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Emily Roux's Peanut Butter and Banana Éclairs


Although my mum’s éclairs are hard to beat, I have tweaked the recipe to create a more contemporary, less sweet, éclair. I love using a peanut butter cream with freshly diced bananas. I have also replaced the fondant icing which I find too sugary with a crisp, “craquelin” topping which helps the choux pastry to rise correctly.

If you like, you can pipe and freeze the éclairs in advance and bake them whenever you fancy. When baking from frozen increase the cooking time by five minutes. For double deliciousness, divide your batch of choux pastry and make chouquettes (sugar-sprinkled choux puffs) with one half of the dough.

Emily Roux's Peanut Butter and Banana Éclairs

Éclairs are an enduringly popular French patisserie made with choux pastry, typically filled with cream and covered in icing, but they are equally good with an enormous variety of other sweet or savoury fillings. Growing up, I loved eating my mother and grandmother’s classic éclairs filled with their favourite vanilla and chocolate crème pâtissière.

About this recipe

Preparation Time 45 Minutes
Cooking Time 45 Minutes
Makes 15
Emily Roux's Peanut Butter and Banana Éclairs Emily Roux's Peanut Butter and Banana Éclairs

Ingredients

For the choux pastry

  • 125g flour
  • 100 ml milk
  • 100 ml water
  • 75g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt

For the peanut butter crème pâtissière

  • 500 ml milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 45g flour
  • 60g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • ½ banana

For the crunchy craquelin topping

  • 50g butter, softened
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 60g flour

Method

1.

For best results, make the crème pâtissière a day in advance.

To prepare the crème pâtissière: In a large mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they whiten. Sift in the flour, whisking continuously.

2.

Place the milk and scraped vanilla pod in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

3.

Pour half the hot milk onto the egg mixture whisking non-stop. Then pour the whole quantity back into the saucepan and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Whisk the crème pâtissière continuously for 3 minutes, until smooth and thickened then remove from the heat. Add the peanut butter at this point (the heat will melt it). Pour the crème pâtissière into a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate (preferably overnight).

4.

The next day, peel and dice the banana into tiny cubes (2-3 mm), small enough to fit through the small nozzle of the piping bag. The cream will have stiffened in the fridge, so give it a good whisk to loosen it before stirring in the diced banana and pouring into the piping bag.

5.

Next make the craquelin: Using a wooden spoon, mix together the flour, butter and sugar until thoroughly combined.

6.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper until it is no more than 2-3 mm thick. Lay flat in the freezer for a couple of hours as it is much easier to handle when frozen.

7.

Preheat the oven to 170ºC. 

8.

To prepare the choux pastry: Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and set aside.

9.

Put the water, milk, sugar and butter into a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the butter melts. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil then immediately remove from the heat.

10.

Add the flour and salt to the saucepan and mix well with a wooden spatula until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Reduce the heat to a minimum and keep stirring the dough energetically for a further 2 minutes (at this point the pastry will start sticking to the bottom of the pan).

11.

Place the dough in a large mixing bowl and vigorously beat in the eggs, one by one until the choux pastry is smooth and shiny. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then place in a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm straight nozzle and pipe 7 to 8 éclairs per baking tray.

12.

Remove the craquelin from the freezer and cut rectangular strips slightly larger and longer than each éclair. Delicately place a frozen strip on top of each éclair and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden-brown.

13.

Allow to cool completely then make a small incision on the underside of the éclairs, insert the nozzle of the piping bag and pipe in the crème pâtissière.

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