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Chocolate Éclairs

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How to make Chocolate Éclairs with a chocolate pastry cream filling at home from scratch. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

Ingredients

For the Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière or Vanilla Custard)

For the Choux Pastry Buns (Éclairs)

For the Chocolate Ganache

Instructions

For the Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière or Vanilla Custard)
(Please see my post on How to Make Crème Pâtissière for step-by-step photos and cooking tips)

  1. Pour the milk and cream into a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Add the vanilla extract.
  3. Warm the mixture until it just starts to simmer.
  4. In a large bowl or jug, beat together the egg yolks and sugar, and then whisk in the flour.
  5. Slowly pour the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture (not the other way around or else you will have scrambled eggs), whisking as you do so until the custard is smooth.
  6. Pour this mixture into a clean saucepan and whisk gently over medium heat until the custard thickens. This should take only a few minutes.
  7. Continue whisking for another 1-2 minutes to allow the mixture to release a few bubbles.
  8. Pour the custard into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  9. I recommend covering the bowl with a layer of clingfilm pressed against the custard to stop a skin from forming.

For the Choux Pastry Buns (Éclairs)
(Please see my post on How to Make Choux Pastry for step-by-step photos and baking tips)

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F) (without fan).
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Place the water, butter and salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and the water just begins to boil.
  4. Take the pan off the heat.
  5. Add the flour.
  6. Beat everything together with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together in a dough and comes away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Tip the dough into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  8. Using the flat paddle attachment, beat the mixture for a few seconds to knock out the air and to cool the dough a little.
  9. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and, with the mixer on, add one egg at a time and beat until the mixture is thick and smooth. The consistency should be such that it should hold its shape once piped into a ball.
  10. Fit a 2 cm (1 inch) plain nozzle into a piping bag and pipe little rounds onto the baking tray about 5 cm apart.
  11. Fill a small cup with water to use to wet your fingertips and press down any pointy tips on the rounds of dough.
  12. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until it is a pale, golden colour.
  13. To check if the choux pastry buns are cooked, they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  14. Remove to a cooling rack and pierce the underside of each choux pastry bun with a pin or cake skewer to let the steam out and to prevent them from becoming soggy.

For the Chocolate Ganache

  1. Simply melt the cream and chocolate together in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk the mixture together until it is thick and smooth.
  3. The chocolate sauce should be served warm.
  4. The sauce will thicken as it cools but it reheats easily.
  5. If the sauce separates upon reheating, give it a good whisk.

To Assemble the Chocolate Éclairs

  1. Fit a piping bag with a small plain nozzle and fill it with the custard.
  2. If there are no openings at both ends of the choux pastry buns, simply use the tip of a small knife or chopstick to create an opening large enough for the nozzle.
  3. Fill the choux pastry buns by inserting the nozzle into the openings. If you are making large éclairs, it is best to fill them with a bit of custard from both ends. If you are making small éclairs, it is usually fine to fill them from just one end.
  4. The choux pastry buns are quite hollow inside and will fill easily with the custard, but be careful not to overfill them.
  5. Dip the top of each éclair into the chocolate ganache to coat and allow to set.

Kitchen Notes

CHOCOLATE CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE
To make a chocolate crème pâtissière, omit the vanilla but add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 20g (3/4 oz) finely grated chocolate.

BAKING TIME
You can make the éclairs as big or as small as you wish, but adjust the baking time accordingly. Make sure you bake them for long enough until they are golden and crispy, otherwise they may be uncooked on the inside and deflate if you take them out of the oven too soon.

TIPS FOR MAKING CHOCOLATE GANACHE
If the chocolate ganache splits, try to quickly whisk the mixture to emulsify it again. If this does not work, heat a small amount of double cream in a small saucepan, and whisk this into the chocolate ganache.

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition