Homemade Eclairs

Homemade Eclairs
A few weeks ago I shared this recipe over at Lil’ Luna as part of my guest post for May. Now it’s time for me to share it with you! Eclairs have always been one thing I have really wanted to master. The whole concept seemed foreign to me and I thought I’d fail a few times before I found success. Well, not so long ago I was at work and I had the opportunity to make them for a class. I learned a few tips and tricks along the way and I have included them in the recipe below. Stephen reaped the bounty of my first at-home batch and deemed them a recipe worthy of remaking in the future. I now know that there’s no need to fear when it comes to baking. Sure failures or flops happen, but you never know unless you try! These are easy to make, the only key thing is time… you’ve got to give yourself at least 2 hours from start to finish. If you’re interested in more ideas for eclairs, you can always fill them with jam or whipped cream. If you don’t want to make an entire batch of eclairs, just pipe the paste into circles to make cream puffs- you can find my recipe for those here. Happy baking!

Homemade Eclairs
Pâte â choux:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter
4 eggs
1 c. water
¼ tsp. salt

Vanilla bean pastry cream:
¼ c. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. butter
3 egg yolks
1½ c. whole milk
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste

Chocolate glaze:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
½ c. heavy whipping cream, plus more if needed
pinch of sea salt

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
2. To make the pâte â choux, place a medium size saucepan over low heat. Add butter, sugar, water and salt, stirring frequently. Turn heat up to a low boil, remove from head and add in flour. Stir vigorously until the mixture forms a thick paste and no flour pockets remain. Place over medium heat and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly to prevent burning (a thin film will form on the bottom of your pan).
3. Place hot paste into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until it becomes slightly cooler. Then add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. The mixture will look shiny and will stick to the sides of the bowl. Beat for an additional 2 minutes on medium. Scoop dough into a large piping bag fitted with a large tip (around a ½” in diameter). Pipe 4″-5″ logs onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing each two inches apart to prevent spreading & baking into each other.
4. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, open the oven, rotate the pan and reduce the heat to 350˚F, bake for an additional 20 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 300˚F and bake for 20 minutes to allow the pastry shells to dry out. That makes a total of 60 minutes or 1 hour at three separate temperatures. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile to make the pastry cream, in a large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, whisking until combined. Pour milk into a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring to a low boil then add the flour. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg/sugar mixture to temper it, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan set over medium heat, add vanilla bean paste and cook until it becomes very thick. Pour over a mesh sieve to strain any eggy parts and set over an ice bath to cool (whisk for about 5 minutes or so). Store in the refrigerator until needed.
6. When the pastry shells have cooled poke three holes into the bottom of each one. Place pastry cream into a large piping bag fitted with a small round tip and fill each hole. Once the shells are filled, heat the heavy whipping cream for the glaze in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir in semi-sweet chocolate and salt. Dip each pastry into the chocolate glaze swirling to remove any excess chocolate. Set on the baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to set for about 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking, by Cindy Mushet | Makes approximately 16 eclairs