Sunday 26 April 2015

Filo Eclairs

This is some sort of an invention that I concocted after wanting to recreate a cannoli I had ages ago and remembering thoughts that they'd be awesome to make myself. Cannoli are Sicilian pastry desserts, the singular is cannolo, meaning "little tube" can be filled with either fresh ricotta or pastry cream ( à la American style). 

But, after researching I discovered it was a lot harder than I had previously first thought! First problem = you need a pasta tick! Secondly = you need special cannoli tick- again! So failing to have the correct culinary equipment (sigh) I have to resort to my own version which is much more comparable to that of an eclair, so hence the name for these but I don't care anymore because they tasted really good!! 

My version involves making your own moulds out of tin foil which is very easy to do and rolling layers of sugary filo pastry around it until you form a tube. Here you can use cannoli moulds instead if you are fancy enough to have them. (Good for you!! Sorry for sarcasm.) The sweetened pastry shells cook really fast - so be warned! Which is a good thing because the quicker you get to eat them. The filling is a matter of making crème pâtissière (which is custard for those of you who are not aware) and then you fold this into whipped cream to give lighter more airy creamy custard. 

You can be more elaborative with these if you want and add other flavourings into the filling such as coffee or go all out with more chocolate! You could sprinkle chopped pistachios onto the piped chocolate topping or some crushed freeze dried strawberry for a bit of colour and texture. It's up to you to be creative. 

Filo Eclairs


(Makes 12)

Pastry cases:
8 sheets of pre-prepared filo pastry [about 39 cm x 30 cm in size]
8 tbsp caster sugar
Sunflower/olive oil cooking spray

4 egg yolks
70g caster sugar
30g cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
340ml milk
300ml whipping cream

To decorate:
100g milk chocolate
1 tablespoon icing sugar


To prepare the filling, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar until light and thick, then whisk in the cornflour. Pour the milk into a saucepan with the vanilla extract and bring the milk to the boil and then switch off the heat. Pour the milk in a slow and steady stream on to the egg mixture, whisking continuously all the time. 

Return the mixture to the saucepan and continuously whisk over a low heat until it starts to thicken, make sure you scrape down the sides and bottom, otherwise it will burn. Once it releases a bubble or two, take it off the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover with cling film (pat it down so it sticks to the mixture) and refrigerate for at least an hour before using. 

Preheat the oven to 190 °C/ 375 °F/ gas 5.

To make the pastry shells moulds, cut out 12 (roughly 15 x 30 cm) rectangle pieces of tin foil. Using your finger as a guide, loosely roll up each foil piece to form a cylinder with a 1-inch opening. Lightly coat the outside of each cylinder with cooking spray.

Place 1 filo sheet on a large cutting board or work surface (cover the remaining dough to prevent drying with a damp teatowel); lightly coat the sheet with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of sugar, then place another sheet on top and spray and sprinkle with sugar again. Cut filo layers lengthwise into 3 equal strips so 13 x 30 cm rectangles. Place a foil cylinder at the bottom of 1 filo strip, (don't worry it's supposed to be larger in length than the pastry itself) and roll it up around the cylinder. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining filo so each one being 2 layers, cooking spray, and granulated sugar in between each and roll up around the foil cylinders. 

Bake the pastry shells for about 8-10 minutes until pale golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Carefully remove foil cylinders from filo shells by twisting ends of foil in opposite directions and gently pulling foil from them. 

Next whip the cream and fold into the crème pâtissière that has been chilling in the fridge - make sure it is cold before using. Fill into a piping bag and cut a hole large enough hole for it to fit just inside the diameter of the pastry shells. Pipe the cream halfway into one tube and then pipe more into the other end to fill completely. Repeat with the other 12. Melt the chocolate and spoon into a piping bag, snip a 0.5cm hole and drizzle chocolate  evenly over filled pastry shells. Sieve a little icing sugar over each and serve immediately or same day. You can prepare the filling and pastry shells and store separately up to 3 days in advance and fill when ready to serve. Store filling in fridge and pastry in air-tight container.

Post a Comment