Today I present you with a recipe I made to prevent food waste – it’s lemon meringue eclairs!
I’ve taken the simple choux pastry éclair and jazzed it up by using a fresh cream and homemade lemon curd filling and topped with a lightly torched meringue topping. It’s like having a lemon meringue pie but done differently… It works well, trust me on this one.
Lemon is the perfect flavour for the spring/summer period to be honest, it’s refreshing and tangy – what’s not to love? If you or someone you know likes éclair’s and a lemon meringue pie, I can promise this is the recipe for you.
I know some people can be put off by choux pastry as it can go wrong, but if you follow my recipe it will work out for you – I promise you. Making the pastry isn’t hard or too time consuming to make and you don’t need any specialist equipment to make these.
As with all my recipes, you’ll want to do some prep work. This is to prevent you from making mistakes as you go along. Take some time to weigh up your ingredients, making sure the scales you’re using are accurate (I really recommend using digital scales if possible), line your baking trays with greaseproof/parchment and preheat your oven to 200˚c/390˚f and get ready.
150g Plain flour.
4 Eggs, medium sized.
Pinch of salt.
300ml Double cream.
100g Icing sugar.
1 tsp Vanilla extract.
Lemon curd (homemade or shop bought – I haven’t shared the recipe for the lemon curd as I have a video coming soon on how I make my jams, spreads and curds).
I can’t give you the exact amount I used as the eggs I use are probably a different size to the ones you’ll be using, however, I’ll tell you how to calculate the meringue topping.
Get the weight of 2 egg whites and whatever that is, double it for the sugar you’ll need. Easy enough to remember, the ratio of egg to sugar is 1:2.
To start on the choux pastry, get yourself a small-medium saucepan and place the water, butter and salt into it, place that saucepan onto the hob over a medium heat and allow the ingredients to melt, give it a good stir to combine the ingredients once they start to melt. Once the mixture almost reaches a simmer, you’ll want to take it off the heat and add in the flour, whisking it in until its fully incorporate, then place back on the heat and whisk continuously until the flour has been cooked out. You’ll know once the flour has been cooked out as it will leave a coating on the bottom of the saucepan, once you start to see this, get ready to take it off the heat and place it into a mixing bowl and beat it on a medium-high speed until you’re able to touch the side/bottom of the bowl.
Once the pastry has cooled down enough for you to touch the bowl, you can add your eggs, one at a time, beating well in-between each addition. The amount of eggs I have recommended was the perfect amount for my pastry, you may find you need more or less egg (eggs are all different sizes, I used medium eggs). You will want the pastry to take 5 seconds to fall from the paddle attachment, that’s how you know you’ve got the perfect amount of egg.
Once all the egg has been added to the mixture, you can then place your choux pastry into a piping bag (either fitted with a wide plain tip nozzle or not, I opted not to use a nozzle this time around). Get your baking trays (which may or may not be lined with greaseproof/parchment paper). You can then start to pipe on your choux pastry, snip a large hole at the bottom of the piping bag and pipe 5 inch lines onto the greaseproof/parchment paper, once you’re done piping them, you’ll notice they have an ugly end to them, don’t worry about this too much as you’ll correct it before you bake them off.
Now that you’ve got your pastry piped out, you can finish it off before you bake them off. Get a small bowl of water and dampen your finger and just press/smooth down the rough looking edges, this will help correct the ugly looking end and once you’ve done that, you can then go ahead and get yourself a small bowl and beat an egg, then use this as egg wash on the pastry. Once they’ve all been dabbed with water and brushed with egg, you can then place into the oven and bake them off.
While they are baking in your preheated 200˚c/390˚f oven, you’ll want to bake them at that for 20 minutes, then open the door. This is to let the steam out of the oven, this is normal for this recipe, then close the door and bake for a further 10 minutes at the same temperature. Remove them from the oven once they are golden brown and they are firm to the touch. Allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to cooling racks to fully cool down. You can now freeze the eclairs if you wanted to, they are perfect from frozen as well.
While you’re waiting you can make your sweetened whipped cream filling. Into a mixing bowl add all of the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla, then beat on a medium-high speed until everything is well incorporated and the cream holds it shape. Try not to over whip the cream, otherwise it will turn granular and not have a pleasant mouth feel, place into a piping bag fitted with a small star piping nozzle and set aside in the fridge until needed.
To fill the eclairs is super simple. You can either slice the eclairs open and fill them that way or using the small star tip, gently poke holes into the bottom of the éclair and pipe the cream and lemon curd in that way. I prefer the second method as its what works best for me but feel free to experiment and see what method you like or works best for you!
Now, for the final element of these eclairs, the meringue topping. Don’t be put off by meringue, it’s nowhere near as difficult as it may appear. Get yourself a clean mixing bowl and whisk, into the bowl place the egg whites and whisk on a high speed until egg whites are frothy, then you can start adding your sugar, a little at a time until it’s all added. Once all of the sugar has been added, you can then whisk on a high speed until the sugar is fully incorporated, to test whether it is or not, get a small amount and rub it between your index finger and thumb and if you feel any granules of sugar, continue whisking and if you don’t feel any granules, stop mixing and place the meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with your nozzle of choice.
Take your eclairs and get ready to finish them. I piped a rope of the meringue on each éclair but feel free to pipe however you like. I just liked the effect a rope had, its completely up to you. Then to finish them off, get yourself a blow torch and start to torch the meringue mixture. I made it a little darker in some places than in other but again this is optional and you can make them all a nice golden brown colour if you’d like.
That’s all for this week guys, I hope you enjoyed. If you did, don’t forget to share this recipe with your family and friends and enjoy it. I’ll be back next week with another blog post and YouTube video, so join me then. In the mean while, don’t forget to check out my Instagram and twitter. The YouTube video will be linked down below!