Banana and vanilla cream eclairs with nutella

2 Apr

My ultimate banana eclair with vanilla cream and Nutella (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

Sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind. In food terms, that would mean: ignore the kilojoules, and go for pure pleasure. These long eclairs (or choux buns, as they are also referred to) are filled with slices of fresh banana and sweetened vanilla-pod cream, then topped with pure Nutella spread straight from the jar. It is the stuff childhood dreams are made of.

I am a huge fan of Limnos Bakers – a patisserie chain throughout the Cape Town Metropolitan area. They make one of the best (my favourite) banana eclairs ever: a long choux bun filled with banana mousse and fresh cream, topped with banana fondant. It is so delicious my mouth is watering as I’m typing.

Generally speaking, many people struggle to bake eclairs. Somehow, they have gained a reputation as a tricky customer. With a few handy tips, you won’t have to fear these beauties anymore:

  1. Don’t let the water and butter mixture boil before the butter has completely melted (otherwise the liquid will reduce).
  2. Always use large eggs at room temperature – not medium, not extra large, not jumbo.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, taking care to fully incorporate each one before adding the next.
  4. Don’t overbeat the mixture. Beat it until the eggs are fully incorporated and the mixture is just glossy.

I use the recipe for choux paste out of Larousse Gastronomique – my food bible. It is simple and classic.

Ingredients for choux paste: (makes about 40 small buns or 20 large buns)

  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • large pinch of salt
  • 2 t (10 ml) sugar
  • 65 g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 250 ml (125 g) flour
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature

Method:

  1. Add water, salt, sugar and butter to a small saucepan. Heat gently until the butter melts, then bring to the boil.
  2. As soon as the butter starts to boil, take the pan off the heat, then add the flour all at once and cook the paste until it thickens, stirring with a wooden spoon. It takes about a minute for the mixture to form a ball. Do not overcook the mixture or beat it too vigorously as it will become greasy.
  3. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time (do it by hand with a wooden spoon or with a stand mixer using the  beater attachment), continuing until each one is fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Use a piping bag to pipe long buns on a greased/lined baking sheet, leaving enough space between them for swelling. (or use a spoon to drop balls of paste on the baking sheet)
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 180 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes (smaller buns will only take 10-15 minutes). The buns should be golden brown.
  6. Transfer cooked choux pastries to a wire rack to cool and slit them open to allow steam to escape. This will allow the steam to escape, and keep them crisp on the outside while moist on the inside.

Fillings and toppings:

  • 250 ml cream
  • 2 t sugar
  • seeds of one vanilla pod
  • 3-4 fresh bananas, sliced lengthways
  • 1 jar of Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
  1. Whisk the cream with the vanilla and sugar untill stiff. Fill the pastries with a slice of banana and some vanilla cream.
  2. Heat the Nutella carefully in the microwave for a few seconds, untill slightly more runny and easier to spread. Be careful not to overheat, as it will split! It happened to me for this shoot! Don’t worry too much, you can add a little water at a time and stir the Nutella well to form a slightly more runny chocolate sauce, which also works well as a topping.

Sweet dreams everyone!

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Pictures: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

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7 Responses to “Banana and vanilla cream eclairs with nutella”

  1. ninatimm April 2, 2012 at 18:06 #

    Lyk alte lekker!!

  2. bakedinpretoria April 2, 2012 at 20:10 #

    Nutella is my secret weapon to make anything taste good, but these eclairs look good enough to not need to resort to dirty ticks like that.

    • The Food Fox April 3, 2012 at 09:58 #

      All hail Nutella! The secret weapon of note!

  3. pencilkitchen April 3, 2012 at 04:26 #

    I’ve always doubted that eclairs can be as good as choux. But the first time i’ve had it, i could have sworn they’re on par! Now, you’ve ruined their peaceful balance!! (hehehe)

  4. Ana December 25, 2013 at 05:58 #

    Making these for Christmas dessert tomorrow…will be my first time making eclairs! Look sooo delicious (:
    For future references, can these be refrigerated ahead of time? Either the pastry alone, or with the filling? Thanks!

    • thefoodfox January 9, 2014 at 13:28 #

      Hi Ana, yes, you can make the choux pastries ahead of time. Let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container on the counter. Or fill them and store them in the fridge for a few hours before topping with chocolate. Enjoy!

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