choux buns strawberry poppy vanilla pastry cream

Strawberry Eclairs with Poppy and Vanilla Pastry Cream

What on earth has been going on?  I have not wanted to cook – or even bake. Do you ever get this feeling but times ten? Has it been a gradual form of French strike following the Elections? The weather could also be blamed, but as a Scot one should be used to torrential rain, winds and colder temperatures in June, n’est-ce pas? As you’ve seen recently, I have helped curb this crêpey feeling by sampling macarons, chocolate and delectable pastries around Paris. The only thing that has started to feel lighter is my purse.

Then this weekend I could have drifted off on a petal tasting these luscious strawberries from the market.

Antoine seemed relieved that our favourite restaurants were fully booked; I had forgotten the Roland Garros tennis finals, the Euro Football, then more Euro Football. Instead of being the perfect wife – joining in the banter, shouting hysterically at the screen – I footed it to the sombre kitchen as another deluge drowned my dreary pansies on the windowsill. Checking the football schedule, I can now guarantee a surge and return to home cooking until 1st July.

Macarons? I had no egg whites ready so needed to use up some yolks. What about crème pâtissière but with a twist to the classic? Inspired by the strawberry and poppy macarons from Ladurée and Gérard Mulot last week, I still had some poppy aroma left from my rhubarb and poppy macarons. So here’s a pink poppy crème pâtissière/pastry cream recipe for the egg yolk collection. Use any aroma of your choice in place of the poppy and if you prefer the classic vanilla cream, omit the colouring and aroma and add another vanilla pod. Do you think football fans will notice the girly pink?

Strawberry and Poppy Eclairs

Makes 12

48 strawberries (the sweetest you can find)

CHOUX DOUGH

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Follow the recipe for choux buns then using a piping bag with a serrated tip (about 10mm), pipe out long éclairs on baking trays covered in greaseproof/baking paper (or Silpat mat) Leave a good space between each mound, as they will spread out during baking. No need to glaze. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack then cut the tops off horizontally.

POPPY and VANILLA PASTRY CREAM (Crème Pâtissière)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

500ml full milk
1 vanilla pod (split down the middle)
4 egg yolks
50g cornflour
80g sugar
1/2 tsp poppy aroma
pinch of red powdered colouring

1. Boil the milk with the vanilla pod in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Remove the pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the milk.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar and gradually add the cornflour. Whisk until light and creamy. Gradually add the milk, food colouring and aroma, whisking continuously until thickened.

3. Leave to cool, whisking now and again.

4. Pipe the cream into the éclairs adding hulled strawberries to decorate, place on the éclair tops and dust with icing sugar plus a light sprinkling of poppy seeds.

Hint:

Use half (for 6 portions) and keep the extra choux dough in the fridge for the next couple of days to make :

 

45 replies
  1. Ridwan
    Ridwan says:

    I visit Paris last week,I never had enough Eclairs and macaroons,they are so Good,and yes I love the one with strawberry,Thanks for sharing the recipe,and now I will try to find your book in Amazon 🙂

    Reply
  2. Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef
    Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef says:

    There are times I just get overwhelmed with so much to do that I get to the kitchen and wonder what I went there for. I think it’s perfectly okay to be normal people. 🙂

    These eclairs look amazing. When I have the “can’t-help-its” my food doesn’t look anywhere near that pretty.

    Reply
  3. Nancy/SpicieFoodie
    Nancy/SpicieFoodie says:

    Hi Jill,

    Yes, I get that feeling too. I just have to walk away from the kitchen, computer and go for a walk. But if the weather is bad, like it has been then there’s no telling how I’ll get over it:) Loving your eclairs. They are perfect for summer.

    Reply
  4. Choclette
    Choclette says:

    It’s hard to feel upbeat in this dreich weather, but sorry to hear you’re feeling glum. Those amazingly girly but very tasty looking eclairs must have cheered you up some. Interesting to see you use poppy seeds, I only think to put them in lemon drizzle cake or on top of bread.

    Reply
  5. MaryMoh
    MaryMoh says:

    Oh wow…love your eclairs! They look so pretty, so different from the usual cream filled and chocolate topped ones. These would be great for a romantic dessert, and of course those bright red macarons 😀 Thanks very much for sharing.

    Reply
  6. Liz
    Liz says:

    That’s my kind of dusting, too! These are just gorgeous…and I’m certain they taste as fabulous as they look…mmmmmmmm. We had our share of Euro Football, too…not being able to leave our hotel rooms for dinner till the games ended. Boys…lol. Hope the weather is improving. We had a thunderstorm in Aix, but thankfully it was during dinner and not when we were sightseeing 🙂

    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend, Jill! xo

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Well at least you managed to finally leave the hotel room, Liz. Lol. Weather improving at least: not pretty, not awful, just pretty awful.

      Reply
  7. Kim - Liv LIfe
    Kim - Liv LIfe says:

    Oh, Jill! Yes, yes, yes I get that feeling. Sometimes the thought of heading to the kitchen is so far from what I want to do, and on occasion everyone has cereal for dinner! This summer I’m teaching my son to grill, hopefully that will give me a break once in a while while still getting a nice dinner onto the table.
    These eclairs though… oh MY!!! Fabulous, absolutely fabulous. Olivia saw them and already has them on her list of things to make now that school is out. She is turning into my little baker, and while I’m looking for time off in the kitchen, she is looking to head in. We’ll see what hers look like!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Well between your son getting a grilling lesson and Olivia baking éclairs et al, it sounds like you’re all going to have a wonderful summer, Kim!

      Reply
  8. Amelia Schmelzer
    Amelia Schmelzer says:

    These are so, so pretty! I totally would whip up a batch right now, but it’s 33 degrees C here, and that’s just too hot for the oven. I love the idea of adding poppy flavoring!

    Reply
  9. Cupcake Crusher
    Cupcake Crusher says:

    Those eclairs are so gorgeous (all the photos are beautiful as always)!

    My favorite thing about Jill has to be the way she always adds a special touch… This time, her eclairs are not only with strawberries and vanilla, but also with a touch of poppy!
    Fancy!

    Reply
  10. Carolyn
    Carolyn says:

    I hate when the baking-strikes hit me, because I feel lost without my love of baking. But you redeemed yourself with these gorgeous eclairs!

    Reply
  11. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Ohhhhhh!! Wow wow wow, your eclairs are absolutely gorgeous! Look at those perfect big juicy strawberries inside too! Drooooool… You are expert in choux making! Don’t feel bad, I haven’t had “feeling” for baking for a long time… but I have a huge craving for eating baked goods…

    Reply
  12. Paula
    Paula says:

    For someone who hasn’t felt like baking, you certainly knocked out some fabulous looking and very original eclairs. Wish I could produce baked goods like this whether I’m in the mood or not 🙂

    Reply
  13. Amy @ fragrantvanillacake
    Amy @ fragrantvanillacake says:

    Jill, these are so beautiful! Eclairs are so impressive on their own, but with delicious fillings like strawberries and poppyseeds I would not be able to resist! Your desserts always wow me, and I wish I could taste these :)!

    Reply
  14. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen
    Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says:

    Jill, outstanding photos. My mouth is actually watering at the thoughts of these fabulous pastries. And no, I think if the boys notice the girly pink – they’ll say nothing in case they miss out. Strawberry n poppyseed is inspired!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks Sandra – finishing off on a better note today (Sunday) as the sun is finally out. Ouf! Looks like a great day ahead.

      Reply
  15. Vicki Bensinger
    Vicki Bensinger says:

    Your eclairs are absolutely beautiful. Talk about inspiration – you’ve inspired me to make these especially since I have all the ingredients on hand. I know they taste as incredible as they look. Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  16. Tina@flourtrader
    Tina@flourtrader says:

    Well I certainly do like your method of getting inspired…”sampling macarons, chocolates and pastries…!
    There are very little recipes out there with poppy seeds and I find this post pretty amazing. Instead of the pairing with lemon or citrus, you went with strawberries-yum! The assembly of this pastry is not only stunning but I am sure makes for one heavenly bite. Extra choux dough would not be an issue at my house either-it would stare back at me until I was inspired to use it all up. Great post!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks, Tina. I also love doing lemon, poppy seed and cinnamon macarons but with the strawberries this is very different. Cheers to leftovers too!

      Reply

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