Chocolate Eclairs

Serves 24
50g butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs, light beaten
150g dark chocolate melts
300ml thickened cream
1/4 cup custard powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Put butter and water in
a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Add flour and stir continuously over the heat for 2-3 minutes or until mixture begins to form a ball and leaves the sides of the pan.

2. Transfer mixture to the small bowl of an electric mixer. Spread mixture up the sides of the bowl to cool slightly. Add eggs gradually while beating until mixture becomes glossy. Spoon mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain tube.

3. Pipe 5cm lengths of mixture onto trays and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C and bake for a further 10-12 minutes until puffed and golden. Allow to cool slightly, cut in half horizontally. Place halves on oven tray and return to oven for 5 minutes until dry and crisp. Allow to cool completely.

4. Put chocolate melts in a small heat-proof bowl, put over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted. Dip the top surface of each eclair in melted chocolate and put on tray next to bottom half until set.

5. Beat together cream, custard powder, sugar and essence until soft peaks form. Spoon mixture into clean, dry piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain tube and pipe along length of bottom pieces. Replace chocolate-covered tops and serve.

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