Thunderstruck

She, in her pastel yellow denim, positioned herself in such a way that the diffused sunlight scattered from the disco ball hung at the window swam surrealistically across her back. Her hair, like Ms. Frizzle’s, hid from my line of vision, her profile. I then proceeded to lift, from my cake caddie, the boxed lid, translucent, as if frosted. And indeed it may as well have been licked by frost, for three hours prior, I, fully armed in short shorts and a plaid chemise had walked it into Chef Radall’s walk-in fridge.

Now the eclairs stand, revealed and bare, on whiteness. Yet, as lightning, a roaring bellow followed.

I can smell them!” she said, with a growl resonating at the back of her throat. She spun around, a wondersome gesture performed on six-inch heels.

You made these?” Her eyes had already found the answer at the corner of my mouth. Then, I could hear the trumpet of angels rejoicing, and the harmonious chorus ascending up an infinite arpeggio.

Miner asked, “What are those?

The music ceased, for two seconds, just enough time for her next words to form:

clouds of chocolate heaven.

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Ingredients for the choux pastry:

150 g unsalted butter

375 ml water

225 g AP flour, sifted twice

3 g fine sea salt

7 FR eggs, at room temperature

12 g white sugar

 

Using the paddle attachment, beat in the eggs, on at a time on low speed (2), scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula. Beat in the sugar. You’ll know you’ve done an awesome job when you scoop up some batter with your spatula and the batter slowly drops down in a thin sheet.

Preheat the oven to 385 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a piping bag fitted with a wide round tip with some of the batter and pipe it onto the prepared baking sheets. Each portion should be about 10 cm in length and 2 cm in width; this way you’ll end up with about 60 eclairs, leaving about 1 inch of space between each. You may need to bake this in batches, but just continue until all the batter is used up. There’s no rush or race against gluten development whatsoever.

Bake for 24 minutes, or until richly golden. Cool completely before filling.

To make the filling, quite honestly, just use your favourite recipe for chocolate pudding, chilled – yes, even instant (Jell-O!) – and pipe it in. When piping in the filling via your piping bag, find the “weak spot” on the eclair shell, I guarantee you there will be one, insert your pointy tip at that spot, and simply fill to your desired fullness.

Happy lightning-eating!

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