Savoury Éclairs

This was my entry in the ‘Guess the Decade of the Cheese-Based Canape’ contest, held at our party.

I am delighted to have an opportunity to make these, which I have fancied since my first browsing of Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book. First published by the Jewish Chronicle Publications in published in 1947, I have the 6th edition, from 1958, a family tome with a lovely range of recipes from  bloaters devilled to mock duck to nut frappe.

Despite having shrieked at countless episodes of Come Dine with Me, I didn’t manage to do a practise run of choux pastry earlier in the week, so at 1pm on Saturday, it was fail or fail time.

Savoury Éclairs

Make a choux paste (see page 297), omitting the vanilla essence. Put in a forcing bag with a half-inch plain tube and force into a greased baking tray – not too close together, and about 3 ½ inches long and bake in a moderately hot oven (400 degrees, Regulo 5) for 30 – 40 minutes.

Remove from the tin, slit down the sides with a sharp pointed and leave on a cake tray to cool; then fill with any savoury mixture.

Suggestions for fillings:

  1. Remove skin and bone from some sardines, pound thoroughly with tomato ketchup, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pounded hard-boiled egg and tomato, moistened with salad cream
  3. Tiny roll of smoked salmon
  4. Soft cream cheese, with chopped gherkin, olive, or chives.
  5. Mix 2oz grated cheese with 4 pounded anchovies, a little mustard, and sufficient milk to make a soft paste.
  6. Green peas or macedoine of vegetables mixed with cheese, in a thick white sauce.

So… I slightly re-interpreted suggestion 6, by making a filling of  very thick cheese sauce and adding some shredded spinach.

I also don’t own a ‘forcing’ bag and instead made buns. The amount of pastry made 12 buns.

Choux Paste

(for Cream Buns, Éclairs etc)

Flour 4oz
Butter or margarine 2oz
Water ¼ pint
Pinch of salt
Three eggs
Vanilla Essence

Use a saucepan  to make the paste, one large enough to allow the eggs to be beaten in. Put in the butter, pour over the boiling water, and when the butter has melted stir in the sieved flour, mixing very thoroughly with a wooden spoon, and stir over a gentle heat until the mixture-which is called a panada-thickens and leaves the sides of the pan quite clean. Cool slightly, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat very well and add the vanilla essence.

  • I halved the recipe which made 12 profiterole-sized buns.
  • Why doesn’t it say in the recipe that I’m supposed to boil the water?
  • Please note this recipe has been copied out exactly. (I.e. Yes, it is punctuated exactly like this.)
  • I actually beat the eggs together before adding them as I feared making a horrid mess if I misjudged the temperature of the ‘panada’.
  • I wasn’t sure if it was thickening sufficiently so I cross-checked with the choux recipe from the Reader’s Digest Cookery Year, which has such excellent descriptions for the beginner. I was reassured by the instructions but that recipe had different proportions of ingredients. I found this very worrying.
  • I baked the buns in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  • I then left them to cool for about half an hour.
  • Then I realised they were still a bit pale and gooey looking at the bottom so put them back in the oven on a low heat for another 15 minutes.
  • Assembly at Alix’s involved slicing the buns open, forcing in some filling with a blunt knife and then sprinkling some more cheese on top and heating them in the oven.
  • They may have ended up slightly over cooked.

IMG_1046

Conclusion

Success! They were so tasty that I was glad a couple of our lovely guests had left to attend other events so I could eat two. Yes, I am a mean drunk. I was  interested (and pleased) to see that the consensus was strongly that they were from the 1970s. Probably if I had served them cold, they would have had a different effect. Anyway, they were worth the effort and I am no longer scared of choux pastry.

Chouxed by Elly

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One response to “Savoury Éclairs

  1. Reading this was a blast from the past to my grandmother’s finger food for her cocktail hour. 🙂

    Choux pastry always reads as if it’s an intimidating thing to bake but I may now be curious enough to give it a try after your enjoyable account.