Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chocolate Eclairs--Voila!

The little Eiffel Tower box is a keepsake from a friend in Japan that I met when I taught my 3-D flowers at a trade show.  She said to me, "it's a Japanese souvenir!"  We both laughed and hugged.
As promised...this morning I baked Chocolate Eclairs to go with the theme April in Paris.  I first made pate choux, renamed by a French chef who thought the pastries resembled little cabbages, with my Mom when we were catering a wedding for a family friend's daughter.  We filled the "cream puffs" with turkey salad, but I so enjoy making the dessert ones instead.  (You will recognize this dough as being the "filling" for my Krinklair that I make every Christmas!)  This dough is also used in profiteroles, which Erin loves filled with ice cream, cruellers, beignets, and churros to name a few.  Instead of yeast to give the rise in the dough, high moisture content creates steam that puffs the dough up.

These luscious little pastries are light as a feather with a vanilla pastry cream center and chocolate glaze and you will find these at any bakery on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, but don't be intimidated--this version is easy and will surprise your family and friends.

Chocolate Eclairs
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Quick Pastry Cream:
1 3.4 oz. Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 425F-degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Measure the water, butter, and salt into a 1-quart sauce pan and over medium heat, bring to a boil.  Immediately add the flour and stir until the dough forms a ball.  Cook one minute more.
Place mixture into a Kitchen Aid and using a paddle attachment, beat the mixture to help cool it down.  Start adding the eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition.  Continue beating until the pate choux looks shiny.
Fill a pastry bag with a # 808 tip to form the dough in elongated shapes.  Once they're all done, whisk one egg with 1 1/2 teaspoons of water and brush the tops to smooth them.

Bake for 15 minutes, then, lower the oven temperature to 375-F degrees and continue baking another 20-25 minutes.  Resist opening the oven door while baking!

Remove from the oven and let cool completely while you mix up the pastry cream.

In a medium bowl, place the Jello pudding and 1 1/2 cups of milk, scrape a vanilla bean and add this paste to the mixture.  Whisk together until it thickens slightly.  In a separate bowl, place the one cup of heavy cream and using a hand held mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the cream until firm.
Add half of the whipped cream to the pudding mixture and stir to combine.  Add the remaining cream and fold in.  Attach tip #230 to the end of a pastry bag and fill with the pastry cream.  Pipe the mixture into the side of the pate choux.
Once all the eclairs are filled.  Mix up the chocolate glaze.

Heat the heavy cream, over medium heat, in a small sauce pan.  Place the 4 oz. of bittersweet chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream over it.  Let set a few minutes, then stir to combine.  Pour the glaze into a shallow bowl.  Dip the tops of the eclairs into the glaze and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the glaze.

I found these elongated gold eclair papers at a packaging specialty store.  They make an elegant presentation to this simple dessert.

When I was in Kentucky, Ari would tell me about the little train that never gave up--"Mimi, it said, I think I can...I think I can..."  Tell yourself that and try this dessert.  Enjoy!


  1. Oh my gooness! Yummy scrummy!!! You are truly an amazing cook!

  2. I never considered making my own eclairs. Sounds wonderful.

    I'd like to invite you to share this recipe on my linky, Sweet Tooth Friday. I hope to see you there.

  3. I'm so impressed- these look amazing! I've never thought to make my own eclairs. You make it look so easy. :)

    I'm having my 1st giveaway on my blog, I hope you can stop by and try to win a batch of cookies!