This show-stopping edible Christmas tree is made using choux pastry, spiced custard and chocolate ganache. Kids will be amazed at the final result and proud to have helped

Method
1.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3
2.
To make the choux pastry, add the butter, water, milk, salt and sugar to a pan over a high heat and bring to the boil
3.
Remove from the heat and add the flour. Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture until smooth with no lumps
4.
Return the pan to the stove and cook out the flour over a medium heat, beating continuously. Once the mixture starts to come away from the edge of the pan, remove from the heat
5.
Thoroughly beat in the eggs a little at a time. The mixture will look split, but keep mixing until smooth. Be careful not to add all the eggs or the mixture will become too runny. The choux should be able to support its own weight
6.
Scrape the choux paste into a large piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm fluted nozzle. Leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes
VideoVideo: Fill and use a piping bag
7.
Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper and measure the lines for the eclair Christmas tree. Using a pencil and starting at the base of the tray, draw a 30cm long straight line, followed by a 27cm straight line 5cm above
8.
Reduce by 3cm each time until you have a total of 10 lines - with a gap of 5cm between each line, using the second tray when you run out of space. Carefully pipe the pastry down each line, as straight as possible
Room for a little one
This might be a little tricky at first, but once they get the hang of it, your kids should be able to pipe out the pastry in a neat straight line – a great skill for future projects, too!
9.
Using the remaining pastry, pipe circles (2.5cm in diameter) onto any space on the baking tray. Make sure you pipe one larger circle (5cm) to make the 'trunk'. The rest of the circles will be used to decorate the tree
10.
Bake the éclairs in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden-brown. Then, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool
11.
For the creme patissiere, beat the eggs and caster sugar until pale and smooth. Add the flour and cornflour, whisk to combine and set aside
Room for a little one
Whisking is an important basic kitchen skill which can be taught early. Give your helpers a bit of an arm workout by having them beat the eggs and sugar until smooth
12.
Heat the milk, vanilla, allspice, cinnamon and orange zest in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool and infuse for 5 minutes
13.
Gradually, pour half of the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisking continuously, then pour the mixture back into the pan with the other half of the hot milk
14.
Bring to the boil, whisking continuously, and then turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. The mixture should be smooth, thick and glossy
15.
Pour into a large bowl and cover with cling film - so that it is directly in contact with the custard. This will ensure a skin does not form. Set the bowl over a bowl of iced water until cool, then store in the fridge
16.
Once both the eclairs and custard are cool, use a 1cm nozzle to puncture 4 holes along the base of the 4 largest eclairs, 3 holes on the next three largest, 2 in the next largest and 1 hole in each of the remaining 2
17.
Pipe the spiced custard into each hole, including the extra small balls, to evenly fill. Do not force the mixture in as it may break the pastry. Set aside while you make the ganache
18.
For the ganache, add cream to a small saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Then, pour in the chocolate chips and leave to stand until the chocolate softens, approximately 5 minutes
19.
Add the softened butter and stir until smooth and glossy. Spoon into a piping bag with a flat nozzle and run the ganache down the length of each eclair - there should be plenty leftover for the next step - and place to one side to set
20.
Dust a suitable chopping board with icing sugar. To build the trunk, pipe a little ganache in the centre and at the base of the board, place the large profiterole on top
21.
Pipe small dots of ganache on the board to use as a glue to hold the eclair tree in place. Starting with the largest eclair (30cm), continue to lay down all 10 eclairs until the tree is built
22.
Decorate the tree with the small profiteroles, hundreds and thousands, edible glitter and stars - you can also use inedible decorations and tinsel. Dust with a little extra icing sugar and serve
Room for a little one
Let your kids get creative here by giving them free reign with the decorating stage
Send us feedback on this Eclair tree recipe

Ingredients

Choux pastry

  • 4 tbsp of water
  • 4 tbsp of whole milk
  • 50g of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp of caster sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100g of plain flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp of icing sugar, for dusting

Spiced custard filling

Chocolate ganache

Share this Recipe

Nutrition (per Portion)

Calories

380
19%

Sugars

20g
22%

Fat

23g
34%

Saturates

13g
65%

Salt

293mg
5%
of an adult's guideline daily amount
An eclair recipe that pairs spiced custard filling with a classic chocolate ganache recipe. This presentation is Christmas-themed but any will work - be creative!


 
 
 
 
 
 
hh