Preheat the oven to 210°C.
Cut the butter into small pieces.
Place the water, salt and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and mix in the sifted flour. Return to the heat and mix until the mixture no longer sticks to the bottom of the pan. Transfer into a food processor and beat in the eggs one by one. The mixture should be shiny and smooth and have a dropping consistency. You may not need to add the whole of the third egg.
Place the mixture into a piping bag and pipe small éclairs (5 cm by 1.5 cm) on to a baking tray. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
Split the vanilla pod and grate. Boil the milk with the vanilla pod.
Break the eggs into a bowl and add the sugar. Whisk energetically for one minute before adding the flour. Next, add the hot milk, mix again and then return to the pan. Bring back to the boil and cook for 3 minutes whisking continuously.
Transfer the crème pâtissière onto a tray, cover with cling film to prevent it from drying and set aside in the fridge.
Once the crème pâtissière is cool, whisk the double cream until you have it has the texture of chantilly cream and then fold into the cold crème pâtissière. Fill a piping bag with this mixture.
Pierce a small hole in the base of each éclair and fill with the crème pâtissière.
Place the double cream and the milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Break the chocolate into small pieces and then pour the cream/milk over the top. Whisk until the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth and shiny sauce.
Dip the flat side of the éclairs into the chocolate sauce and leave to cool.
«The eclair pastry can be frozen when cooked. Fill with chantilly cream for a really quick dessert.»
A classic French patisserie delight. Serve at a party or simply make at home as a treat.