August 31st, 2008

Chocolate Eclairs from Sugarlaws

I was SO excited when this month’s Daring Bakers recipe was announced.  Before we knew what it was, I’d pretty much decided that I had too much going on in August and I would just have to pass this one up.  But once I heard those magic ‘éclair’ words, I knew I was in.

And how easy these are — I was amazed!  I’ll definitely be making these again, because any time I find an easy dessert that makes it look like I spent hours in the kitchen, that recipe is a keeper.  And these are phenomenal, because you can freeze the unbaked choux pastry, which means I can make fresh éclairs in about 15 minutes next time I have a craving.

Chocolate Eclairs from Sugarlaws

For my first time making éclairs, I wanted to try the classic recipe, so I just made chocolate éclairs with no additions.  I did, however, use my own chocolate glaze recipe to top them, rather than the Pierre Hermé glaze recipe that most others used.  I included my modifications on the recipe posted here, so check out our host’s website if you want the original Pierre Hermé recipe!

Again, huge success.  This was a great challenge!

Chocolate Eclairs from Sugarlaws

Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

Choux Dough
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg and two egg whites, at room temperature

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 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.
2) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
3) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
4) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the egg and then egg whites one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.  You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. 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 a ribbon.
5) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs.
6) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2 cm) 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) chubby 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.
7) 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. 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.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
1 cup whole milk
2 large egg yolks
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.  In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.
3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled.  Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).
4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice-water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.
5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice-water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice-water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Chocolate Glaze (My Own)
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-4 tbsp milk

1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder.  Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until you get to the correct consistency (should be just barely pour-able but dry quickly when exposed to air).

Assembling the éclairs:
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) 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.

Chocolate Eclairs from Sugarlaws

Tags: desserts · food

45 responses so far ↓

  • 1 katie // Aug 31, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Fantastic!  Now, who can I make these for so I don’t eat the whole pan in one sitting?

  • 2 clumbsycookie // Aug 31, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Aren’t you glad you did them even if you were busy? They are just lovely! Well done!

  • 3 sue bette // Aug 31, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Those look wonderful – with lovely pictures – I have to rush out and find some pastries now…

  • 4 Jo // Aug 31, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Your eclairs looks fantastic.  Love the way you have piped in the chocolate cream.

  • 5 Natalie // Aug 31, 2008 at 9:39 am

    I thought I was going to have to miss this months challenge as well, but who could miss making éclairs!!! Yours look great :D, well done.

  • 6 Michelle Mcwhisky // Aug 31, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Gorgeous shots you have! The eclairs are prettily done up and all sizes do look the same to me; standardized! Great job! 🙂

  • 7 VeggieGirl // Aug 31, 2008 at 10:18 am

    I can definitely tell that you thoroughly enjoyed this month’s DBC – your éclairs are FLAWLESS!!! Soooo glad that you were able to participate, despite your busy schedule – hooray!! 🙂

  • 8 Cristine // Aug 31, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Your eclairs look wonderful!!!

  • 9 Amy // Aug 31, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Your eclairs turned out beautifully.  Great work!!

  • 10 Rita // Aug 31, 2008 at 11:26 am

    I haven’t had the courage yet to try to become a Daring Baker…. Maybe someday….but your eclairs look delicious! Can you freeze the dough?

  • 11 sugarlaw // Aug 31, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Rita — You can definitely freeze the unbaked eclair dough after you pipe it out — I took a tip from Helen of Tartelette and froze the dough in long piped rows, and then sliced it into same-size eclairs — it worked great!

  • 12 CookiePie // Aug 31, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Gorgeous eclairs! They look like they belong in a French pastry shop window 🙂 Well done!!

  • 13 Erin // Aug 31, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    These look beautiful!  I love your pictures and the way you piped the pastry cream- it looks so pretty!

  • 14 Amy // Aug 31, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    They look great!! Great pics, and lovely piping on the pastry cream. Well done! 🙂

  • 15 Lewis // Aug 31, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    That is some very nice piping on the eclairs!  Wonderful turnout 🙂

  • 16 Judy // Aug 31, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    How exciting!  Someone’s eclairs that came out perfectly!!!  It certainly was a delicious challenge and yours look beautiful!

  • 17 jillian // Aug 31, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Beautiful eclairs!! I found myself making these at last minute and they were completely worth it!

  • 18 Emily // Aug 31, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    gorgeous!! very impressive.

  • 19 maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) // Aug 31, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Perfection.  Lovely.

  • 20 Lesley // Aug 31, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    THose look really good!  I like the piped filling…yum….

  • 21 Tartelette // Aug 31, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    You did a fabulous job with the challenge. They look great!

  • 22 heather // Sep 1, 2008 at 12:03 am

    wow, these are lovely!  great job on them!

  • 23 Heather Peskin // Sep 1, 2008 at 7:21 am

    These are beautiful – they are so well formed and that chocolate cream looks delicious.

  • 24 Ann // Sep 1, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Ah, they came out beautifully!

  • 25 NuJoi // Sep 1, 2008 at 9:20 am

    These look awesome! Very fancy. I’m glad they’re easy to make.

  • 26 Candace // Sep 1, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Fabulous!  Your eclairs turned our very lovely!

  • 27 Dragon // Sep 1, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Your glaze looks amazing!  Lovely, lovely eclairs.

  • 28 Susan from Food Blogga // Sep 1, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Oh, how I wish I had one of these glorious eclaires this afternoon with my cafe americano. Coffee alone is just so sad.

  • 29 Rebecca // Sep 1, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Beautiful eclairs! And freezing them … I envy your self-control. 😉

  • 30 Paula // Sep 2, 2008 at 7:10 am

    Beautiful eclairs! They are perfect! Nice job:)

  • 31 Elizabeth // Sep 2, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Beautiful Job!

  • 32 Elle // Sep 2, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Gorgeous eclairs, Katy!  I’m so glad you had such an easy time with them. I didn’t, hehe.  But they were delicious!

  • 33 scott (one food guy) // Sep 3, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Nice job on the eclairs! There is not much better in the world of pastries than a well made eclair! Yum!

  • 34 Maria // Sep 3, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Wow! The eclairs look fabulous!!

  • 35 Sophie // Sep 4, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Awesome job on this month’s challenge!  The eclair’s look deliciously chocolatey :).  The frosting is perfect!

    We’d like to invite you to participate in our September apple and peach recipe contest (the recipe can be sweet or savory).  All competitors will be eligible to win one of three prizes :)!  Please email me, sophiekiblogger@gmail.com, if you’re interested.

    Feel free to check out our blog for more details: http://blog.keyingredient.com/2008/08/29/september-kick-contest/

    Thanks :),
    KI Chief Blogger

  • 36 sugar chef // Sep 6, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Your eclairs look great and I know they were sooooooooooo good.  Wish I had another one right about now.

  • 37 Annabelle // Sep 12, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I don’t think anyone asked this yet so I’ll go ahead.  What size “tip” did you use to pipe the filing?  It’s just gorgous.  Thanks.

  • 38 sugar chef // Sep 12, 2008 at 11:25 am

    I used a Wilton # 21 tip.  I piped it kind of sideways so you could see the definition of the scallop.  I think you could achieve the same look with the tip you used.

  • 39 Annabelle // Sep 13, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Thanks sugar chef.  Nice to have people who share information.  I’m going to see if I have that tip…it’s great looking.

  • 40 katy // Sep 14, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Annabelle — I used the biggest star-shaped tip I could find at Broadway Panhandler (http://www.broadwaypanhandler.com/broadway/ — although probably Amazon has better selection and prices, but their brick-and-mortar store is near where I live)!  I think it was a #0 or #1 but they weren’t actually labeled — it was the same sized tip as the one I used (not star-shaped) to pipe out the Choux, which is why (I hope!) they look nicely proportional!

    Sugar Chef — Thanks for sharing from me too!

  • 41 Jaime // Sep 15, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    congrats on making eclairs for the first time! i was amazed when i found out how simple they were to make too 🙂 they look fabulous

  • 42 jasmine // Mar 9, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Hi sugarlaw,

    i tried making the filling but exluded the cocoa since i wanted to make a vanila version. but somehow it clumps.
    i also tried the chocolate version, they were good, but watery. not stiff like yours.
    so did u put it in fridge? or after the water bath they were stiff?

  • 43 :) // Apr 10, 2011 at 5:54 am

    These look delicious – I’m going to make them today! One quick question: What type of milk should you use for the Chocolate Glaze?

  • 44 Katy // Apr 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

    You can use any kind — I used skim and it was fine!

  • 45 Flying Time and Pixelated Space // Sep 18, 2014 at 5:15 am

    […] Chocolate Éclairs […]

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