Hello everyone, and happy Friday!
I have a great treat for you today: Homemade Eclairs. They are simply divine!
My daughter gave me a wonderful French cookbook for Christmas. I’ve had so much fun reading it, and without wasting a beat I was whipping up eclairs.
They aren’t difficult to make, but they do take a little patience. I promise you’ll love the end result!
I’ve included the recipe, and I have to tell you this is a long post. So grab a cup of your favorite drink, sit back and enjoy!
You’ll begin making the eclairs by making cream puff dough. The French name for cream puff dough is Pate A Choux.
Here’s the recipe for Cream Puff Dough (Pate A Choux):
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a rapid boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low, and immediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk. The dough will come together, and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for another minute or two to dry the dough. The dough should be very smooth.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or into a bowl you can use to mix with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and a lot of strength. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next.
Don’t worry if the dough falls apart because by the time the last egg goes in the dough will come together again. Once made use immediately or freeze. Fit a large pastry bag with a large (2/3 inch-diameter) plain tip.
Fill the pastry bag with half of the dough and pipe out strips of dough that are 4 to 4 1/2 inches long onto the first baking sheet. Keep the strips about 2 inches apart so the eclairs will have room to puff. Pipe the other half of the dough onto the second baking sheet.
Bake the eclairs for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Continue baking for another 7 minutes, then wedge the handle of a wooden spoon into the oven door so it stays slightly ajar, and bake for about 3 minutes more, or until the eclairs are golden, firm, and puffed. Put eclairs on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
Recipe for Chocolate Pastry Cream:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
- pinch of salt
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, at room temperature
Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven. Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick and well blended. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk—this will temper, or warm, the yolks—then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously, constantly and thoroughly. Bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes then pull the pan from the heat.
Whisk in the melted chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until the butter is fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard until chilled.
Fill the Eclairs:
Cut the eclairs horizontally in half using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion. Lift off the tops.
Whisk the pastry cream lightly to loosen it a bit, spoon it into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe enough into each eclair base to fill it.
You can use a spoon to fill if you prefer. (I tried filling and frosting both ways to see what I liked better).
These were my first attempts at both piping the dough and frosting. I got a lot better with some practice 🙂
I used a decorative tip to dress them up a bit. I love the way they turned out. It’s all your preference here.
Again it’s your preference here. I began by making a confectioner’s glaze.
Although it tasted great and looked pretty, I also tried using a thicker frosting that I applied with a decorative tip. This gives a bite size taste of the frosting. I also added these adorable little heart sprinkles. I adore this look, too! Which one do you like better?
Put 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the milk, as well as the lemon juice. Whisk gently to combine the ingredients. If it seems too thick, add more milk a drop at a time. Using a small icing spatula, glaze the tops of the eclairs then settle the tops gently over the filled bases. If you ‘d like to frost with the thicker frosting, just thicken the frosting and put in a small pastry bag with a decorative tip and pipe on top. I used heart sprinkles to decorate, and I’m really happy with the way they turned out!
Wouldn’t these be a perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day? Thanks for staying with me, and I hope you’ll give them a try. Let me know if you do. 🙂
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