Eclairs are one of those french pastries that sound fancy until you make them and realize anyone can bake this classic from scratch!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients for Pâte à Choux
- 1 cup milk
- 4 ounces (½ cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter
- 7 ounces all-purpose flour *
- 4-5 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon water
Ingredients for Chocolate Pastry Cream
- 1 cup milk, warm
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 ½ ounces sugar
- ¾ ounces cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Ingredients for Chocolate Glaze
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Have a small bowl of water ready for use.
- To make the pâte à choux dough: heat the milk and butter to just before a boil in a saucepan on medium heat; there should be a few bubbles breaking through the surface.
- Add the flour off of the heat all at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough is formed and smooth. Place the dough (panada) back on medium heat and cook until dried and a film is formed at the bottom of the pan.
- Immediately transfer the dough (panada) to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until just warm (you should be able to touch the side of the bowl and it is just slightly warm.
- Once cool, add one egg at a time and mix on low speed to combine. Once you have added the fourth egg, speed the mixer up to medium speed to combine. If the dough has a glossy shine to it, you have added enough eggs and can stop mixing. If it seems too thick, feel free to add the fifth egg and mix to combine.
- Place the dough in a 16 inch pastry bag with a ½ inch round tip and twist to secure the bag opening.
- Holding the pastry bag at a 45 degree angle with the tip touching the silpat, pipe 8 to 10 eclairs (4 to 5 inches in length) on the lined sheet tray. Twist the piping tip at the end so that you end with a slightly pointed/jagged end.
- Dip your finger in water and pat the ends of the eclairs to flatten the pointed ends. Finish with gently brushing the egg wash on each eclair.
- Place the baking tray in the middle rack of your oven and set the timer to 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, check if the eclairs have turned golden brown. If so, quickly open the oven door and carefully prick each eclair case on one end with a toothpick to release the air inside. The eclairs should have formed a brown crust by this point. This is important, because if you prick them before the crust has formed, the choux cases will collapse.Turn the oven to 300°F and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, to dry out the insides.
- Remove them from the oven and immediately prick the eclair cases on the other end. Let them cool down for about 10 minutes on the baking tray and then transfer them onto a wire rack.
- Pipe more eclairs on the second lined baking tray and bake. Repeat until you have used up all of your choux pastry.
- Once the eclairs have cooled down they are ready to be filled. If you’re filling them later, place the unfilled shells in an air-tight container and freeze.
- To prepare the chocolate pastry cream: begin by separating the egg yolks into a medium bowl; add the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until combined. In a saucepot, bring the milk to a simmer then pour it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously to ensure the eggs don’t cook.
- Pour the milk and egg mixture back into the pot on medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and chocolate. Once all the chocolate is melted and evenly combined, transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place it in the refrigerator (or freezer if you need it chilled quickly).
- To make chocolate glaze: combine the chocolate, butter and corn syrup together over a double boiler. Do not stir until the chocolate begins to melt around the edges. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and everything is combined; set aside to cool.
- To fill the eclairs: Put a star tip (small opening) into a piping bag and fill with the pastry cream. Make 3 holes on the bottom of the eclair shell using a skewer, small knife or a round piping tip. Fill the eclair from the bottom, wiping any excess filling off. Set aside on a wire rack set on a sheet tray.
- Once all of the eclairs are piped with pastry cream, dip each into the chocolate glaze.
- Place the glazed eclairs back on the wire rack and allow the chocolate glaze to set.
- Serve and enjoy.