When we went on our recent trip to the local pick your own, we were lucky enough to come across pink gooseberries. Tempting as it was to whack the lot into a crumble or a fruit fool for ease and simple deliciousness, we ended up picking quite a lot and so they were destined for delicious, rosy-hued jam. I did get the gooseberry fool in the end – but in the form of these eclairs from Candice Brown’s new book, Comfort. Here, the fruit is sweet yet tangy, cutting through the rich cream in a choux pastry shell topped with white chocolate. They barely even feel sinful because they’re so light. Gooseberries are available in June and July, but these eclairs would also work with whatever is in season – I’m looking forward to trying them with raspberry and white chocolate next! To make the gooseberry fool eclairs, you will need:
For the choux:
55g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
75g plain flour
Pinch of salt
(This makes 20 – I halved the quantities and the recipe worked well for a smaller crowd!)
Preheat the oven to 210C/ 190C Fan/ 420F and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Put the butter, vanilla and 160ml of water in a large saucepan over a medium heat and allow the butter to melt, then bring the mixture to the boil. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt on a folded piece of greaseproof paper.
When the butter mixture is at boiling point, remove from the heat and tip the flour mixture into the pan in one go.
Mix vigorously until the pastry leaves the sides of the pan and forms a soft ball. Return to a low heat and continue to stir for one minute. Transfer the hot mixture to a bowl and stir a little to help cool it down. When it has cooled slightly, add one of the eggs, whisking until the egg is incorporated and the mixture is thick and glossy.
Don’t worry if it looks like it is going to curdle – keep beating and it will come together. Add the second egg and beat again until you have a smooth, thick dough that drops off a spoon slowly and holds its shape.
Spoon the dough into a piping bag, snipping a 2 cm opening at the end.
Pipe out 10cm strips on the lined baking sheets, leaving space between each one.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until golden, risen and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the filling, use a wee pot of homemade jam (more on that next week!) or compote made with 200g gooseberries, cooked over a low heat with a tablespoon of caster sugar (or to taste), until soft and reduced. Whip 200ml of double cream until thick but not too stiff. Split the eclairs down the middle, spoon cream into the bottom half and top with a little of the gooseberry mixture.
Drizzle with melted white chocolate (about 100g). A good technique I learned from Candice’s book is to melt the chocolate directly in a disposable piping bag in the microwave. Saves on washing up!
Serve with a cuppa – they won’t last long!
What are you baking this weekend? Are you a gooseberry fan?