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First, make the choux pastry. Put the butter in a saucepan with 450ml water. Sieve the flour into a large bowl and set aside. Bring the butter and water to a fast boil, simmer until the butter has melted, then tip in the flour and beat like mad with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and is lump-free. Tip into the bowl and spread the thick paste up the sides a little to help it cool quickly, then leave for 10 mins.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6 and cut two pieces of baking parchment to fit two baking sheets. Using a ruler and pen, mark 10 lines about 12cm long over each piece, leaving plenty of space between the lines, then flip the parchment over. Fit a piping bag with a large round piping nozzle, about 1.5cm wide.
When the flour paste has cooled but is not cold, start adding the egg, bit by bit, beating well between each addition until you have a smooth batter which will reluctantly drop off the end of your spoon (you can do this in a freestanding mixer if you have one). You may not need to use all the egg, so add it slowly. Transfer to your piping bag and use a little of the mixture to stick the parchment to your trays.
Pipe the choux onto the baking sheet, using the lines as a guide. Pipe slowly so the eclairs aren’t too skinny – each one should be about 2.5cm wide x 12cm long. Bake for 35-40 mins, swapping the trays around for the final 10 mins. The choux should be puffed, golden and sound hollow when tapped. You may wish to sacrifice one eclair to make sure the inside is completely dried out – if it’s still moist, the eclair will sink when cooling. Once baked, leave to cool completely. (Can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container, reheat in the oven for 5-10 mins to crisp up before filling.) Split each eclair through the middle with a serrated knife.
Now, make the crème pâtissière. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan. Heat until just simmering, then remove from the heat. Meanwhile, tip the egg yolks into a bowl and add the sugar and cornflour, whisking together until smooth. Pour over the milk mixture, mix, then pour back into the saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 mins until the crème pâtissière thickens to a thick custard consistency. Sieve into a jug, cover the surface with cling film and chill for at least 3 hrs, or up to 3 days.