This past summer I traveled through France and was able to experience some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had in my life. Seriously, so good… so so so so good! From macarons to eclairs to cream puffs, everything I put in my mouth was a flavor unlike anything I’d ever had before.
This past Fall I watched another season of The Great British Bake Off and got really excited when the bakers made some of these pastries I experienced while in France. Between the two I knew I had to try my hand at something as delicate and delicious!
On one TGBBO episode, choux pastry was made and I got to see many of the bakers create eclairs in various different ways. I then watched a Paul Hollywood video explaining the process even more. It seemed pretty easy, to be honest. A lot easier than I expected. Pair the choux pastry with a homemade crème pâtissière and chocolate ganache and I’ve made Chocolate Eclairs!
Not going to lie, it took me three attempts at making these Chocolate Eclairs to really get the recipe down right. Since this was a completely new endeavor for me, I wanted the eclairs to not only look good, but taste good too!
I think I hit the mark with these chocolate eclairs too because let me tell you… they are out of this world good! Especially when the creme pat was still cold… omg. To die for!
I really hope you give these eclairs a try, they are so worth the effort!!!
- 300ml whole milk
- vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
- 90g granulated sugar
- 50g cornflour
- 1Tbsp kirschwasser (you can use any liquor to flavor)
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 75g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
- 120ml water
- 65g all purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 250ml heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 200g high quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used Lindt 50% chocolate)
- 200ml heavy cream
- 2Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1Tbsp vanilla
- In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan, whisk together the milk, vanilla pod and it's seeds over medium high heat. Continue to cook until it begins to boil, immediately remove the milk from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.
- While the mixture is cooling, in a medium bowl whisk together the sugar and cornflour until combined. Add the eggs, egg yolk and kirschwasser then whisk until smooth and pale yellow, about 2-3 minutes.
- Once the milk has cooled, strain it into the eggs (discarding the pod) and whisk to combine. Immediately pour it back into the pan and place it over medium heat.
- Whisking continuously, cook 4-7 minutes over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Constantly whisking will insure no lumps form and you have a smooth cream. Cook until the mixture becomes thick enough to fill a bag and pipe.
- Pour the cream into a clean, glass gowl then cool for about 2-3 minutes in an ice bath. Press plastic wrap onto the top of the cream so a film doesn't form. Chill several hours until cold.
- Preheat oven to 400F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Measure the flour by weight then sift it onto a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the water, salt and butter over medium high heat. Slowly warm until all the butter has melted making sure the water does not bubble or evaporate. .
- Once all the butter has melted, quickly bring the mixture to the boil and tip in all the flour in one go. Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon. NOTE: The dough will come together, keep beating!
- Put the pan back on medium heat and continue to cook the dough for 1-2 minutes, continually stirring. You want a smooth, heavy dough that pulls away from the sides of the pan.
- Drop the dough into the bowl of your stand mixer and allow to cool until tepid, about 5 minutes.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl until combined, then gradually beat them into the dough with an electric whisk or mixer, or a wooden spoon, beating well after each addition. (You may not need all the egg.) The dough should be very shiny and paste-like, and fall from a spoon when lightly shaken.
- Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1.25cm/½in plain nozzle and pipe 12 x 10cm/4in lengths onto the greased baking tray.
- Sprinkle the tray, not the pastry, with a few drops of water, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, without opening the door, reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp.
- Remove the tray from the oven and carefully make a small hole in the side of each éclair to allow steam to escape. Return to the oven and bake for a further five minutes, or until the pastry is completely crisp. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- For the filling, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until just stiff.
- Once the éclairs have cooled, cut down the length of one side of each éclair and pipe in the whipped cream.
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) and allow it to cool slightly. Dip the tops of the éclairs in the chocolate and let the chocolate set before serving.
- Chop the chocolate into fine pieces and place a medium glass bowl.
- In a small sauce pan, heat the cream over medium high heat until just boiling. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes - do not stir during these 2 minutes!
- With a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together until smooth and incorporated.
- Add the butter and vanilla and stir until butter has melted and vanilla has been incorporated.
- Allow the chocolate to sit for 5 minutes at room temperature before dipping the eclairs.
- Using a 1/4in round piping tip, gently press two holes on the bottom of an eclair on each end.
- Attach the same tip to a pastry bag and fill it with cream. Gently press the tip/bag into the holes you created and slowly squeeze cream into the hole until you see it come to the hole on the opposite side. Repeat this process with all the eclairs.
- Dip the top of each eclair in the warm, melted chocolate allowing the excess to drip off. Place it on a wire rack and allow the chocolate to firm, about an hour.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Store in a bakery box or on the counter with plastic wrap over the top. If you store it in an air tight container, the pastry will lose it's crisp. If you plan to keep them for more than a day, store them in the refrigerator but know the dough will become softer.