This week I wanted to have a go at baking choux pastry eclairs. The only issue was that I'm not a fan of cream fillings :( My boyfriend and I however both adore cheesecake, so we decided to combine eclairs with the essence of cheesecake - filling the eclairs with a cream-cheese and cherry filling, and topping with icing and digestive biscuits (to resemble the original cheesecake base).
I wasn't sure whether this recipe was work, but was thrilled with the result. I found they didn't go soggy even when they were filled and eaten the next day! Better yet, the indulgence of the cheesecake filling, with the tang of the cherries is perfect in the soft eclairs. This bake has serious yum factor!
Makes 12 eclairs
For the choux pastry:
- 50g butter
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 150ml water
- 65g strong bread flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
For the cheesecake filling:
- 200g soft full fat cheese
- 50g butter, softened
- 100g icing sugar
- 100g cherry jam
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 100g digestive biscuits, crushed to a fine crumb
1. Preheat the oven to 190c/180c fan/gas mark 5. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
2. Make the choux pastry. Chop the butter into 1cm chunks, and put into a large saucepan, with the caster sugar, salt and water. Heat until all of the butter has melted, then bring to the boil.
3. Once the mixture has come to a boil, take off the heat, and immediately add all of the flour. Stir vigorously – the mixture may look loose/lumpy at first, but keep beating until it begins to come away from the side of the pan.
4. Gradually add the eggs – beating vigorously (this is easiest as a two person job, with one person whisking, the other pouring the eggs). The dough will become stiff and glossy.
5. Ideally place your dough in a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle attached. We didn't have any and so instead used a teaspoon. Pipe/spread 10cm lines of dough onto the baking sheets, leaving at least 2cm between each piece of dough.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, until well risen and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and pierce the eclairs horizontally – this allows the air to escape and dries out the center.
7. Make the filling. In a medium bowl, cream the butter until very soft. Add the cream cheese and icing sugar, and beat until smooth. If you find the filling is lumpy, place in a blender and process until smooth. Alternatively sieve in the icing sugar.
8. Add the cherry jam to the filling, teaspoons at a time, and ripple through (you want the filling to look marbled.
9. Make the icing for the topping by adding 1 tbsp water to the icing sugar. Stir until the icing is smooth and drops off the spoon (add a little more water if needed).
10. To assemble, halve the eclairs horizontally. Sandwich the two halves with the cheesecake filling. Top with icing, and sprinkle on the crushed digestive biscuits.
Note: If you don't want to make eclairs, why not try profiteroles instead? Simply pipe or dollop golf-ball sized spheres of dough onto a baking sheet. Dab a finger in water, and pat down the top of each profiterole (this smooths the top of the profiteroles giving a more even bake). Bake for 30 minutes like the eclairs, and fill :)
Here are some other bakes you might enjoy: