How to make perfect chocolate eclairs. Buttery logs of pastry filled with luscious vanilla pastry cream & topped with rich chocolate glaze.
*Fill with: Pastry Cream
For the Choux Paste:
- 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- Egg wash (optional): 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water *See note
For the Chocolate Glaze:
- Make a batch of Perfect Pastry Cream and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
Make the Choux Pastry:
- Add the butter, water, milk, salt, and sugar to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Bring mixture to a full boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously until the flour is completely incorporated and the mixture forms a thick ball of dough. Cook the dough for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly and using the back of your spoon to mash the dough against the side of the pan.
- Dump the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (*See note) Allow to cool down for about 5 minutes before proceeding.
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk to combine. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, slowly add the eggs in 4 or 5 separate additions, being sure to incorporate one addition before adding the next. The dough might look a bit curdled at first; just keep beating and it will come together. Add the last bit of beaten eggs very slowly, watching the dough carefully. When the dough looks shiny and thick enough to pipe and hold its shape, stop adding the eggs. I almost always have a tablespoon of beaten egg leftover which I then use for the egg wash.
*At this point, the dough can be used immediately or kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Bake the Eclairs:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of water over the surface of the parchment paper to create a humid environment for the eclairs to bake.
- Scoop the choux pastry dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large round pastry tip. Pipe 8 bratwurst size “logs” (approximately 5 inches long and 2 inches wide) onto the parchment covered baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can also use a zip top bag with one of the corners cut off.)
- Dip your finger in water and smooth the tops of each log of dough, pressing down any peaks.
- To glaze (optional, to create a shiny surface): Whisk 1 egg with 2 tsp of water. Using a pastry brush or clean paint brush, brush the glaze over the surface of each eclair. *If you had any leftover eggs from making the batter, you can use that.
- Bake the eclairs for 20 minutes. Keeping the oven door closed, reduce the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until they are a deep golden brown and do not look wet at all.
- Allow the eclairs to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling.
- Use a fork or sharp knife to split the eclairs open. Fill with pastry cream and spread the tops with chocolate glaze.
Make the Chocolate Glaze:
- Add the semi-sweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, butter, salt, and corn syrup to a medium size saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the butter and chocolate are melted and the glaze is smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla.
- Let cool to room temperature before spreading over the top of each eclair.
Place the chocolate eclairs in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to set the chocolate glaze. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- If you don’t end up using all the eggs to make your choux pastry dough, save whatever’s left over for the egg wash and you won’t even need the extra egg.
- You can also use a handheld mixer to make choux paste if you don’t have a stand mixer.
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