September 9, 2010


On the few occasions I was treated to a chocolate eclair as a child, I remember getting that oh-so-special feeling, imagining what it must feel like to be a queen, nibbling daintily on a fancy treat flown down by twittering bluebirds of happiness from the enchanted kitchens of the court fairies.  Yes, the eclair had the power to transport this awkward 70s kid in a velour shirt and tan cords to a kingdom in the clouds with a single bite!

Perhaps this is why I've spent so much of my life elbow deep in flour, concocting fanciful treats for anyone who will have them. I'm pleased to share one of my most favorite recipes, not fairy made, but nonetheless magical with every bite...

(Makes approximately two dozen mini eclairs)

The Pate a Choux recipe is fabulous for cream puffs and ice-cream filled profiteroles as well, but here it is used for the classic French eclair.

Step 1: Prepare the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water, inset with a medium bowl, left empty with a strainer placed on top.

In a medium bowl, combine:

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Next, stir in:

  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Whisk until smooth and pale and yellow. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine:

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped into milk, and pods added to infuse extra flavor

Stir over medium-high heat until milk begins to steam.

Whisking constantly, add half the hot milk to the egg-yolk mixture.

Stir until smooth; add combined mixture back to remaining hot milk in the pan.

Bring mixture to a boil to thicken, whisking rapidly to prevent scorching.

Remove from heat, and stir in:

  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pour hot mixture through strainer into medium bowl set in the ice bath.

Let strained mixture stand in ice bath, stirring occasionally until cool.

Remove from ice bath, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on to surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 2: Prepare the Pate a Choux (the dough)

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

When butter melts, remove pan from heat.
Add all at once:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour, and beat until well blended.

Return pan to burner on low heat

Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan.

Remove pan from heat again.

  • Add 2 eggs and beat until smooth
  • Add 2 more eggs and beat until smooth

Transfer warm dough into a pastry bag fitted with a pastry tip (plain, 1/2 - 3/4 "). If you don't have a pastry bag and tip, transfer dough to a ziploc bag, seal after removing air. and snip a 1/2" hole in one end.

Pipe 3" lengths of dough on to parchment lined baking sheet (about 1" apart).

Bake in top half of oven for 15 minutes.

Lower heat to 375 and bake 15 minutes more.

Open oven door to allow steam and moisture to escape, turn oven off and allow eclairs to dry-out and cool for about an hour.

Step 3: Fill the Eclairs
When eclair shells have cooled, use a skewer to poke a hole in one end and move it around gently to expand the opening for the cream.

Next, fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and filling tip with cooled pastry cream.

Insert tip into skewered end of each eclair and fill. Refrigerate filled eclairs while preparing glaze.

Step 4: Glazing

In a microwave safe bowl, combine:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Microwave for 2 minutes

Allow to rest for 2 minutes

Stir until thoroughly combined.

Transfer to a shallow bowl for easy dipping.

Dip the top of each eclair into glaze; let excess drip off before turning over.

Transfer to a wire rack to allow glaze to set.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This post has been linked-up with:
French Food Recipe Link @ Carole's Chatter 


  1. Those look amazing!! If I wasn't baking brownies right this moment, I would be all over those! I do know what I will be bringing to the next family pot luck though!

  2. Oh, they look great! My MIL used to make these quite often and after seeing this I will have to try it! Good job! Way to go!

  3. Oh, my goodness, you do not know how much I am going to enjoy making these eclairs. When I was young if I got to go shopping with my mother she always bought us eclairs. I cannot see an eclair without thinking about her and our shopping expeditions. It is such a wonderful memory and I'm going to make them for her next time she visits. I know she will sooooo enjoy that. THANK YOU!!! (visiting from SITS and can't wait till next week.) I'll have to make a scrapbook page of the whole process.

  4. This is definitely something I do not need to learn how to make. It does not go with the Fit B4 40 plan. :)

    So true what you wrote about kids and sparkly stuff. Hobby Lobby has this paperweight shaped like a huge diamond. My daughter thinks it is totally real and that she can buy it and make jewelry out of it. I wish I still had that innocence.

  5. New to your blog...such fun reads! I love the memory, and that yummy looking treat~ and I may have to fill a jewelry box like that for my daughter (or for me...whichever).

  6. YUM! Those looks SO good. I'm totally impressed and would definitely make them if I had any baking ability whatsoever. I always enjoy the eating though! :-)

  7. I'd love to make these...not sure if I have the patience! I would prefer to buy them from you - because your goodies are always the best!

  8. Oh Jenn! Between these and the hot fudge and caramel sauce....I think I just gained 3" on each thigh. But too bad I'm not near by ~ I'd for sure bring the coffee!!

  9. I have to make these eclairs and the mini-sized is too tempting to pass by.
    May I ask you what size tip you would recommend using to make the eclair? Thanks
    so much for posting.

    1. Thanks Lexy, I recommend: A plain 1/2" or 3/4 "


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