Something that makes summer in Finland really summer is strawberries. Finally warm summer weather reached us too and strawberries are ready to be picked. As I illustrated in this post, in Finland there is this great habit of picking strawberries directly from the field, getting them cheaper than if bought already picked. Also this year I collected two buckets full and stored them in freezer for wintertime. It’s true, strawberries are not so great when thawed, but are still perfect for smoothies or for sauces to go along with some rice porridge.
The best way to enjoy strawberries, though, is to eat them fresh.
Summer for me means fresh flavors, and what’s fresher than citrus? Before our trip, I had discovered an amazing combination: lemon curd + earl grey. I had made a truly delicious lemon earl grey pie and from that I got inspired to make these éclairs.
In Paris, very close to our PerfectlyParis apartment, we had a boulangerie that had incredibly soft and delicious éclairs, which I remember with great nostalgia. Eclairs are something I really explored in taste for the first time in Paris, and immediately fell in love with. In Italy we have a thing called bignè, which is made from the same paste as éclairs, that is choux paste, but the shape is different and the fillings too.
Choux paste is something really interesting, in my opinion. It contains no yeast or baking powder, but at the same time grows very much when baked, becoming hollowed. The first time I tried it came, but I made one mistake: I used a too small piping hole. The secret to make the paste grow while it bakes is to pipe it and not touching it anymore. If you do it, it will compact and not be fluffy. Gluten-free eclairs are really easy to make, all you’ll have to do is to use rice flour in the choux paste instead of normal flour and that will do the trick. The lemon lime curd will stay good for several days if kept in refrigerator. You could even freeze it, actually!
So here you go with the recipe, let me know if you make it and did it turn out! 🙂
- 80 g of butter
- 100 ml of water
- 100 g of rice flour
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 80 g of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 50 g of butter
- 200 ml of heavy cream
- 2 bags of earl grey tea
- Pinch of vanilla extract
- Fresh strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 230° C.
- Bring to boil the water and the butter in a metallic saucepan.
- Add a pinch of salt and the flour and mix vigorously till the mixture will be a ball and it will leave the pan clean.
- Add the eggs and mix.
- Pipe the dough with the help of a pastry bag onto a baking tray covered with baking paper. The strips should be around 10 cm long and 2 cm thick, so use a very big round piping tip or, if you don’t have so big ones, just use your pastry bag without the tip (as I did) or a plastic food bag with a hole.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 230°C, then lower the temperature to 150°C and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Let the pastries cool down.
- Cut the cooled pastries in half vertically.
- Put into a metallic bowl the eggs, the sugar and the lemon and lime juices and zests.
- Place the bowl onto a saucepan or cooking pot, which will be half filled with hot water, creating a bain marie.
- Place the saucepan on the stove, keeping the water hot, but not letting it boil, and whisk gently till the mixture will solidify and become creamy.
- Remove from heat, add the butter and mix.
- Place a cling wrap onto the curd, so that it touches completely the surface of the curd, in order to avoid it to crust.
- Put the heavy cream into a bowl.
- Add the earl grey bags and let me soak.
- With a spoon, squeeze the bags onto the sides of the bowl, repeating the process till the cream will taste like earl grey.
- Add the vanilla extract and whip.
- Fill the pastries with the lemon curd.
- Top the eclairs with the earl grey whipped cream, with the help of a pastry bag.
- Decorate with strawberries and lime zest..
The ceramic I used as a background is from Florim Ceramiche, to be precise the Graphite color from the collection Maps of Cerim and the little bowl is from Broste Copenhagen. Thank you to Florim and Broste for these fantastic collaborations!