Think making eclairs is too hard? Think again.
A basic chocolate eclair recipe only has a handful of ingredients and can turn a plain day into a soiree!
An eclair au chocolat, as my daughter calls them, can be filled with whipped cream, pudding or pastry cream. My favorite filling is the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream from Deer Valley. Now is the perfect time to use those vanilla beans you received for Christmas. Start your baking by making the filling so it will be ready to use when the eclair puffs have cooled.
Basic Chocolate Eclair Recipe
Makes 24 mini or 12 large eclairs
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a parchment-lined or greased cookie sheet.
Combine the water, butter and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the flour and stir quickly until the dough forms a ball that looks a lot like playdough. Remove from heat and allow to cool for up to 10 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, beat in the eggs, one at a time until the dough is smooth and slightly glossy. Spoon the dough into a pastry bag with a large round tip. For mini eclairs, use a 1/4-inch tip or use up to a 1/2-inch tip for large eclairs. Pipe out the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, leaving at least two inches between eclairs. My mini eclairs are about the size of my index finger before baking. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until puffy and golden. Remove and let cool while you prepare the chocolate glaze.
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup hot water
Melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with half the water. The glaze is halfway between a ganache (thick chocolate) and a drizzle (syrup-like chocolate). Add additional water as necessary to achieve a frosting-like consistency. Allow glaze to cool slightly as you fill the eclairs.
Using a sharp knife, create a small opening in the end of a mini eclair. For large eclairs, cut along the length of the eclair, open and scoop out any dough inside. Fill the eclairs using a pastry bag or a spoon. One recipe will require 2 cups of filling. Frost the top of the eclair with the chocolate glaze.
Eclair shells can be baked a day ahead and stored in an airtight container. Once filled, store eclairs in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator at least one hour before serving to allow the chocolate to warm up.