Here’s a piece of pastry that blew my mind (and my tastebuds). I L O V E eclairs! I really, really do! I have been wanting to bake them for oh such a long time, but I was a bit frightened by the lenghty process and all of the little steps that had to be done to perfection in order to get the perfect eclairs. However, I threw myself in there, and in the end it turned out to be quite easy to bake and not at all as complicated as I had feared. And the best part? They taste absolutely amazing! I strongly encourage you to go ahead and bake your own eclairs.
The eclair baking process can be divided into three parts: The pastry dough (pâte á choux), the vanilla custard and the chocolate ganache. I begin with making the vanilla custard, since this should cool down in the fridge while preparing the pastry dough.
It is quite important that you use a star tip nozzle when piping the eclairs. The star tip created gaps that allow the dough to expand while in the oven, and hence you avoid cracks along the sides. There are tips made especially for eclairs, but I simply used tip BC330 which is a quite large star tip. I really liked how it turned out, but for the next time (just for experimental purposes) I want to try using my Wilton tip 6B in stead.
I decided that my first eclair baking experience should be of the simple and classical kind, so I made it pretty basic with the best vanilla custard and chocolate ganache. However I can’t help thinking of new and exciting variations I want to try out next time. Eclairs are just perfect for mixing and matching any tastes, fruits and ingredients. I’m thinking of white chocolate/passion fruit, chocolate/coffee, pistachio, salted caramel etc.
Do let me know if you have any great ideas for wonderful new flavors, that you’d like me to try out and create a recipe for. I’d love to hear your inputs.
This recipe is for app. 15 eclairs.
160 g egg yolk (ca. 7-8 egg yolks)
240 g sugar
50 g all-purpose flour
50 g maizena/corn starch
1 L whole milk
2 vanilla pods
2 Tbs sugar
- In a bowl whip together egg yolks and sugar. Sieve flour and corn starch into the egg mixture while stirring until the mixture is smooth.
- Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and add the vanilla seeds as well as the empty pods. Add the last 2 Tbs of sugar and heat it up until boiling. Take the saucepan off the heat immideately when boiling.
- Pick up the vanilla pods and pour the ⅓ of the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs while stirring. Once the mixture is smooth add the rest of the milk a little at a time while stirring constantly. Pour everything back into the saucepan and place it back on the heat.
- Heat up the mixture slowly while stirring. The custard will start to thicken, and if lumps appear it is important to stir even more. Let the custard boil for 1-2 minutes (still while stirring).
- Now take the saucepan off the heat and pour the custard into a bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film, and let the film touch the custard and the inner sides of the bowl, so that there is no space for condensation. Place the bowl in the fridge.
Pastry dough (pâte á choux)
125 g water
125 g milk
125 g butter
1 tbs salt
10 g sugar
150 g all-purpose flour
250 g eggs (ca. 5 eggs)
Powdered sugar for sieving
- Preheat the oven to 230 ºC (regular oven, not convection).
- Pour water, milk, butter, salt and sugar into a saucepan and heat it up until just before boiling.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and quickly pour all of the flower into the suacepan. Stir it together immidiately with a wooden spoon.
- Place the saucepan back on medium heat and heat it up while constantly stirring with the wooden spoon. Stir for about 2 minutes until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk for about 1 minute to get the steam out and cool down the dough.
- Add four of the eggs one at a time while still whisking until a soft peak forms when batter is touched with your finger. If the texture of the batter is not there yet, add half or whole of the remaining egg until you are satisfied with the texture.
- Pour the batter into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe eclairs onto a baking sheet.
- Dust/sieve a layer of powdered sugar on top of the eclairs and place the baking sheet in the oven. After five minutes turn down to 180 ºC and let the eclairs bake for another 30 minutes or until golden.
- Turn off the oven and open the oven door ajar for 15 minutes to allow the ecalis to cool slowly without collapsing.
Filling eclairs with vanilla custard
- Take the bowl with vanilla custard out of the fridge and whip it thouroughly with an electric mixer until custard is smooth and airy.
- Pour vanilla custard into a piping bag with a small round tip and pipe custard unto the eclairs by pressing three small holes in the bottom of the eclair.
- It can be hard to know exactly how much custard should be pressed into the eclair. Just press slowly and carefully, until the sides of the eclair start to expand from the pressure.
120 g heavy cream
20 g glucose syrup
100 g dark chocolate, 70%
- Chop the chocolate finely and pour it into a bowl with the glucose syrup.
- Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Do not let it boil. Pour it over the chocolate and quickly stir a little, to let the cream come in contact with the chocolate. Leave it for about 1 minute while the chocolate melts.
- Gently start stirring in circles until all of the chocolate melts and the texture of the ganache is smooth and shiny.
- Dip the tops of the chilled eclairs in the ganache straight away, while the ganache is still warm.