Éclairs
 
 
Makes about 20 éclairs
By:
Ingredients
Choux
  • 100 grams fresh milk
  • 40 grams butter, softened and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 70 grams all-purpose flour, sifted onto a large parchment paper
  • 100 grams eggs (2 – 3 eggs), at room temperature, whisked together
Vanilla Pastry Cream
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 50 grams egg yolks (3 to 4 egg yolks)
  • 20 grams all-purpose flour
  • 250 grams fresh milk
  • 15 grams butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste / extract
Chocolate Pastry Cream
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 50 grams egg yolks (3 to 4 egg yolks)
  • 20 grams all-purpose flour
  • 250 grams fresh milk
  • 15 grams butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste / extract
  • 20 grams dark chocolate, melted and cooled
Chocolate Ganache
  • 60 grams (1/3 cup) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream
Method
Choux
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line baking sheets with baking parchment.
  2. Combine milk, butter, sugar and salt in a pot. The butter is softened and chopped to little pieces so that it melts fast during heating. Heat the mixture over high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, and bring it to a rolling boil – the mixture should be boiling and bubbling vigorously until the layer of butter is no longer floating on top.
  3. Working quickly, add in all the flour at once, turn off the heat and stir quickly with the wooden spoon to mix in all the flour.
  4. Once the flour has been mixed in, turn on the heat to medium-low and continue mixing with the wooden spoon (do not stop!) until the mixture forms a soft dough and that you can see a layer of dough at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and transfer the dough into a mixing bowl.
  5. Using an electric mixer, mix the dough on low speed for 5 seconds, then add in the beaten eggs, a little at a time (I estimated one tablespoon each time). Make sure the dough has fully absorbed the eggs before adding more. The dough will first seemed to separate but will come together eventually into a thick, smooth and piping consistency – and that’s choux pastry!
  6. Transfer the choux into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip (about ½-inch).
  7. Pipe the choux onto the baking sheet in 3-inch strips, spacing them 2 inches apart. You'll end up with about 20 choux. If you get little tips after piping, dampen your finger in a little water and flatten the tip of the choux to prevent it from getting burnt during baking. Spray the surface of the choux with a little water immediately before baking – this helps the éclairs to expand even bigger during baking.
  8. Bake the éclairs for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Reduce the heat to 175 degrees Celsius and bake for another 20 – 25 minutes until the éclairs are golden brown and well-risen. During baking, no matter how excited you are, do not open the oven to check them as it will cause them to deflate and it’ll be the worse thing to happen ever.
  9. Turn off the oven, leave the oven door ajar and let the éclairs cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack. (I usually place an oven mitten between the door and the oven to keep it ajar.)
  10. Once the éclairs have cooled completely, pipe some pastry cream into the éclairs. Dip the top of the éclairs into the chocolate ganache and serve. The éclairs can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  11. Make ahead (choux): After piping the choux pastry on the baking sheet, freeze the choux for 1 hours. Remove the choux from the baking sheet and wrap with 2 layers of cling film (plastic wrap). Keep them in a freeze-proof bag and keep them frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, bake them (no need to defrost) at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes then at 175 degrees Celsius for 30 – 35 minutes.
  12. Make ahead (unfilled éclairs): Place the unfilled éclairs in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour. Transfer the frozen éclairs into a freeze-proof bag and keep them frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to use, remove the éclairs from the freezer (no need to defrost) and pop into a preheat oven of 160 degrees Celsius for 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool and use as needed.
  13. Make ahead (filled éclairs): Place the filled and ganache-d éclairs in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour. Transfer the frozen éclairs into a freeze-proof bag and keep them frozen for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, remove the éclairs from the freezer the night before and let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. If urgent, let the éclairs defrost at room temperature for 20 minutes. (If you fill the éclairs with ice cream, just serve them straight from the freezer.) The éclairs will be softer as compared to freshly baked ones.
Pastry Cream
  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water (enough to put a pot in). Set aside.
  2. Combine 40 grams of sugar with the egg yolks in a large bowl. Whisk immediately with a wire whisk until the mixture is pale and smooth. Sift in the flour and whisk till smooth. Set aside.
  3. Combine the milk, butter and the remaining 10 grams of sugar in a medium pot and warm over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour the hot milk, little by little, bit by bit, into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until ¼ of the hot milk has been added. (Don’t add the hot milk too fast, otherwise it’ll scramble the eggs and you’ll have to start over.)
  5. After ¼ of the hot milk has been added, add the hot milk in a slow and steady stream, whisking constantly – until ¼ of hot milk is left. This whole process is called tempering.
  6. Once the egg yolks have been tempered, pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pot and whisk to mix them altogether. Place the pot back on medium heat and with a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly until the mixture has thickened and has started to boil – you’ll see huge air bubbles popping out of the custard – that’s a sign that the pastry cream is ready.
  7. Remove the pot from heat and place it in the bowl of ice water. Stir the pastry cream constantly until it has cooled down. Stir in the vanilla paste / extract and melted chocolate if using.
  8. If using immediately, spoon the pastry cream into a piping bag and keep it refrigerated until needed. If not, transfer the pastry cream into a container, place a plastic wrap (cling film) directly onto the surface of the pastry cream (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Ganache
  1. Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until it starts to simmer (small bubbles began to appear on the side of the saucepan). Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk until all the chocolate has melted. Let the ganache cool slightly (it will thicken as it cools) before using.
  3. If the ganache is too stiff, place it in a warm water bath and stir gently till it is smooth.
Naggy
- Step-by-step photos: choux and pastry cream
- Adapted from Pastry Friends (aka Keiko’s Cakes)
Recipe by Foodie Baker at https://www.foodiebaker.com/eclairs-and-an-award/