Chocolate Eclairs

Total Time:
3 hr 55 min
10 min
3 hr 45 min

8 to 10 servings

  • Filling:
  • 2 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • Pastry:
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 extra, if needed
  • Egg Wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the saucepan. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.

Pastry: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add 3 eggs, 1 egg at a time. Stop mixing after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining 1 egg and mix until incorporated.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe fat lengths of dough (about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog) onto the lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between them. You should have 8 to 10 lengths.

Egg Wash: In a bowl, whisk the egg and water together. Brush the surface of each eclair with the egg wash. Use your fingers to smooth out any bumps of points of dough that remain on the surface. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet. Fit a medium-size plain pastry tip over your index finger and use it to make a hole in the end of each eclair (or just use your fingertip). Using a pastry bag fitted with a medium-size plain tip, gently pipe the custard into the eclairs, using only just enough to fill the inside (don't stuff them full).

Glaze: In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately turn off the heat. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm. The glaze can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, and rewarm in a microwave or over hot water when ready to use.

Dip the tops of the eclairs in the warm chocolate glaze and set on a sheet pan. Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.

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    72 Reviews
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    Love making these, how can I keep my shell from getting soft?
    The pastry turned out PERFECT! I was about to give up on eclairs, as I've tried a different recipe about 3 times, only to have it work once. This recipe was much easier and turned out great. Don't open the oven before they're finished baking. Followed the directions to a T. As for the filling, I used the other recipe and messed it up, so I ended up using instant vanilla pudding. I had to mix whipping cream and skim milk (sounds strange) so I would have enough milk to make the pudding. It turned out great, and is a lot less fattening. The glaze turned out good too. I will definitely use this recipe again!!
    can u substitute vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean?
    I was wondering the same. Someone said you can use 1/2 tsp of extract.
    EASY and very YUMMY thanks F.N.
    I have made something like this recipe for years but used Instant Vanilla Pudding as the base and added other things to it. I can't find the recipe. It was very easy and you made a huge round ring and cut the pastry in half and filled it. It was very simple. Any suggestions from anyone? thanks!
    awesome recipe but me personally i prefer the taste from chantily cream more then cream pat but thats just imo nice recipe for the choux pastry too ;
    Each step is not that hard, but my eclairs were a little smaller than suggested (pre-baking, about the thickness of a hot dog and about 4 inches long, so I had to pull the dough out of the oven about 5 minutes early. They do look done on the outside before they are done on the inside - so be sure to check each one. 
    Filling these was the hardest part for me - I used a ziplock baggie with a hole cut on the end to pipe the filling from one end, and tapped the eclair several times in the process of filling, to get the custard to settle to the bottom. 
    BTW, I did use half and half instead of cream to mix with chocolate chips for the topping, and that worked great.
    Very easy recipe to follow!! They turned out wonderful!! No need to change anything!!
    This was my first attempt at a pastry. They turned out AWESOME!!... They looked beautiful but tasted better than they looked. The pastry shell came out flaky and buttery.. i was so impressed. Followed the recipe to a tee and they turned out Fantastic!!! I am making them a second time in one week.
    Great recipe! The cream is not chalky; but you really need to watch it while its cooking-it litterally goes from thin to extreamly thick in about 2 seconds. The dough always works for me and I've used this recipe three times--just follow the directions to a T! The glaze was a little on this thick side so I just put some more cream. And of course, remember that it tastes better cold!!!: overall, awesome recipe!!
    This was my first time attempting eclairs. I thought the pastry cream was very easy to make and tasted fabulous, not chalky as one poster stated. In fact, this may be my new go to recipe for pastry cream! Making the shell was easy as well. I did need that 4th egg. I ended up splitting the shells in half and sandwiching the cream in between. I now have to find neighbors who will want some of these or else I will consume all on my own and that would NOT be a good thing!
    This is my teen sons' favorite dessert. I have been making this for the last 6 years and it is a never fail for me. I bring it to all our holiday, family and friend events. It is always requested. We had a bakery that went out of business many years ago; and everyone comments that these taste exactly like that beloved bakery's version. Also great at bake sales (if you are still allowed to have one in your area.
    CHALKY PASTRY CREAM: I am so sad! I think of Gale as THE baker on this network. But this pastry cream puts the corn starch in the egg yolks while they are being beaten with sugar instead of putting the corn starch in the milk while itâ??s being heated. So it never fully dissolved, and after licking the spatula I now cannot get the raw chalky feeling and bitter flavor off my tongue. Other recipes also include SALT in the pastry cream; it really is needed and I added it to improve the flavor but the texture is just so bad. This pastry cream really did not work for me; I am afraid I have to throw it out. So sad! :-(
    Wow this was so good and once I made the eclairs for the family it was easy the first time there is a bit of reading but when you make them its extremely simple! 
    Love them to death Oh ya for the custard we used our injector (needle made it super easy 
    Made this for the family tonight. This was the first time I have made any pastry like this. The only issues I had were the custard was bery stiff to pipe into the pastry. Any my pastry collapsed while cooling.  
    I think the problem with the pastry was I forgot to set the time for my reduced temp baking time, so I went by color. They looked right and the pastry was fully cooked but I think it just needed a couple extra minutes to firm up.
    just made them now... WOW i thought it was fun making everything from scratch and the custard turned out awesome, pastry rose to perfection. i made half like eclairs and half in muffin trays both as good as each other they grew 4 to 5 times there size. all in all it took me about 3 1/2 hrs but would be a lot quicker next time. thanks for the recipe very very much
    I only used the recipe for the pastry shell and the chocolate coating, but I thought that both were sensational. The recipe wasn't too difficult to follow and I was able to substitute ziplock bags for the pastry bag. The chocolate was perfectly glossy, although I did add slightly less cream to make it a little less runny. The only reason that I didn't use the filling provided here was because I was making this for my mother who does weightwatchers so I needed to find a way to make this recipe a little more fat conscious. I ended up using fat free Jello vanilla pudding which still fit the bill.
    Pretty easy recipe given you have the right tools. The pate a choux was spot on I needed to use that fourth egg though. I wouldn't recomend using a cheap thin cookie tray though use a commercial half pan or full pan with parchment......not bad. probably better second time around.
    This is easier than I thought and the outcome is great! I like the filling, but next time will try whipped cream. The only thing is i didn't use pastry bag to make the pastry, but still tastes good! It takes time, but it worth it.
    A huge waste on time and money! The pastry turned out terrible! it did not rise and was like a solid brick,while following the recipe EXACTLY. the pastry was heavy, thick, and was the exact opposite from the picture, next time i will defiantly use a different recipe.
    OMG! This recipe is yum!. It was easy to make, although it does take time. I was looking for something to use up all the fresh eggs from my chickens. I will certainly make this again. I made some small for dinner party. Worked great. I'm thinking of variations like lemon for the custard filling.;
    Made this today. I really like the creme filling and I am thinking about using this in a Boston Cream Pie. I had a little trouble with the pastry, but I am going to try again. I must have made a mistake. They didn't puff up. So I just put them together like cookie and it worked just fine.
    I love this eclair but we at Wal-Mart were i have made them they call them long john but it still one of the best
    I used this recipe for the filling only, it came out really well for the most part. There was some separation in the pot, so I ended up draining some of the excess fat. I used light cream by the way. I also added in some melted dark chocolate and it worked really well!
    best cream ever<3 
    I like it alot. but you have to use alot of pans
    Super Yummy and not difficult at all. The directions are right on the money - if you follow them, then you'll love the eclairs! I opted for a ziplock bag to place the dough on the baking sheets. I did use a pastry bag and tip to fill the eclairs but if you don't have the tips and bags, you could always slice the eclair, fill it, close it up and dip it in the chocolate. One note on the chocolate - it was a little on the thin side for my taste. Next time I am going to try decreasing the cream a tad or increasing the chocolate. I did add a touch of butter to add some shine to the chocolate as well.
    This is a delicious receipe and a keeper. Sounds hard to make but it's not. I've been making eclairs for my family and now only for myself and my husband for 30 years. I use a large tablespoon and spoon the dough on to the cookie sheet, then shape into a small log. This will work great. Sometimes I've used a turkey baster to fill the Eclairs.
    Wonderful. Definately worth the extra time. This is my all-time favorite eclair recipe. I do use milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet, but everyone who has ever tried them has loved them!
    WOW, They came out perfect!!! First time I made them and a little nervous but they really did come out great and my husband loves them. The mixture I made seemed too much to fit into one baking sheet comfortably. Some of them also came out too big and looked more flatter than they should be. Next time I will make them smaller (to come out like a regular sized eclaire and spread them out on two trays. They taste amazing and I know I will be keeping this recipe for many future occasions.
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