Salted caramel remains a popular choice for desserts – the sweet, slightly bitter notes combining beautifully with flavour bursts of flaky sea salt. Here the caramelised sugar is used to flavour both the silky pastry cream and the rich, thick glaze.
A sprinkle of fresh, bright lemon thyme adds a little herbal contrast, and the flaky sea salt used to decorate the top brings bursts of crunchy texture and saline flavour.
Although I chose not to include them this time, strawberries make a great addition to this dessert and help to balance the caramel if you don’t like things too sweet. Trim and slice them into 4mm pieces and press into the pastry cream before adding the glazed top (pipe in a little less pastry cream to leave room for the berries) or arrange the slices on the lid for decoration. Or just serve on the side.
This recipe calls for a batch of six choux éclair shells. Please see the accompanying choux pastry recipe for éclairs for full instructions on how to make the dough.
The pastry cream needs to be made at least four hours ahead (even better overnight) of when you want to eat the éclairs, so bear this in mind when planning how you make the recipe.
You might have more salted caramel than you need for this recipe, as I have allowed for factors such as residue left on the pan. But there are plenty of uses for leftovers! It will keep for at least two weeks in the fridge – just bring to room temperature or warm slightly to soften before use.