My hubby and I are visiting with his family in Alberta, and my hubby has been trying to get in as many cuddles as he can with the cat Napoleon. Because we spent Christmas with his family this year, my hubby and I celebrated our Christmas early on the 22nd. We spent Christmas Eve doing some prep for Christmas like making batches of gnocchi to be frozen, buns for our meatball sliders etc. We spent the evening relaxing and eating meatball sliders as we watched my new favourite Christmas movie Arthur Christmas. My hubby and I opened our gifts for each other the next morning and had a delicious waffle breakfast. We spend time tidying and packing for our trip the next day. We finished off the day eating gnocchi, making and stuffing our faces with eclairs and facetiming with my mom. I was really excited to make these eclairs. I had been inspired by Laura Vitale’s video which made it look so easy. I also got to use my new piping bags and decorating tips which I got as a gift from my mom. This recipe is surprisingly easy. It does take time and forethought, but once you’ve done the recipe once and are more familiar with it, it will come together much quicker the more you do it. I used Laura Vitale’s recipe and watched her video both of which you can find here.
I am posting this recipe before the “D” recipe for the AtoZ challenge because that recipe will be posted next month as it is apart of the upcoming Cookbook Reviews! Any guesses about what it could be?
My hubby and I ate about 4 of these eclairs, but we had to freeze a bunch, so I’m looking forward to the eclair love being spread throughout the year… or at least January!
Some tips from what I learnt the first time making these:
- make filling ahead of time to allow it to cool and thicken in the fridge
- the filling is really thick when it first comes out of the fridge, I stirred it together for a bit so it got a bit thinner so it could be put into a piping bag, I would then recommend allowing your filling to sit at room temperature as your pastries cool or once they are first put into the oven.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 4 room temperature eggs
- 2 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (I ended up using 2 tsp of vanilla because I didn’t buy vanilla paste just for this recipe)
- small pinch of fine salt
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, warmed
- To make cream: Add all of the ingredients into a pot and whisk together, especially make sure the cornstarch isn’t just glued to the bottom of the pot. Bring your pot to the oven and put it over medium heat and stir consistently until the filling thickens. I believe it is ready when it coats the back of a spoon.
- Pour the filling through a fine sieve over a bowl, this will catch any lumps or possibly egg that got cooked. Cover the filling with plastic wrap, make sure the wrap touches the top of the filling so that a skin doesn’t build on top of it. Place in the fridge to allow it to thicken and follow the tips above for when to take it out to fill your eclairs.
- To make dough: Preheat oven to 425
- Melt water, butter and salt in a pot over medium heat and allow it to boil. Once boiled take it off the heat and add the cup of flour. Mix thoroughly and return to the heat for about 2 minutes to cook the flour flavour out of it like you would when making a roux.
- After the 2 minutes take off the heat and add one egg at a time, ensuring that the egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one.
- Put dough into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe the eclairs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to leave space between each eclair. I recommend watching Laura Vitale’s video to see her technique in how she piped the eclairs to get the proper shape. I had trouble with this step and ended up having eclairs that looked a bit like beaver tails.
- Brush the tops of the eclairs with water. Bake the eclairs at 425 for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 for 20-25 minutes. When they are finished they will be a beautiful light golden brown.
- Immediately transfer eclairs to cooling rack and make a small hole using a smaller round tip to allow the steam to escape from the eclairs and prevent them from getting soggy.
- Allow them to cool completely before adding the filling.
- While the eclairs are cooling take the filling out of the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature.
- Also, while the eclairs are cooling, heat cream in a small pan on the stove or in the microwave in 3o second increments. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate chips in a bowl and allow to stand for a minute. After a minute has elapsed stir the mixture until it becomes a thick, delicious chocolate sauce.
- Add the filling: Put filling in piping bag with smaller round tip. You can either cut your eclairs in half and pipe the filling in the middle and make a sort of eclair sandwich or you can pipe the filling through the small hole you made earlier.
- Cover with chocolate sauce: Either spread/pour onto eclairs using a spoon or dip the top of the eclair in the bowl to cover it in the delicious chocolate.
- Wait for the chocolate to set before serving… unless you don’t mind getting messy…