Did you know that Chocolate Eclairs are deceptively easy to make, AND highly customizable? No? Now you do - here's what you need to know to make your own homemade eclairs!
This was posted for the first time over a decade ago, so it’s been a long time coming.
Could I leave it at that?
No, of course not. The whole thing ballooned out into a whole French pastry series, with several different versions of pâte à choux dough pastry shells - based goodies, including Cream Puffs, Mini Eclairs, Profiteroles, and - today’s post -my classic eclairs recipe.
The dough works up in just minutes, pipes out easily, and bakes up to the perfect eclairs with very little effort.
Fill your delicious eclairs with whatever you like - more on that in a minute - dip them in some chocolate glaze, and enjoy the fruit of your labours!
No one has to know how easy it was!
This classic eclair recipe is basically in 2 parts - choux pastry dough and a simple chocolate ganache (plus a filling, more on that in a minute!
All told, you only need a handful of basic ingredients, all of which should be easy to find in any grocery store:
All Purpose Flour
For the chocolate glaze, you’ll need semi sweet chocolate (you can use dark chocolate) and heavy cream.
As for the fillings, those really deserve their own section to discuss...
Most recipes for chocolate eclairs include the filling as part of the recipe. These pastries are filled eclairs by definition, so it makes sense.
That said, I’m a big fan of going wild with the possibilities, so I wanted to leave my recipe open to customization.
Here are some recommendations for filling your chocolate eclairs:
Vanilla pastry cream - or Crème pâtissière - is pretty much the standard cream filling when it comes to these pastries.
That’s not to say you can’t have fun with it!
My base Pastry Cream recipe can be done as vanilla - using vanilla bean, vanilla extract, or vanilla paste - but there are more options, too!
It can be flavored with anything from coffee or flavor oil, to liqueurs - all the details are in that post.
Alternatively, you can also try my Chocolate Pastry Cream - both recipes are super easy to make.
Looking for an even easier custard option?
Make up a box or two of pudding mix - it’s all good!
Whipped Cream or Ganache
If you’re going to use a whipped cream filling, I recommend going with a Stabilized Whipped Cream - it won’t break, melt, or “weep” after filling your pastries.
Rich, and SO good!
Looking for a filling that’s both creamy AND fruity? Any of my traditional mousse recipes can be used as a filling in this recipe:
How to Make Chocolate Eclairs
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is a walk through with step by step photos and additional information.
Make the Eclair Dough (Choux Dough)
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking sheet.
It’s very important to NOT use a greased baking sheet - it will cause the pastries to flatten!
Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan, heat to a slow boil over high or medium-high heat.
Reduce burner to medium heat or medium-low heat, return saucepan to stove top.
Cook for another minute or so - stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula - until the dough comes together, leaving the sides of the pan.
Note: You may notice a bit of a film on the sides and bottom of the pan, this is normal!
Alternatively, you can use a large bowl and a hand mixer.
Meanwhile, beat together eggs and egg whites in a small bowl.
With the mixer set to medium speed, add egg mixture to dough a little at a time, allowing eggs to fully incorporate into the dough before adding more.
It may look like a separating mess, but I promise it will come together!
It’ll be soft and a bit sticky, but more or less be able to hold its shape.
Pipe and Bake the Eclair Shells
Spoon the choux dough into a Large Pastry Bag fitted with a large round tip - or French star tip
Pipe out logs of dough onto the lined baking sheet. You want them to be about 1 ½" x 5-6", leaving 2" between logs.
Use a moistened index finger to pat down any peaks of dough that may form as you finish piping each.
Once the bake time is finished, crack the oven door open a few inches, turn the heat off, and allow the golden brown pastries to cool in the oven for at least 30 minutes.
This step allows the insides to dry out, providing a stronger structure to prevent collapse.
Once cooled to room temperature, you can proceed with assembling your chocolate eclairs, or store the pastry shells in an airtight container until you’re ready to fill them.
Chocolate Glaze and Assembly
Finely chop chocolate, place into a medium bowl, and put aside.
In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream to a boil, remove from heat. Pour hot cream into the bowl of chocolate. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
Starting in the middle of the bowl, slowly start stirring the chocolate and cream until all of the chocolate is melted and the cream has disappeared into it – it should be smooth.
Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, fully incorporating everything.
Note: Glaze can be made a day or two in advance and kept - covered - in the refrigerator - just warm in the microwave for 20-30 seconds when ready to use.
As shown: Use a sharp knife to cut each pastry shell cut in half horizontally, and fill with your choice of pastry cream, pudding, or mousse.
Once filled, dip the top of each pastry in chocolate glaze, chill until set.
Best when served the same day as being made.
More Fancy Recipes
Planning for a special dinner, whether Valentine’s Day, a special date, or a fancy dinner party? Here are a few recipes to consider!
Balsamic Mushroom Baked Brie
Chocolate Dessert Ravioli
Clementine Mousse with ChampagneFancy Tea Sandwiches
How to Make Cream Puffs and Croquembouche
Mushroom Brie Turnovers
Mushroom & Goat Cheese Braid with Balsamic Glaze
Pepper Crusted Tuna with Wasabi Cream Sauce
Phyllo Crab Triangles
Savoury Tomato Shortcake
Shrimp & Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
Traditional Raspberry Mousse
White Chocolate Almond Amaretto Truffles
Wild Rice Stuffed Chicken Breast with Dijon Chive Cream Sauce
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- 1 cup Water
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Flour
- 3 Large eggs
- 2 Large Egg whites
Assembly & Glaze
- 4 oz Semi sweet chocolate
- ½ cup Heavy cream
- Filling of choice Whipped cream, pastry cream, pudding, etc - see post.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking sheet. It’s very important to not grease the pan - it will cause the pastries to flatten!
- Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan, heat to a boil over high or medium high heat.
- Remove from heat, add flour, stirring until well incorporated.
- Reduce heat to medium, return saucepan to stove top. Cook for another minute or so - stirring constantly - until the dough comes together, leaving the sides of the pan.
- Transfer dough to the bowl of your mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the dough for a minute or so to allow it to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, beat together eggs and egg whites in a small bowl.
- With the mixer set to medium, add egg mixture to dough a little at a time, allowing eggs to fully incorporate into the dough before adding more.It may look like a separating mess, but I promise it will come together!
- When all of the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and shiny, it’s ready to pipe!It’ll be soft and a bit sticky, but more or less be able to hold its shape.
- Using a pastry bag with a large round or star tip, pipe out logs that are about 1 ½" x 5-6" leaving 2" between logs.
- Use a moistened finger to pat down any peaks of dough that may form as you finish piping each.
- Bake for 12 minutes, then -WITHOUT opening the oven door - turn the temperature down to 350°F (180°C) and bake for another 35 minutes.
- Crack the oven door open a few inches, turn the heat off, and allow the puffs to cool in the oven for 30 minutes.
- This step allows the insides to dry out, providing a stronger structure to prevent collapse.
Assembly & Glaze
- Finely chop chocolate, place into a glass mixing bowl, and put aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream to a boil, remove from heat. Pour hot cream into the bowl of chocolate. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Starting in the middle of the bowl, slowly start stirring the chocolate and cream until all of the chocolate is melted and the cream has disappeared into it – it should be smooth.(Glaze can be made a day or two in advance and kept - covered - in the refrigerator - just warm in the microwave for 20-30 seconds when ready to use.)
- Cut each pastry shell in half horizontally, and fill with your choice of pastry cream, pudding, or mousse. Dip the tops in chocolate glaze, chill.