Think eclairs belong to fancy bakeries only? Think again. With just a few basic ingredients, you can make them at home and devour as many as your heart desires!
Éclairs remind me of my childhood. My mom used to make these treats quite often when I was a kid. I probably enjoyed them just as often as you had enjoyed classic chocolate chip cookies. No, for real though. These were my mom’s specialty! They are so easy to make with just a few basic ingredients.
And when I say basic ingredients, I really mean basics like milk, butter, eggs, and flour. I’m sure you have them in your kitchen. Now I will show exactly how I make my eclairs. If you have never made the classic eclairs, don’t be intimidated by it. Seriously, if you can make chocolate chip cookies, you can made these as well.
The classic french pâte à choux (pat-a-shoo) is basically twice baked light and airy pastry, the beginning of many french classic pastries like eclairs, cream puffs, croquembouche. Once you master this pastry dough, you’re good to go with many varieties of popular french pastries. Excited? Me too.
The base of choux pastry can actually made with just water. But I usually use a mix of water and milk. If I’m out of milk, no big deal, water alone works just as great.
First, we cook the dough on stove-top until the dough forms into a ball. Then, we cool it to room temperature before we beat in the eggs, so that we don’t scramble the eggs with hot dough. It’s also important to add the eggs one at a time, because 1. the dough will absorb the eggs better in small quantity, 2. you might not need all the eggs. If the batter is nice and smooth, and falls back into a ribbon, no need to add the last egg. You don’t want the batter to be too runny.
Once the batter is ready, transfer it into a pastry bag and pipe into long strips on prepared baking sheets. In the oven, all the magic happens. The steam in the batter evaporates, puffing up the pastry and creating hollow center.
Here is step-by-step visuals.
These are now my husband’s favorite! And I bet they’ll be your favorite as well.
I really hope you give these eclairs a try. I know you won’t regret it. 🙂
With just a few basic ingredients, you can make them at home and devour as many as your heart desires!
Yield: 20-25 eclairs
For Pastry Shells:
- ½ cup (125gr) milk (whole, 2%, or 1% will work)
- ½ cup (125gr) water
- 1/2 cup (115gr) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (125gr) all-purpose flour
- 4-5 large eggs, at room temperature
For Pastry Cream:
- 2 cups (500gr) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup (70gr) sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) cold heavy whipping cream
For Chocolate Ganache:
- ½ cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup (175gr) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, optional
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- To make the pastry shells: In a medium saucepan, boil milk, water, butter, sugar and salt on high heat. When the milk mixture is boiling, add the flour all at once, reduce the heat to medium and continuously mix everything. The dough will start to form into a ball. Keep mixing for another 3-4 minutes until light crust forms on the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer the dough into a mixing bowl with paddle attachment and mix it for a few minutes on low speed until the mixture is at room temperature. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. This will help to get egg absorbed into the dough quicker. Don’t add more than 2 eggs at a time. This is important, as you might not need to add all the eggs. The dough should be smooth and thin enough to fall into a ribbon, but too runny.
- Transfer the batter into a pastry bag and pipe into 4-inch strips 3 inches apart. Level peaked tops with wet fingertip.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the shells are puffed up and golden brown, rotating the sheets top to bottom and back to front once after first 15 minutes. When you take the éclairs out, it should stay puffed. If it falls flat, put it back in the oven, bake for additional 3-5 minutes, turn the oven off and let it cool in the warm oven. Once cooled, make a small slit on the sides, or on the bottom of the eclairs.
- To make the pastry cream: In a small bowl, mix together flour and cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla extract to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat off.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with sugar until pale. Stir in flour mixture. To temper the egg yolk mixture, add about ½ cup of hot milk, while stirring vigorously. Add the tempered egg mixture back into the remaining milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
- Transfer to a clean bowl and set it over ice bath to cool. Cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the cream and refrigerate it.
- Whip heavy cream till hard peaks form. Fold in the whipped cream to the pastry cream and mix until well combined. Transfer the filling into a pastry bag with a small round tip and fill the pastry shells.
- To make the chocolate ganache: In small saucepan, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Do not boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips, and let it sit for good 2 minutes. Then mix well until smooth for couple minutes. Stir in butter to add some shine. Dip each eclair in the chocolate ganache and serve.
For step-by-step photos and additional notes, read the post above.
Unfilled pastry shells can be stored at room temperature. Pastry cream also can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until ready to use. Assemble the eclairs right before serving. Assembled eclairs should be refrigerated.
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