My fiancé loves eclairs and I have always wanted to make some for him, but I was so intimidated by them. I was worried that I would royally screw up one of his favorite pastries. Needless to say, I was super anxious to make these. I mean if you ask him why he likes eclairs, he would say, “what kind of question is that? They’re amazing!”
With all the pressure I put it on myself to make these eclairs perfect, I need to distract myself somehow. I thought about the origin of eclairs and started baking.
Eclairs don’t have a truly clear history or any really at all. Most food historians credit Marie-Antoine Carême, a famous pastry chef for French royalty with the creation of the eclair. We also know that the eclair started appearing in pastry shops in France around late 19th century.
The eclair is a delicate puff pastry that is filled with decadent cream and then topped with a chocolate glaze. It gets its name from the shine you see on the glaze once it is dunked. Eclair is the French word for lightning and people believe that the shine you see is like lighting. I don’t necessarily see why it looks like lightning, but what do I know!
I know your curious how they came out, but don’t worry my fiancé, Ian, loved my eclairs so much he ate 4 at once! I’m just relieved I didn’t ruin one of his favorite pastries… and to be transparent, these were beyond simple and easy to make! Whew!
Do you love eclairs as much as my fiancé? What do you think the history is behind the eclair? For more follow me on Instagram and the hashtag #sprinklesofhistory. Also subscribe to my blog for updates on new posts and announcements!
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For the Choux Pastry
- 1 cup + 2 tsp. water
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/8 tsp salt
For the pastry cream
- 1 1/2 cup cold milk
- 3 3/4 tbsp. corn starch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream, cold
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate glaze
- 3/4 cups of chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. heavy cream
For the choux batter
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and line two sheet pans with a parchment paper.
- In a medium non-stick pot combine water with salt and bring to a boil. Add butter and bring to a boil one more time.
- Add flour and whisk quickly until no lumps remain and the batter thickens, about 1 minute.
- Remove pot from the heat and let the batter cool for 5 minute.
- Whisk in the first egg and mix with a wooden spoon until the egg is fully incorporated into the batter with no white lumps. Continue whisking in the remaining eggs, one at a time.
- Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (I use Wilton #1A, I used this one Wilton 1A Round Decorating Tip - Pack of 3 Tips),pipe fat lengths of dough (about 1 inch thick and 4 inches long) onto the lined baking sheet, leaving 1 inch of space between them.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 340 F and bake for another 15-20 minutes until eclairs are light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
For the pastry cream
- In a small bowl dissolve a cornstarch in 3-4 tablespoons of milk.
- To a small sauce pan add the remaining milk and bring to a simmer. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and stir until sugar dissolves.
- When milk starts to boil, add a dissolved cornstarch and whisk until no lumps remain. Remove from the heat and cool until just slightly warm or completely cold.
- In a large bowl beat the butter with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture turns almost white.
- Combine the whipped butter with the milk and cornstarch mixture. Mix well and set aside.
- In a stand mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the butter and milk cream.
- Using the tip of a small knife, cut 3 small Xs along the bottom of each pastry. Using a small tip (I used Wilton tip #32), pipe the pastry cream into the shells through each opening.
For the chocolate glaze
- Heat chocolate and cream in a microwave for about 1 minute and whisk until smooth.
- Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes.
- Dip the top of each eclair into the chocolate glaze and set aside to allow the glaze to harden.
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