Chocolate Eclairs are intimidating for most of us – I know they were for me. This recipe makes it easy and the addition of rich, shiny ganache, and silky espresso pastry cream is brilliant if I do say so myself. This is a recipe I made in August of 2008 when I was involved with Daring Bakers. It was the very first time I ever made eclairs successfully, and to be honest, I am not sure I have made them since the. That’s totally a travesty because they were amazing.
As many years as I have baked I had always completely bombed at making a good choux pastry. This time I did it and I was thrilled! When I left my blog at b5media I was able to take all of the recipes but since they are published somewhere else I have to go through and rewrite each recipe so it doesn’t look like a copy. It takes forever.
Tomorrow is National Chocolate Eclairs Day. What better time to pull this post out of the files and dust it off?
The recipe looks very complicated but it’s not. Do read all the way through and make sure you understand it all before you begin. You’ll need an entire afternoon to make them — or you can make the glaze, cream, and pastry one day at a time and assemble them just before serving. That makes it really easy!!
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The recipe, as sent to me in 2008 by Daring Bakers, is from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé. If anyone knows his desserts Monsieur Herme does! If you’d like the book you can click on that link.
Please give these chocolate eclairs a try!
Chocolate Eclairs with Espresso Pastry Cream
- Espresso Pastry Cream
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup half and half cream (light cream)
- 1/4 cup coarsely ground espresso beans
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup (125g) whole milk
- 1/2 cup (125g) water
- 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs , at room temperature.
- 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
- 1/3 cup (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter , cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
- Espresso Pastry Cream
- Bring the milk and the ground coffee beans to a simmer and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients except the vanilla and butter into the cooled milk.
- Whisk well until the ingredients are completely blended.
- Microwave for 8 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture is thick.
- Add butter and vanilla and set aside, with wax paper on top, to cool.
- In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
- Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium.
- Immediately stir the mixture vigorously until it comes together.
- The dough comes together very quickly.
- Stir for 3 minutes more. A crust may form on the bottom of the pan - it's OK.
- Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the eggs one at a time,beating well after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough completely.
- You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate -- it's OK. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
- have added the third egg.
- In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs.
- Making Eclairs
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven.
- Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.
- Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
- Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) "fingers".
- Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
- The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.
- Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes.
- After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar or keep it open with folded towels.
- When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back.
- Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm.
- The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring slowly until smooth.
- Assembly of the Eclairs
- Chocolate glaze
- Espresso pastry cream
- Baked Eclairs
- Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion.
- Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
- The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
- degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer).
- Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula.
- Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.
- Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
- with enough cream to mound above the pastry.
- Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.
3) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water, stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
4) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.
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