I SAW a short film recently that opened with a very young Ewan McGregor standing on a wide, deserted beach, miles of open sand in every direction.
The day was grey, bland, the wind still and the tide far out. Only a fresh, gooey chocolate eclair with its crispy golden choux pastry, piped cream and glossy chocolate topping lay on the beach in its crimped white baker’s paper.
Ewan looked up and down the beach, first close by and then further out into the unbroken flat horizon and back down to the éclair placed on the sand. No footprints or marks gave any hints as to how it arrived there.
The sky was grey with nondescript clouds. Little waves lapped in the distance and there was nothing and nobody anywhere except the fresh, inviting chocolate éclair. He picked it up, sniffed it, spun it round, in every way it was perfect. He lifted it to his lips, silence all around, and gently peeled back the crimped paper and took a delicious large bite deep into the chocolate, choux and cream.
Suddenly a wire ripped up from the beach, Uwan clenched his cheek as a hook had embedded deep into his skin and begun to pull him towards the ocean. He fought to get away but was weak from the pain of the hook and was pulled into the shallows. No one was around to help and into the ocean he was pulled , he flipped and kicked about fighting for life and then he was gone.
Hooked, line caught and gone, everything went silent and still!
Chocolate éclairs/profiteroles makes 10/20
150ml/5 fl oz water
60g/2 ½ oz plain flour
Pint vanilla cream
75g/3oz dark chocolate
Pre heat the oven to 200C
Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the cold water. On a gentle heat melt the butter into the water, turn up the heat and bring to a rapid rolling boil. Sieve the flour onto a sheet of paper and picking up the edges shoot the flour into the water, turn off the heat and beat for a couple of minutes, it will form a paste. Allow to cool slightly, beat in the eggs one at a time.
You will end up with a soft drop consistency.
The size you pipe or spoon the mixture is a matter of taste, although I recommend keeping them delicate as when filled with cream and chocolate they are very rich. Pipe onto a well greased baking sheet or greaseproof paper. Sprinkle the tray with a little water, just shaking it off your finger tips.
This helps create extra steam which will help puff the chouxs. Place in the oven and after five minutes turn up the heat to 220C for a further 15-20 minutes, again the rising heat helps the choux to puff.
When cooked the choux will lift from the tray and feel really light.
Whip the cream, adding vanilla and sugar to taste
Melt the dark chocolate in a small bowl over simmering water.
Pipe the cream into the cooled éclairs and dip the tops into the melted cream
Just don’t give any to the fish.