Monday, August 13, 2012

Eclairs with Chocolate Frosting

So the other day I watched this documentary called Kings of Pastry about these super elite French pastry chefs made me want to bake French stuff.

Plus Jim challenged me to make some forever ago...they just always seemed so difficult.  And while it was a learning process, they shouldn't be very time consuming/labor intensive.  At least not for how impressed people will be with you.

As with many of Jim's baking challenges for me...this one tested my patience.  I dropped a couple eggs on the ground and had to try to fend Cricket off with my feet while tending to my time-sensitive dough production.

There were other mishaps...but if the end result is bakery-esque eclairs (or fancy donuts as I like to call them) then who cares?  Challenge--completed.

Eclairs with Chocolate Frosting
(adapted from allrecipes)



1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs


1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (I think the box I used was 3.4/3.7oz)
2 cups cold milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract


2 (1oz) squares semisweet chocolate
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp hot water


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt.  Set aside.  

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water over medium heat until butter is completely melted.  Increase heat to medium-high until water begins to boil.  IMMEDIATELY add flour mixture to saucepan, stirring rapidly until dough begins to form and pull away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from heat.

Allow dough to cool for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally to release heat.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Once all eggs have been added and the dough is thoroughly combined, spoon \dough into a pastry bag.  Either use a No.10 or larger tip...or on my pastry bag I just used no tip at all.  

Preheat oven to 450.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, pipe about a 4 inch strip of dough, cutting it off at the end with a butter knife to stop the flow from the pastry bag.  This video helped me a lot when I was trying to figure out how to pipe them.  I ended up with about 12 eclairs.

Place an oven-safe dish with 1 cup water in it on the bottom rack of the oven.  Place the other rack in the center of the oven, and center the eclairs there.  Bake for 15 minutes at 450, remove from oven, reduce heat to 325.  Pierce each eclair (I used a metal skewer which worked perfectly) to allow the heat to reach the inside of the pastry.  Return to the oven for 20 more minutes or until the eclair sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.  Allow eclairs to cool on wire racks.

Prepare vanilla pudding with 2 cups milk in a medium bowl according to directions.  Set aside.

With a hand mixer, whisk the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Beat in 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.  Fold the whipped cream mixture into the pudding mixture gently.

Using a piping tip and a pastry bag, spoon some filling int the pastry bag.  Pierce either end of the cooled eclair with the piping tip and fill with cream.  Repeat on the opposite side.  I prefer less cream, but some people prefer more. I had quite a bit of filling left over.

For the icing, melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl, 15 seconds at a time, removing after each 15 seconds and stirring until both are melted and combined.  This can also be done in a double boiler.  Stir in 1 cup powdered sugar until thoroughly mixed.  Add 1 Tbsp hot water, and another if necessary until desired consistency is reached.  You can either dip the eclairs in the chocolate or ice them using a rubber spatula.  Enjoy!

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