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Choux buns

Choux pastry can be used in a number of different ways, for both sweet and savoury dishes, and it is not difficult to make. Use this quantity and coat with icing to make Chocolate Eclairs for tea, or coat with hot chocolate sauce for Profiteroles to serve as a dessert.

ingredients

makes approx. 8.
150 ml (1/4 pint) water
50 g (2 oz) butter or margarine
Pinch of salt
65 g (2 1/2 oz) flour
2 eggs, beaten

for the chocolate icing:

50 g (2 oz) plain chocolate, broken into pieces
Knob of butter
2 tbsp water
175 g (6 oz) icing sugar, sifted

for the filling:

150 ml (1/4 pint) fresh double cream whipped with 1 tbsp spoon caster sugar

method

1. To prepare the pastry, put the water, butter or margarine and salt in a saucepan and heat gently until the fat has melted.

2. Bring to the boil and, when bubbling vigorously, remove the pan from the heat. Quickly beat in the flour all at once. Continue beating until the mixture draws away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball: do not overbeat or the mixture will become fatty. Leave to cool slightly. Beat in the eggs gradually until the pastry is smooth and glossy.

3. Put the mixture into a forcing bag fitted with a 1.25 cm (1/2 in) plain pipe. Pipe onto greased baking sheets, either in finger shapes approx. 7.5 cm (3 in) long for eclairs or in rounds approx. 5 cm (2 in) in diameter for profiteroles. Allow room between each shape for expansion during cooking.
Bake just above the centre of a fairly hot oven (200°C/400°F or Gas Mark 6) for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is well-risen and crisp.

4. Remove from the oven and make a slit along the sides of the eclairs, or in the base of the profiteroles. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

5. To prepare the chocolate icing, put the chocolate pieces, butter and l tablespoon water in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and gradually beat in the icing sugar until the icing is thick and smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the rest of the water.

6. Fill the pastry with the sweetened cream, then ice the tops of eclairs with the chocolate icing. (If making profiteroles, pile onto a serving dish or in individual serving bowls and pour over hot chocolate sauce.)

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