Lemon Meringue Eclairs with Fresh Cream & Raspberries

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    12

Appears in

Bake

Bake

By Lorraine Pascale

Published 2017

  • About

I’ve given these éclairs a twist by substituting choux pastry with Italian meringue. This kind of meringue has the same ratio of sugar to egg as Swiss meringue, but the sugar is heated to make a syrup, which is then added to the egg whites to give a more stable and strong texture. This recipe calls for lemon curd, which you can choose to buy or make from scratch.

Ingredients

  • 240 g granulated sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 4 egg whites

For the filling

  • 250 ml double cream
  • 60 g lemon curd (use shop-bought)
  • 12 raspberries

Equipment

  • sugar thermometer (optional)
  • stand mixer or hand-held electric whisk (optional)
  • piping bag with 1cm star nozzle
  • piping bag with 1cm straight nozzle

Method

To make the meringue, put the sugar and the water into a pan over a low heat and allow the sugar to dissolve. Have a pastry brush standing in a cup of hot water nearby and use this to brush down any sugar on the sides of the pan, as this may cause the mixture to crystallize into a lump.

Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat a little and let the mixture bubble away. To check that it is ready, take ½ teaspoon of the sugar syrup and drop it into a mug of cold water. Wait for 15 seconds for the sugar to harden, then pull out the sugar with your fingers – it should be a little ball that is firm to the touch. If the ball does not form, then the sugar syrup needs to be cooked for longer. You can also use a sugar thermometer to test when the sugar syrup is ready. The temperature needs to read 120°C (250°F).

When the sugar syrup is almost ready, start whisking the egg whites. Whisk them until they are almost at stiff peaks. I like to do this in my stand mixer, but you can also use a hand-held electric whisk or a balloon whisk.

As soon as the sugar syrup is ready, carefully add it to the egg whites in a steady stream, whisking all the time, making sure that the sugar syrup does not touch the whisk. Keep whisking until the meringue is stiff and shiny with a stiff peak.

Take the piping bag fitted with the star nozzle and half-fill it with meringue. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment and dab a little of the meringue under each corner of the baking parchment. The meringue will act like glue, stopping your parchment from flying around in the oven.

Pipe twelve éclair ‘halves’ onto a baking sheet, each 8cm long. Repeat on the other baking sheet to give you twenty-four halves in total. Place the sheets into the oven to bake for about 1 hour, or until the meringues are firm to the touch, crisp and well dried out, but still white. Switch the baking sheets around halfway through baking to ensure even cooking.

Once the meringues are cooked, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool completely. Once they are cool, carefully take them off the baking parchment and place them on a plate. Whisk the cream in a bowl until soft peaks form and then take the piping bag fitted with the straight nozzle and half-fill it with the whipped cream. Filling halfway ensures that the cream does not squidge out of the top when you are piping. Set the piping bag aside.

Put twelve of the meringue halves flat-side up onto a serving plate, securing them with a little dollop of cream so that they do not fall over. Spoon 1 teaspoon of lemon curd on top of each one and pipe about 1 tablespoon of whipped cream on top of the lemon curd. Place the other meringue halve on the top to sandwich it together, and then repeat with the rest of the lemon meringue éclairs.

Decorate each lemon meringue éclair with a raspberry, gluing it on with a little dab of the remaining whipped cream, and serve.