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Is there anything better than the first bite of a Chocolate Eclair?
Just look at the pictures and envision yourself taking a bite into the airy pastry shell filled with rich and luscious pastry cream, all topped with a thick layer of chocolate glaze.
In my version of heaven, my house would be made out of chocolate eclairs (and filled with puppies).
I feel like they kind of get lost in the shuffle of bakery sweets, but a good Chocolate Eclairs is definitely something to write home about.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you know a while ago I was able to go to Paris with my best friend Ashley from Baker by Nature. We had the BEST time gallivanting around the city eating and drinking everything in sight.
I just had to come back home and make some eclairs from scratch to soften the blow of not waking up to the most delicious food every day.
The Chocolate Eclair recipe is a little more involved but there’s a step-by-step video in the recipe box below. It’s quite a few years old now, so please keep that in mind as you watch 😉
I consider these Chocolate Eclairs a small sacrifice in my ongoing efforts to make your life more delicious. I was practically forced to make them on a 100°F day here in Phoenix. Let’s just say that cranking the oven to 425°F is not fun when it’s that hot outside, neither is trying to get pastry cream to set. Oh the things I do in the name of food blogging! 😉 Best problems in the world.
How to Make Chocolate Eclairs
What Are Chocolate Eclairs?
A Chocolate Éclair is a French dessert that features an airy choux pastry shell, filled with rich and luscious vanilla pastry cream, all topped with a thick layer of chocolate glaze.
What is Choux Pastry?
Choux pastry (pronounced “shoe pastry“, also known as Pâte à Choux) is a simple, light pastry made on the stovetop, then transferred to a mixer where eggs are added and the mixture is beaten until it reaches a ribbony consistency. To make eclairs, we pipe the choux pastry into logs and, once baked and cooled, filled with pastry cream and topped with a thick glaze. Choux pastry is super versatile, and the base for countless desserts such as creme puffs, churros, gougères, and more.
Chocolate Eclair Ingredients
Eclairs contain simple ingredients that you may already have on hand! You just need water, eggs, butter, fine salt, granulated sugar, and flour. Flour and eggs are the tricky parts here. More on these below.
The Flour in Eclairs
We’re just using all-purpose flour for these Chocolate Eclairs – but be sure to measure accurately! It’s super easy to accidentally add too much flour when measuring by volume (cups), so I highly recommend using a digital kitchen scale to ensure accuracy.
The Eggs in Eclairs
The eggs needed when making an eclair recipe vary based on many factors, such as flour content (as mentioned above), the size of your eggs, and your kitchen environment. I included visual cues in the recipe instructions, so you’ll easily be able to identify whether or not to add a little more of another egg to the mixture – but if you’re not sure, check out my video (just below the recipe) to see what you’re looking for.
The Pastry Cream Filling
Eclairs are filled with Pastry Cream, also known as crème pâtissière (or creme pat, as you might have heard Paul Hollywood call it on the Great British Baking Show!) is a type of custard. It’s made on the stovetop and seems a little intimidating to make – but I promise it’s not difficult. Just be sure not to get the milk too hot in the first step, and slowly add a ladle-full to your egg mixture, to temper the eggs and prevent them from scrambling. Watch the video (just below the recipe) to see how simple it is.
How to Fill Eclairs
- Split each eclair shell in half lengthwise.
- Take the top shell and dip into the chocolate glaze. Place on a baking tray and allow to set.
- Using a spoon or pastry bag, fill the bottom shell with the pastry cream.
- Once the glaze has set on the top shells, place them on top of the pastry cream to finish assembling your Chocolate Eclairs.
How to Store Chocolate Eclairs
Eclairs should be stored in the fridge in a covered container for up to 2 days.
Can Eclairs be Frozen?
Yes! The baked and cooled (but unfilled and unglazed) pastry shells can be frozen until hardened, then removed to an airtight container. Store in a safe place in the freezer for up to 1 month. Let thaw to room temperature then refresh them in a 350°F oven for 3 to 5 minutes before proceeding with glazing and filling.
More French-Inspired Recipes
- How to Make Crepes
- Homemade Beignets
- Chocolate Souffles for Two
- French Silk Pie
- Classic French Madeleines (from Baker by Nature)
For the filling:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (32 grams) cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the pastry:
- 1 cup water, plus 2 teaspoons for egg wash
- 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup (127 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 to 4 large eggs, plus 1 for egg wash, at room temperature and divided
For the chocolate glaze:
- 2 ounces (57 grams) semisweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup (feel free to omit)
To make the filling:
- Pour the milk into a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Warm just until the milk barely begins to steam, being careful not to boil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until very well combined and light in color. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Gradually whisk a ladle of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Gradually whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and barely boiling.
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Strain into a clean bowl. Let cool slightly before pressing plastic wrap directly against the surface. Chill for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
For the pastry:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup water, the butter, salt, and sugar and bring to a rolling boil. Immediately remove from heat. Vigorously whisk in all the flour at once and whisk for about 30 seconds, until combined. Return to heat and cook for 30 seconds, stirring with a silicone spatula until the mixture is more dry and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Scoop the mixture into a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or use a hand mixer. Turn to medium speed and beat for about 30 seconds. Add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once. The dough should be thick but fall into a V-shaped ribbon when the paddle is lifted. If the dough is too thick, beat the remaining 1 egg into a separate small bowl, and drizzle in just enough until that V-shaped ribbony consistency is achieved.
- Fit a pastry bag with a large plain tip and transfer the dough to the bag. Pipe 10 to 12 large logs about 1-inch wide and 4-inches long onto the prepared parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Whisk the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons water and brush over the éclairs. Gently smooth any bumps on the dough with your fingers.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425°F, then reduce the heat to 375°F, rotate the pan, and continue baking for another 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.
- MAKE AHEAD: At this point, the baked and cooled pastry shells can be frozen until hardened, then removed to an airtight container. Store in a safe place in the freezer for up to 1 month. Let thaw to room temperature then refresh them in a 350°F oven for 3 to 5 minutes before proceeding with glazing and filling.
To make the chocolate glaze:
- Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Microwave the cream just until boiling, about 30 seconds. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until melted. Add in the vanilla and corn syrup.
- Split each éclair shell in half lengthwise. Take the top shell and dip into the chocolate glaze, letting the excess drip off. Place, glazed side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a spoon or pastry bag, fill the bottom shell with the pastry cream. Once the glaze has set on the top shells, place them on top of the pastry cream. Serve or store in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 days.
This post was published in 2019 and has been updated with additional recipe tips and baking science information. Eclair photos by Ashley McLaughlin. Paris photos by Anastasia Abramova-Guendel.