Few things say elegance like a cup of tea and a crème patisserie éclair. The fluffy pastry, custard filling and glossy chocolate is almost too beautiful to destroy with a fork…well almost! Good news is choux pastry is so easy to ace, that anyone will be able to bring the Parisian fantasy to life in their kitchen with this classic eclairs recipe.
Makes: 8 éclairs | Prep: 15 min | Cook: 30 min
For the choux pastry
120 g cake flour
250 ml (1 cup) water
115 g butter
4 extra large eggs
For the filling
250 ml (1 cup) milk
1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla essence
3 egg yolks
50 g castor sugar
15 g flour
15 g corn flour
For the chocolate ganache
180 g dark chocolate
75 ml (5 Tbsp) cream
15 ml (1 Tbsp) butter
For the éclairs
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Place water, salt and butter into a medium saucepan and heat until the butter has melted.
3. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil over a high heat.
4. Add the flour all at once, then remove from the heat and stir until the mixture forms a smooth and thick paste, and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.
5. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition, until smooth and glossy.
6. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
7. Pipe your éclairs (about 6 cm long) onto a Silpat Mat or baking paper placed on a baking tray.
TIP: Once you have piped your choux pastry, sprinkle over a little water. This allows for the choux to steam in the oven and adds an extra puff to the pastry.
8. Bake until crisp and puffed, then lower temperature to 160°C and cook for a further 20 minutes or until dry and crisp and a light golden brown.
9. Once out the oven, prick each éclair with a skewer to release the steam.
10. Allow to cool and then cut open length ways.
To make the filling
1. Scald the milk and vanilla.
2. Allow it to infuse for a few minutes and then strain (if using a pod).
3. Cream the egg yolks and sugar together, then gradually add the flour and corn flour.
4. Gradually add the milk and return to the heat and bring to the boil.
5. Boil for one minute, whisking continuously.
6. Place in a clean bowl and cover the surface with cling wrap.
7. Allow to cool.
8. Pipe the cooled custard into the éclairs and close.
Now to make the ganache
1. Chop chocolate into small pieces, and place in a Pyrex bowl over hot water (like making your own bain-marie).
2. Heat the butter and cream until boiling.
3. Pour the butter and cream over the chocolate and stir until combined and melted.
4. Leave to chill.
5. Spoon the ganache over the top of the éclairs.
6. Sprinkle with a few chopped raw nuts, if desired.
Eclairs seem to be making a come back of late so the sooner you master this delicious treat, the sooner you can share them with friends for cozy high-teas. If you’re inspired by this recipe, sign up to our newsletters so more of our test kitchen hits find their way to your kitchen.