These buttery little two-bite mini éclairs are bursting with butterscotch pastry cream and covered butterscotch sauce.
Mini Eclairs with Butterscotch Pastry Cream and Butterscotch Sauce
These little mini éclairs are stuffed with my absolute favorite pastry cream which is flavored with my absolute favorite butterscotch sauce. Both are easy to make and can be made in advance. The butterscotch sauce will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks, the pastry cream for a few days.
The recipe for Homemade Butterscotch Sauce makes 3 cups, which is more than you'll need for these eclairs. No matter. What to do with extra butterscotch sauce is a very good problem to have. My favorite way to use it up is simply to drizzle it over vanilla ice cream. But you can also....
- Make a batch of profiteroles (cream puffs), filling them with ice cream and drizzling them with butterscotch sauce.
- Make some Butterscotch Bourbon Praline Ice Cream
- Bake a Butterscotch Bundt Cake
You can also skip the homemade butterscotch sauce altogether and just purchase a jar of prepared butterscotch sauce. But, making it from scratch takes only about 15 minutes and the finished sauce is positively sublime.
Making Choux paste (Pâte à Choux)
Eclairs, like profiteroles and cream puffs, are buttery little pastries that are a blank slate for a variety of fillings and toppings. They are made from piped Choux Paste (“choux” is pronounce like shoe), a magical French pastry that puffs up while it bakes to form hollow centers perfect for filling with pastry cream.
Choux paste isn't difficult to make, but it IS particular. There's a difference in my mind. Difficult means a certain level of skill is probably required right from the start. Particular simply means that it's important to follow the directions. I feel that anyone, at most any skill level, can successfully make a batch or choux paste as long as they follow a few rules:
#1. Don't skimp on the cooking time. This applies to cooking the dough on the stovetop, which drys it out and removes that raw flour taste, AND baking the pipped eclairs long enough in the oven. When the eclairs are done baking the tops will look dry and firm. If they look even the slightest bit doughy, keep baking. Removing them from the oven too soon will cause them to collapse, making them impossible to fill.
#2. Add only as many eggs as you need. It's really important that you end up with a firm dough. If you add too many eggs the dough will be too wet. If your dough is too wet, it won't hold its shape when you pipe it, and probably won't puff in the oven. Or, it will puff in the oven and then collapse in on itself.
This is why the recipe instructs you to add the eggs bit by bit. The goal is to add only as many eggs as the dough will hold. Whether you'll need all the eggs depends on several different factors including how humid the air in your kitchen is and the kind of flour you're using. The dough is ready when it is shiny and thick enough to hold its shape. If you lift the beater from the dough, it should form a stiff peak that very slowly folds over itself.
Useful tools for making eclairs:
- Large 21 x 15-inch sheet pan
- Pastry Decorator Set
- Medium (3 quart) saucepan
- Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
- Stand mixer
- Parchment paper
- Pastry brush or small, clean paint brush
More Holiday Recipes:
- Mini Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
- Individual Almond Cakes with Cranberry Sauce
- Mini Ginger Snaps with Sorghum and Brown Sugar
- Perfect Profiteroles
- Wine Poached Pear and Almond Tart
- Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Loaves
- Mini Butterscotch Eclairs
- Eggnog Pots de Creme
- Cranberry Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
- Mini Cranberry Bundt Cakes with Lemon Glaze
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
For the Choux Paste:
- ½ cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¾ teaspoon table salt (1 teaspoon kosher salt)
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
For the white chocolate ganache (optional, for decorating):
- 6 oz white chocolate
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon butter
Make the Choux Paste:
- 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.
Bake the Eclairs:
- Cover one large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a ½-inch round tip. Or, fit a bag with a coupler only, which also works well. Set the bag, tip side down, inside a tall drinking glass, fold the top down a couple of inches, and set aside. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can also use a zip top bag with one of the corners cut off.)
- 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 the pastry bag and pipe 18- 20 two-inch long eclairs onto the parchment covered baking sheet, spacing them at least 1-inch apart.
- Dip your finger in water and smooth the tops of each log of dough, pressing down any peaks.
- 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 10-15 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.
Fill and decorate the eclairs:
- If decorating with white chocolate ganache, put the white chocolate into a small bowl. Heat the cream in the microwave until boiling - about 30 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes. Stir until smooth. If the white chocolate is not completely melted after stirring for a few minutes, heat it in the microwave in 15-second intervals until melted. Stir in the butter. Set aside to cool, stirring from time to time, until it's thick enough to pipe with.
- Put the pastry cream and ½ cup of butterscotch sauce in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium high speed for about 1 minute, until the butterscotch has been completely incorporated and the cream is smooth.
- Fit a pastry bag with a small round decorator tip and fill with butterscotch pastry cream. Poke the tip through the bottom of the eclair shells and squeeze as much pastry cream as you can into the center of the shell.
- Pour the remaining butterscotch sauce into a shallow bowl and dip the tops of the filled eclairs into the sauce to coat.
- Fit another pastry bag with a small round tip and fill with white chocolate ganache. Pipe designs onto the tops of the butterscotch glazed eclairs. Store the eclairs in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 1 day.
You can use a handheld mixer to make choux paste if you don’t have a stand mixer.
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