milk mix back into the saucepan. Heat the mixture on medium heat while constantly whisking until the cream thickens.
Remove from heat and add the butter. Whisk the mixture well until the butter is fully melted and incorporated.
Transfer through a sieve to a bowl and cover with cling film to touch. Place in the fridge overnight.
Add the mascarpone and whisk by hand right until you have a smooth cream. If you still have some lumps in the cream, pass it through a sieve.
Place about 1-2 tablespoons of the cream in small piping bag without nozzle. You will use this cream for decoration purposes of the chocolate toppers and the petals.
Transfer the rest of the cream into a piping bag with the round nozzle (Wilton 1A). While not in use, place the cream in the fridge.
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together until well combined.
Thinly roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper.
Place the dough in the freezer until ready to use.
Pâte à choux
Place the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat while constantly stirring.
When the liquid starts to boil, add the flour and stir until well combined. Keep stirring the dough with a spatula until you have a matte film at the bottom of your saucepan.
Place the dough in a bowl of a stand mixer and whisk with the paddle attachment to cool it down to around 50°C or until there is no more steam coming up.
Break up the two eggs with an immersion blender or a fork and slowly add little by little to the dough, while still whisking. Make sure the dough has incorporated all of the egg before you add more of it.
Place the dough in a small bowl and cover with cling film to touch. Place the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Transfer the dough into a piping bag with a French star nozzle (I used Decora 865).
Preheat the oven to 170°C fan.
Pipe the choux dough in a straight line, about 12cm long, preferably on a perforated silicone mat. If you don't have that, pipe it on baking paper.
Take the craquelin out of the freezer and cut rectangles that measure approximately 12 x 2.7cm and place them on top of the piped choux dough.
Bake the eclairs for about 20 minutes or shortly before they start turning brown. Then turn the oven off and let them sit in the hot oven for another 30 minutes.
Pour the tempered Valrhona Inspiration on an acetate foil and thinly spread it with a spatula. Let the chocolate set until it's still soft but not wet when you touch it.
Use your eclair cutter to cutout eclair toppers. Cut out as many toppers as you have eclairs, or maybe also some spare ones just in case.
Repeat step 1. and 2. for the Ruby chocolate. Additionally cut out little hearts in the corner of the Ruby eclair toppers.
When the chocolate has completely set, remove the acetate foil and place the toppers in the fridge.
Combine the white chocolate with the pink cocoa butter and heat it up to 50°C. You can either do this in a chocolate melting machine or in the microwave in impulses.
Add the chocolate-cocoa butter mixture to your spray gun, take the Ruby chocolate toppers out of the fridge and spray them until one side is fully covered.
Cut out a rectangle on top and along your eclair. I like to keep the cutouts and place them back after the filling but that is not necessary.
Fill the bottom and the sides of the eclair halfway with the strawberry compote.
Pipe some lychee confit in the middle of the eclair and cover the top with more strawberry compote. If you kept your cutouts, place them back on the eclair.
Pipe the pastry cream in drops along the eclair on top.
Place the Valrhona Strawberry topper on top.
Pipe with the pastry cream, in the separate piping bag, small dots in the middle of the topper and leave out the part where the heart would be visible. This will create a 3D effect of the toppers.
Place the Ruby chocolate topper with the heart cut-out on top.
Pipe some cream on a rose petal and stick it to the Ruby chocolate topper on the side opposite of the heart cut-out.
Pâte à choux: when you pipe your eclair and you see there are a lot of air pockets, scrape the dough down, put it back into the piping bag and repipe. Air pockets deform your eclair while baking.
Decoration: Instead of the Valrhona Strawberry Inspiration and the Ruby chocolate you can use white chocolate and colour it red and pink.
Decoration: while you prepare the velvet spray mixture, place the spray gun in the oven at 40°C. This will prevent the velvet mixture to crystallise in the spray gun too quickly.
Velvet spray: this step is optional. The velvet spray creates another structural dimension, but can be skipped. It still looks nice if you just use the Ruby chocolate as is or pink coloured white chocolate.