We are always looking for great tasting and pretty desserts that are easy and quick. Éclairs are not quick, but are somewhat easy to make, and worth the effort. What is better than crunchy, creamy and chocolaty all in one?!
These are fun in place of ordinary Birthday Cake, for a meal with friends, or just because you want some! Go on, give it a go. You will not be disappointed!
Step #1- create the Éclair Shell using Pate Choux (aka cream puff dough)
Recipe loosely borrowed from: http://www.steamykitchen.com/6659-super-simple-pate-a-choux-basic-cream-puff-recipe.html
Pate Choux Ingredients:
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter = 8 Tblsp
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup eggs (4 large eggs)
- Pinch salt
Bring the water and butter to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the flour and stir rapidly with a wood spoon. The flour will absorb the water quickly and a dough will form and pull away from the sides. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour and cook off some of the water, another minute or two.
You have two ways to add the raw eggs. I personally enjoy method #2, which is using the same pot and a wooden spoon. It’s a good workout.
- Adding the eggs using a stand mixer: Transfer the paste to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for about one minute. Add one egg and mix until the egg is incorporated into the dough. Do the same until all eggs are incorporated into the dough.
- If using the same cooking pot: Allow dough to sit out and cool for a couple of minutes, stirring with a wood spoon to get some of the steam out. Add one egg and mix until the egg is incorporated into the dough. Do the same until all eggs are incorporated into the dough.
Prepare a baking sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Fill the dough into a piping bag and pipe either 3 inch wide by 2 inch tall rounds, or pipe an elongated shell that is four inches long by one inch wide. Your choice of shape. I prefer the rounds as they are easier to fill with the pastry cream.
Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Turn over down to 350 and bake for 20-30 minutes.
Step #2 – Create the Pastry Cream
* Pastry Cream Ingredients:
1 Quart milk
5 ounces sugar
4 egg yolks
3 ounces corn starch mixed into 1/8 cup milk
3 ounces unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
- Place the milk, half the sugar and the butter in a heavy sauce pot and bring to a boil.
- Place the egg yolks and remaining sugar in a mixing and whip together.
- Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mix while whipping to combine.
- Add the corn starch slurry
- Pour back into the sauce pot over medium heat and whip until mixture becomes thick. This will take about five minutes.
- Stir in the vanilla. Spatula out the mixture into a mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pop a small hole in the plastic wrap to allow the steam to escape and place in the fridge to cool.
Step #3 – Make the Chocolate Glaze
* Chocolate Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup half & half
Place the chocolate and the half & half in a metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a sauce pot of simmering water. Mix the chocolate and cream with a clean wooden spoon until the chocolate just starts to melt. Turn off heat.
Step #3 – Assembling the Éclairs
- Cut the éclair shells in half horizontally.
- Fill with about 1/3 cup pastry cream
- Put the lid back on the éclair
- Warm the chocolate/cream mix and spoon over the filled éclair
- Place on individual plates, serve with sliced fruit, berries or toasted slivered almonds
** EDITORS NOTE: A pastry bag is not necessary for this recipe. It just makes it look more elegant. Using big, round spoonfuls of batter will work just as well. Then carefully use a small spoon the pastry cream in to fill.