Rhubarb and Custard Eclairs

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It’s the right season for rhubarb, but unfortunately my chickens have annihilated my plant. Apparently chickens love rhubarb leaves (and no, they’re not poisonous to them thankfully!). As a result I’ve only managed to harvest a couple of measly stalks. Not enough for a crumble, but just enough for rhubarb and custard eclairs for tomorrow’s Contact the Elderly tea party.

First you’ll need to make a batch of choux pastry, pipe it into short lines well spaced on a greased baking sheet, and bake until golden, puffed up and dried out in the middle. Remember to prick them with a skewer as soon as they come out of the oven to release the steam and avoid the dreaded collapse. Choux deflation equals sheer frustration. Trust me, I’m talking from experience! You can find a basic choux recipe on my ‘Choux-laa-laa A Paris Brest of Sorts’ post.

Once the eclair cases are baked, use a knife to open them out and set aside ready for piping.

Next, I took the miniscule amount of rhubarb I had, put it in a pan with a few tablespoons of sugar (roughly 4 I think) and added some water.

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Poach until the stalks are tender.

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Then remove from the pan and place on some kitchen roll to dry out.

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Allow the syrup left in the pan to reduce for a few minutes bearing in mind you’ll need about 190mls of it.

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Once reduced, measure out 160mls of the syrup and pour into a pan along with 100g of custard powder. Whisk over a medium heat until the powder is cooked out. You’ll be left with an incredibly thick custard with a hint of rhubarb coming through. Set aside to cool. You could of course make a creme pat (recipe on here), but it’ll lack the rhubarb taste which is why I opted for custard powder.

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Now beat 125g mascarpone with 100ml double cream until combined. Once the custard has cooled down a bit, beat it into the cream/cheese mixture. It will take some working in so persevere. Once combined add in the cooled rhubarb, giving it a rough chop first.

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You’ll end up with a rhubarb flecked custard creation like this:

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Transfer it into a piping bag with a wide nozzle. I used this one:

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Time to start filling the pastry cases.

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Pipe a continuous circle swirl into the opened out eclair case to achieve a pretty effect like so:

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Once they’re all filled, take the remaining rhubarb syrup (there should be around 30mls) and whisk it into icing sugar, adding more sugar until you have a thick consistency.

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Pipe it on top of the eclairs using whichever nozzle you fancy. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

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And there you have it. A twist on the classic cream and chocolate combo. Enjoy!

The holiday snake

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Here in the UK, the school term has just come to an end which means the majority of children’s groups close for at least six weeks. For us, this means no nursery, no toddler groups, no Creation Station. All organised activities on hold, oh, except for the the crèche at the gym… Praise the Lord for small mercies!

Phoebe, like every other three year old on the planet, has absolutely no concept of time, referring to what happened yesterday as, “when I was a baby”, and “in six weeks time” to her may as well be six years.

So, to help her understand she won’t be going back to nursery for a long while I decided to draw a huge ‘Holiday Snake’, with a segment for each day that she can cross off; a super long advent calendar if you will, counting down to nursery. I’m hoping this will make the transition of getting back into the nursery routine easier at the end of summer, seeing as she’ll literally be able to see it coming on the calendar.

A snake seemed the obvious way to go, given the shape of its body lends itself well to accommodating seven weeks worth of segments. I drew it out on a roll of lining paper, then we all joined in to decorate it before sticking it on the back of the porch door.  We can fill in activities on it as we plan them, and it’ll be fun to look back over them at the end of summer to see just what we’ve been up to.

Enjoy the pics…

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