Ispahan éclairs: with a cheat’s mousse filling!

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These éclairs – with the great flavours of raspberry, lychee and rose – are made with a cheat’s  mousse and are topped with raspberry fondant. A sweet treat that is bound to please!

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Ispahan – the combined flavours of rose, raspberry and lychee – is a well-tried flavour and it is absolutely gorgeous. I first had this flavour combination in some macarons I ate ages ago and loved it so much.

I made these éclairs using raspberries that I have just started to pick on the allotment, but I have made these using frozen raspberries that are left to defrost before puréeing.

For the rose flavour, I use just a little rose essence goes a long way, so add a small amount before tasting.

Fresh lychees, peeled and roughly chopped, are wonderfully juicy and bring a delightful flavour.

A cheat’s filling

You can make a classic crème pâtissière (pastry cream), but a good shop-bought custard – from the chiller rather than in a tin – works very well.

To this, you simply beat in melted white chocolate, a few drops of rose essence and then fold in whipped cream. This gives a rich, creamy filling that holds it shape nicely and has more substance – and flavour- than just whipped cream.

Choux pastry tips

There are a few tips to ensure choux pastry perfection:

(1) Ensure the water and milk boils before you add the flour to form the paste.

(2) Cook out the paste for a few minutes over a medium heat, beating all the time with a wooden spoon.

(3) Cool the paste for a few minutes before beating in the eggs (otherwise the eggs will scramble)

(4) Bake in a preheated hot oven.

Recipe for Ispahan éclairs – makes about 25 small éclairs or 15 larger ones

  • 1 batch of choux pastry: made, piped and baked (see recipe here)
  • 200g good quality custard, very slightly warmed*
  • a few drops of rose essence
  • 150g melted white chocolate
  • 200ml whipped double cream (whipped to soft peaks)
  • a few fresh lychees, peeled, stoned and chopped

*the warmed custard ensures that when the chocolate is beaten in, it will blend perfectly. If the custard is too cold, some of the chocoalte might  immediately set and give shards of chocolate inside.

  • about 300g fondant icing sugar
  • a few tablespoons of raspberry purée or raspberry juice to mix
  • a couple of drops of rose essence
  • a few freeze-dried raspberries to sprinkle over

(1) Make the filling by beating the custard, rose essence and white chocolate together. Taste and add a little more rose essence if you think it needs it: be careful though, as it can easily become over-powering! Chill.

(2) Fold the whipped cream into the custard mixture, cover and chill until needed, by which time the chocolate will have set and you have a pipeable mousse-like filling.

(3) For the topping, mix the icing sugar and a couple of drops of rose essence and a little of the raspberry purée, adding more purée until you get a smooth icing. You can have it thick (for piping the icing on top: as I have done with this batch of éclairs) or runnier if you want to dunk the tops of the éclairs into it.

NB: my earlier post on Tips for neat glazes gives further ideas for topping éclairs.

(4) Slice the cooled pastry horizontally and spoon or pipe the filling on the bottom half of each. Sprinkle over some of the lychees. You can go rustic or pipe more tidily as in two of my other favourite flavours below.

(5) Either dip the top halves into the fondant icing or piping the icing on top (see note with stage 3 above). Sprinkle over dried raspberries and chill until you want to eat them.


Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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