Introduction: Pumpkin Pie Eclairs

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Éclairs are a great classical and traditional (not to mention delicious) dessert. Since fall is already here and Thanksgiving is coming up, I decided to jazz up the classic éclair with some fun fall flavors. I got a fantastic pate a choux recipe (the dough for the eclairs) and to put a twist on things, I added some delicious pumpkin pie. Pumpkin Pie Eclairs are the perfect light dessert after your Thanksgiving meal.

I have 2 patches I'm going to give away to the first 2 people who make these eclairs and post some delicious pictures.

Get Baking! :)

Thank you to all of you who voted for this instructable in the CHOW Thanksgiving Recipes Contest! :)All of you helped me win the grand prize, a fantastic Thermapen thermometer. Thanks again!

Step 1: Ingredients

To make these yummy eclairs, you will need:
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 3 eggs
It's easier to make these if you have all these ingredients pre-measured and prepared.

The above ingredients are just for the pate a choux dough which is the actual dough that makes the eclairs. Pate a choux is the name for any precooked dough that expands when you bake it to make a special hollow shell you can fill.

Eclairs are always filled with pastry cream but since today is Thanksgiving, I decided to add some pumpkin pie to the filling. The ingredients for the pastry cream are here but the instructions to make it is in my Simple "Any Kind of Dessert Pastry Cream" instructable.

For the pumpkin pastry cream, you'll need:
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • a slice of pumpkin pie
I recommend using a egg wash before baking.
For an egg wash, you'll need:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
Eclairs also have a signature chocolate coating on the top. I made a simple ganache with chocolate and heavy cream.
  • 4 tablespoons of chocolate (pick any kind, this is to your taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
It sure seems like a lot doesn't it but it really isn't. Once you make it once, you'll realize how simple these desserts are. No doubt your friends and family will be impressed. The first time I made it, I heard, "How did you get the cream in there?" and "How did you make it hollow, did you cut it?" They will definitely be impressed :)

Step 2: Heating It Up

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of water, 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium to high heat. Stir the mixture continuously to keep it from burning.

Step 3: Making the Dough

Once it boils, quickly remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cup of flour and stir until a dough forms. Return the pan to medium heat for 3 minutes while stirring constantly. Make sure the mixture doesn't burn.

Step 4: Adding the Eggs

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a mixing bowl. Be careful since the mixture is still hot. Beat for 30 seconds on medium speed. Then add in 1 egg at a time until all 3 eggs are used. Beat until smooth after adding each egg.

Step 5: Making the Egg Wash

Making the egg wash is a pretty important step. The egg wash will affect the flavor and color of the eclairs. In a separate bowl, combine 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of milk. Beat with a fork until smooth. You will need a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to spread it on the eclairs after they are piped.

Step 6: Piping the Eclairs

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use either a plastic bag or a decorating bag to pipe the eclairs. Make sure the tip is big enough to make about a 1/2 inch wide eclair. You don't want combine two lines of dough together (I learned that from experience). Fill the bag with the eclair dough and pipe onto the baking sheet. The eclairs should have enough room to expand if you place them about 2 inches apart. My eclairs were about 1/2 inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long.

Step 7: Baking the Eclairs

Use the pastry brush or spoon and brush the egg wash over the eclairs. Don't worry if you have leftover egg wash. After your done preparing the eclairs, put them in the oven and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Do not open your oven while the eclairs are baking. This might cause the eclairs to not rise. You can sneak a peek near the end of the baking time. You will know when the eclairs are done when the eclairs are golden brown and appear dry.

Step 8: Decorating, Piping, and Finish

The pastry cream I used for these eclairs can be found here. After making the pastry cream, I took out the filling of the pumpkin pie and mixed it with the pastry cream.

First I used a stick to poke a hole into the end of the baked eclair. Then I filled a plastic bag with the pumpkin cream and piped the filling into the hollow center.

Afterward, I made a very simple ganache with the chocolate and heavy cream. Combine the two and heat it up on either the stove top (or 30 seconds in the microwave). Dip the piped eclair in the chocolate and you're done!

Pumpkin pie eclairs are very easy to make and fun to eat. People will wonder how you got your delicious homemade pastry cream into the hollow eclair. It is a great dessert to end off a filling Thanksgiving meal.

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