Chocolate Eclairs have been a favorite pastry of mine since I was a young boy. There is just something magical about them! The light and fluffy pastry filled with a rich chocolate cream and topped with an amazingly delicious chocolate ganache is heavenly.
This Chocolate Eclairs recipe is adapted from culinary guru and James Beard award-winning French cook Doris Greenspan.
They are just divine.
The dough is a beautiful mixture of milk, butter, flour and then eggs. You cook it before you bake it.
A pastry bag fitted with a large tip (2/3-inch) allows you to form the strips of dough that will puff as they bake. It is important to bake them while the dough is still warm.
Baking takes love and tender care, but it so very satisfying!
As the dough bakes, they almost triple in size and become a gorgeous golden color.
These are just begging to be gently cut open and filled with something incredibly chocolatey and delicious!
The chocolate cream filling couldn’t be more perfect for these eclairs. The cream filling is a chocolate lovers dream come true.
Warning: It will be difficult to not want to just sit there and eat the entire bowl.
The Loon almost did. I couldn’t really blame him, because I couldn’t resist either. Just amazing.
And of course, every good eclair needs the perfect topping. This chocolate ganache fits the bill perfectly.
Remember to place the cooked ganache in the refrigerator just long enough for it to become spreadable; if you leave it in too long, it will harden, and then you’ll need to warm it again.
Just so delicious!
These eclairs are as beautiful in appearance as they are delicious in taste. And the process of creating these iconic pastries is really cathartic.
These truly are something special.
Reserve a weekend afternoon and you will have so much fun making this incredible Chocolate Eclairs recipe!
Now, it’s time to whip up a batch of Chocolate Eclairs!
Go for it! They are so good!
FOR THE CHOCOLATE FILLING
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- Kosher salt a pinch
- 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate melted
- 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter cubed, at room temperature
FOR THE PASTRY DOUGH
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 tbsp 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
FOR THE GANACHE
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 lb 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (a food processor works best)
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE FILLING
- Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Meanwhile, in a medium sturdy pan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt until slightly thickened and well blended.
- Temper the yolks by whisking them continuously, and drizzling in 1/4 cup of the hot milk. Add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
- Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly, and thoroughly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil.
- Continue whisking until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Whisk in the melted chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky.
- Set aside to cool completely. (To expedite cooling, scrape into a bowl and place the bowl in a larger bowl with ice water).
MAKE THE PASTRY
- Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt to a rapid boil in a medium sturdy saucepan over high heat.
- Add the flour all at once and lower the heat to medium-low, and immediately start stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk.
- The dough will come together, and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan.
- Keep stirring for another minute or two to dry out the dough. The dough should be very smooth.
- Turn the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or into a bowl you can use to mix with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and a good amount of arm muscle.
- Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat until the dough is thick and shiny.
- Make sure each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don't be concerned if the dough falls apart - by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again.
- Fit a large pastry bag with a large (2/3-inch diameter) plain tip.
- Fill the pastry bag with half of the dough and pipe out thick strips of dough that are 4 to 4 1/2 inches long on the first baking sheet; keep the strips about 2 inches apart so they'll have room to puff.
- Pipe the other half of the dough onto the second baking sheet (the eclairs at this point can be frozen for up to 2 months).
- Bake the eclairs for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking for another 7 minutes, then wedge the handle of wooden spoon into the oven door so it stays slightly ajar, and bake for about 3 minutes more, or until the eclairs are golden, firm, and puffed.
- Transfer the eclairs to a rack and cool to room temperature.
MAKE THE GANACHE
- Bring the heavy cream (3/4 cup) to a boil.
- Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and wait for 30 seconds.
- Gently stir to blend.
- Place the ganache in the refrigerator just long enough for it to become spreadable.
ASSEMBLE THE CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS
- Using a serrated knife, in a gently sawing motion, cut the eclairs horizontally in half and lift off the tops.
- Whisk the pastry cream lightly to loosen it a bit and spoon it into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe enough into each eclair base to fill it. (Or, fill with a spoon).
- (You will have chocolate filling left over, which you can cover and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days...there a lots of ways to use up this amazing cream).
- Using a small icing spatula, or butter knife, glaze the tops of the eclairs.
- Gently place the tops over the filled bases.
- Refrigerate the eclairs for at least 1 hour before serving.