In this instructable I will show you how to make Eclairs. This homemade chocolate eclair recipe is easy to make using a basic choux pastry from scratch. Choux pastry is used in a number of desserts like eclairs, cream puffs, etc. Eclairs are an elegant and tasty treat, and once you make them your friends and family will think you are a master baker, little do they know how easy they are to make. If I can do it, you can do it, let's get baking! :)
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Follow the easy steps below or watch the video tutorial or do both. :)
Step 1: Ingredients/Tools
- 1 cup water (I always used filtered water, not tap) (250 ml)
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (113g)
- 1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour. (125g)
- 1/2 tsp. of salt (2g)
- 1 to 2 tsp. of white granulated sugar (optional) (5 to 10g)
- 4 large eggs
Pastry Cream Filling
- 1 small 3.5 ounce box of vanilla instant pudding (99g)
- 1 cup of cold milk (250ml)
- 1 cup heavy cream (250ml)
Chocolate Ganache Topping
- 5 to 10 ounces of chocolate (chocolate bars, chocolate chips) use more if you like it thick. (150 to 300g)
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream, hot
- Large pot
- spatula wooden spoon or silicon spoon
- sheet pan parchment paper or silicon mat
- hand mixer
- piping bag or large ziplock bag
- injector tip
- basting brush
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Step 2: Make the Choux Pastry
First let's add the flour, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl and whisk them to combine. I will sometimes add the sugar and salt in with the butter and water too. Either method works fine.
Step 3: Melt Butter
Set the burner on the stovetop to medium heat. Now let's add the water to a large pot, then add in the butter (and salt and sugar, if you didn't add them with the flour). Stir occasionally and bring the liquid to a boil.
Step 4: Flour Time
Now take the pot off the heat and add in the flour mixture all at once, then using a silicon spoon or wooden spoon stir really quickly and it will form a dough. Then bring the pot back over to the burner and keep stirring and cooking the dough for about 30 seconds. Then remove from the heat.
Step 5: Cool and Eggs
Now I put the dough into a bowl and then using my spatula I stir the dough for a few minutes, which will release the steam and cool down the dough. We need to do this BEFORE adding the eggs. If the dough is too hot it will cook the eggs, which we don't want to do. Once the dough is slightly warm to the touch we can add in our eggs one at a time. First add an egg, then stir it in, the egg will stay separated for a bit, and will act like it doesn't want to blend in with the dough, then after a few minutes of stirring it will blend right in. You can do this by hand or use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Then repeat the process with the rest of the eggs.
Step 6: Piping Bag
No we want some sort of a piping bag. You can use a normal piping bag, plastic disposable piping bag, or just use a large zip lock back with the corner snipped. Use a large round tip or a French Star Tip. Place the Choux pastry dough in the bag with your spatula or spoon and then twist the top.
Step 7: Pipe, Baste, Bake
Preheat the oven to 425 F (218 C). Take a sheet pan or cookie pan and lay down some parchment paper or a silicon mat. Now let's pipe out the pastry dough about 1 inch wide and 4 to 5 inches long. Then when done take an egg and add about a tsp. of water to it. Beat the egg with a fork creating and egg wash. Then baste the tops with the egg wash. This will allow you to shape the eclairs as well as take down any piping mishaps. :) Put them in the oven and bake them at 425 F (218 C) for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350 F (176 C) and bake them for another 20 to 25 minutes. DO NOT open the oven door too early, so for the first 35 minutes. IF you do, it could cause them to deflate. The theory with the higher temp first is it really helps to get the rise out of the dough. Some people will just bake them at one 375 F (190 C) temp for the whole time and not worry about the two temp method. When they come out of the oven they will look something like this. Nice and golden brown on the top and hollow in the inside. Let the shells cool while you make the pastry cream.
Step 8: Easy Pastry Cream
Now let's make our pastry cream while the shells are cooling. Take a medium bowl and add in your milk, then add in your instant vanilla pudding mix. Let it set for about 5 minutes. Next take a large bowl and add in your heavy whipping cream. Using a hand mixer beat the cream until you get stiff peaks. Then add in the pudding to the bowl and fold in the pudding, creating a simple pastry cream. You could also make a more classic pastry cream which is a combination of custard and whipping cream. But I really like this pudding based pastry cream. It is super easy to make and tastes yummy, plus there are all kinds of instant pudding flavors you can try out.
Step 9: Chocolate Ganache Topping
Now we need to make our chocolate ganache topping. Take your chocolate and add it to a bowl. Then heat up your cream in another bowl until it is really hot, just shy of boiling. I usually just do it in the microwave for a about 45 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. The hot cream will melt the chocolate, which you can stir creating the ganache. If you want your ganache to be really thin, just use about 4 ounces of the chocolate with the 1/2 cup of cream. If you want a nice thick ganache use about 10 to 12 ounces of chocolate with the same amount of cream. You can also add more chocolate or cream later to thicken it up or thin it out. :)
Step 10: Fill, Stick, Pipe
Next take another pastry bag, I like using the disposable ones, and add an injector tip. If you don't have an injector tip, you can just cut the eclair shells in half instead of trying to pipe the cream on the inside. Fill up your pastry bag with the pastry cream, again twist the top. Next poke holes in the bottom of your shells. Then you can stick your injector tip in the hold and squeeze the piping bag, to fill up the inside of the shells. Or if you cut the shells in half length wise, you can just pipe some cream in it that way.
Step 11: Dipping Time!
Now dip the fill eclairs into the ganache, let the excess drip off then place it back on the pan or a wire rack to let the ganache set. Your eclairs are done! Now take a bite, my favorite part. :) Enjoy!
Step 12: Video Tutorial
Now watch those steps in action by checking out the video tutorial. :)
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