Want a fun idea for Halloween? How about a medical themed party? These simple but effective Electrocardiogram or ECG Eclairs are as fun to make as they are to eat. Don't be frightened of making your own choux pastry. It's the easiest pastry out of all of them! Master it and you can make eclairs, profiteroles and cream puffs!
This past weekend we went to my uncle's house for lunch. I've written before about my third culture kid status where I feel half Chinese and half Australian but when I hang out with my relatives I feel a bit more Chinese. The sole anglo at this lunch gathering was Mr NQN.
Lunch unravels the same way every time. As always my uncle's girlfriend Lien fusses around everyone and is always the last one to eat. My niece and nephew run around like they've got ants in their pants and there is always over catering. Always. Over catering is a lifestyle choice and there were 11 dishes on the table.
My uncle who is borderline diabetic kept offering everyone a Coke and when there were no takers he took out an icy cold can from the fridge that sat in front of him. "Watch later, he'll drink that," whispered his son Rich. Cries of "You want some more?" were heard countless of times, food was declined and of course at every family event they marvelled at how much chilli Mr NQN can take, how much rice he can eat and how tall he is. "He's an honourary Chinese!" my mother said about Mr NQN proudly.
I also have another mum (I have a few fairy godmothers actually). Barbara from Barbara Bakes is my adopted mum who lives in Utah (ok well I'm virtually adopted). She was sweet enough to come and meet me and Belinda when we visited Dallas in 2013. I was amazed at how easily we slipped into our friendship. Prior to this, it was mainly an online one but because most blogs are written by real, authentic people it was simply a continuation of our friendship.
Barbara or mum sent me a copy of her new ebook as a present. It's called Dream Puffs and I am so proud of her! Dream puffs includes recipes for eclairs, profiteroles and cream puffs and shows you how easy these little choux treats can be and how many flavour combinations you can have! She has eclair flavours like tiramisu, strawberry cheesecake, key lime, quadruple chocolate as well as classics like Paris Brest and all sorts of clever profiterole ideas.
I decided to make something using Barbara's recipe for choux but with my own spin, a Halloween spin. One of the reasons why I remind her of one of her daughters is because of my love for the upcoming ghoulish holiday (one year I hope to spend Halloween with her!). And so I decided to make EKG or Electrocardiogram eclairs!
You can fill these with whipped cream or creme patissiere. Because her cookbook was about cream puffs I decided to fill them with whipped cream and strawberry jam. The ECG part is the easiest bit and these are very easy to put together. I have to say the most fun apart from eating these is drawing the ECG line! It felt very Dexter.
*And thanks to Barbara, we are giving away 5 copies of the Dream Puffs ebook! Just enter by leaving a comment telling me if you prefer eclairs, profiteroles or cream puffs! Please leave your answer as a comment and you can enter once daily. The competition is open internationally to anyone in the world. The competition closes at midnight AEST on the 1st of November, 2015. *
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Dr Frankenstein's ECG Eclairs For Halloween!
Eclair recipe adapted from Dream Puffs by Barbara Schieving, published by Oxmoor House, a division of Time Magazine
Makes 12-15 eclairs (depending on size)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 3/4 cup water
- 85g/3ozs. butter, cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plain all purpose flour
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups icing sugar (you can also use white chocolate, don't add the water below)
- Enough water to make an icing (start with 1 tablespoon and add drop by drop)
- Red icing pen
- 2 cups pure cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup strawberry jam (not one with too much whole fruit chunks)
Step 1 - Line two baking trays with parchment and preheat oven to 220C/428F. Prepare a large piping bag. Place the water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Remove from heat and add the flour all at once. Place back on the heat and keep stirring until the mixture pulls away from the edges and forms a ball. It will take 1-2 minutes.
Step 2 - Place the mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a beater attachment. Beat the mixture on medium speed for 1 minute. Cool for 5 minutes. Add in 3 of the eggs one at a time until the mixture becomes smooth and glossy.
Step 3 - Spoon into the prepared piping bag and snip the end to create a 3/4 inch opening. Pipe onto the parchment into eclair lengths (about 8-10cms/3.2-4inches or so). With the extra egg, mix the yolk and 1 teaspoon water and brush over the top of the eclairs. Bake at 220C/428F for 5 minutes and then reduce heat to 190C/374F and bake for 35 minutes. Turn off oven and cool eclairs in the oven. Tip: if the eclairs sink in the centre once you've taken them out, the choux hasn't cooked enough inside.
Step 4 - When completely cold, whip the cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Place in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (or plain, nobody really sees this but it's like wearing nice underwear, nobody really sees this apart from you most times). Place the jam into a small piping bag and snip the top off.
Step 5 - Cut the eclairs in half horizontally and fill the bottom half with the whipped cream and then the jam. Mix the icing ingredients together and then dip the top into the icing. Allow to dry before drawing the ECG signal on top. Keep refrigerated until serving.