The only thing better than eating Chocolate Eclairs is having an easy recipe so you can bake them at home any time you want!
What the hell is a pate a choux and how could that ever be easy to bake??
Choux pastry, or pâte à choux (pronounced: [pɑt a ʃu]), is a light pastry dough used to make profiteroles, croquembouches, éclairs, French crullers, beignets, St. Honoré cake, quenelles, Parisian gnocchi, dumplings, gougères, chouquettes, craquelins and churros. It contains only butter, water, flour and eggs.
I don’t even know how to pronounce most of those pastry names – but I do know that pate a choux is really very easy to make. I use the same recipe for making Cream Puffs except drop them by tablespoon onto the baking sheet and I just dust them with a little powdered sugar instead of a chocolate glaze.
For my daughter Aimee’s wedding I volunteered to cater the desserts for her. I made about 200 cream puffs for the dessert table. I also made lemon tartlettes, chocolate covered peanut butter balls (buckeyes), chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate caramel fudge, chocolate fudge, mini strawberry shortcake, and coconut macaroons – I think that was everything. I made between 150 and 200 of each of these tasty treats! Talk about a crazy week!
Here is the chocolate eclair recipe that I use from AllRecipes.com – the only changes I make are:
- I don’t grease the cookie sheet, I use parchment paper instead
- I use all heavy whipping cream for the filling instead of part milk and part heavy cream
- I use chocolate ganache to frost the eclairs with not the icing that is in the recipe.
- I leave the eclairs in the oven about 5 minutes longer than the recipe states so that they are dry inside, many people poke a hole in them as soon as they take them out of the oven so that any steam inside escapes – if they are not dry on the inside they will collapse when they cool down
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 1/2 cups cold milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts completely. Reduce heat to low, and add flour and salt. Stir vigorously until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and begins to form a stiff ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate completely after each addition. With a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a No. 10, or larger, tip, spoon or pipe dough onto cookie sheet in 1 1/2 x 4 inch strips.
- Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and bake 20 minutes more, until hollow sounding when lightly tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the filling, combine pudding mix and milk in medium bowl according to package directions. In a separate bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Fold whipped cream into pudding. Cut tops off of cooled pastry shells with a sharp knife. Fill shells with pudding mixture and replace tops.
- For the icing, melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth and has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and drizzle over filled eclairs. Refrigerate until serving.