How to make Chocolate Eclairs with Vanilla Pastry Cream
Today we’re making Eclairs which is one of my favorite things to eat, not to make though because it requires lots of effort. A short story before we begin, I used to love eclairs. When I was a kid , I’d go every single day to my local bakery and buy one of these.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 600 ml Milk
- 1 Vanilla bean
- 6 Egg Yolks
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- a pinch Salt
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Flour
- 4 Eggs
- 1 cup Chocolate Chips
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Milk
Preparing the dough for Eclairs
Add the water into the boiling pan together with the salt, the sugar and the butter. As soon as the water starts boiling, we are going to add the flour. Lower the heat all the way down to medium so that the dough itself doesn’t burn. Stir the mixture continuously until the dough comes all together. This is going to take about two to three minutes.
As soon as the dough is ready, we are going to transfer it in a glass bowl. Let it cool down for a few minutes before we add the eggs. Do not add the eggs right away because the heat of the dough is going to cook the eggs which will pretty much ruin your recipe. After the dough cools down a little bit, which is going to take about three to five minutes, we are going to start adding the eggs.
Adding the Eggs
We are going to add one egg, mix it until it’s fully incorporated, and then add the next one. At the beginning, it will look like the mixture will never come together but keep on mixing because eventually it will. After you add the last egg, you’ll be able to tell if the dough is ready or not. The dough should be a little bit sticky so if you put your finger in the dough you lift it right up, it should hold a stiff peak.
Shaping the Eclairs
Once the dough is ready, put it in a piping bag and let’s grab the baking pan. This is one of the techniques that I use to hold the parchment paper in place. Using your piping bag squeeze just a little bit of the Pate a Choux dough on all the four corners of the baking pan. Then place the parchment paper on top. This will hold the parchment paper in place which is going to make our job easier.
When it comes to shaping the eclairs when you pipe the Pate a Choux dough, try to do a spiral shape because that way you create more lift on the Eclairs. After you’re done piping the Pate a Choux dough, if there are any stiff peaks make sure to gently press it down with your finger so that it doesn’t burn in the oven.
Baking the Eclairs
Make sure to preheat the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the eclairs for about 25 minutes. While the eclairs are baking, let’s prepare the filling which is a very simple vanilla pastry cream.
In a saucepan, add the milk and a vanilla bean, cut in half vertically. It is a must to use a real vanilla bean when making this recipe because that is what gives the flavor to the pastry cream.
Preparing the Filling for Eclairs
In a glass bowl, mix together the egg yolks with the flour, the cornstarch and the pinch of salt. Once the mixture is all combined, add in the sugar and mix it until you get a very foamy consistency. You will notice that the color will switch from yellow to light yellow.
Now it’s time to pour in the vanilla milk little by little. If your milk came up to a boiling point, make sure to cool it off a little bit before you add it to the mixture because that can cook the egg yolks. Once the milk is fully incorporated, scrape off all the seeds from the vanilla bean and put them back in the mixture.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, put it on medium heat and stir it constantly until you get a very thick consistency. Take it off the heat, cover it with plastic wrap and let it cool completely down before we can use it to fill in our eclairs. If you’d like to fasten the process of cooling it down, you can put it in your freezer for up to 30 minutes, but make sure not to forget it there.
Filling the Eclairs
After 25 minutes in the oven, our eclairs should be ready. Now that we have the pastry cream and the puffs ready, let’s prepare the chocolate icing. Using a Bain Marie technique, melt a cup of chocolate, a tablespoon of butter, and a tablespoon of milk altogether.
As soon as the chocolate becomes creamy, it’s now time to finalize the eclairs. Using a piping bag, fill in the eclairs with the pastry cream. If you want you can use a knife to cut a hole to make your job easier but I was too lazy to do that so I want the hard way.
Once the Pate a Choux is filled, dip it in the chocolate and then put it in the fridge for about two hours. And this is how you make eclairs.