National Chocolate Eclair Day
These chocolate eclairs are extremely similar, in both the method and taste, to the Cream Puffs I made at the very beginning of this project. The exception is that everything, including the cream, in the eclairs is made from scratch. They seem a little labor intensive at first, but they really aren’t that bad, there is just a lot of wait time. The step to strain the cream through a fine mesh strainer seems a little silly, but you’d be surprised what gets left behind!
From Food & Wine
1 cup water
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/4 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cake flour
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water, 1 stick of butter, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and salt to a boil over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the all-purpose flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes, until the dough comes together and a film forms on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the dough to a large bowl and beat at medium speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1-inch round tip. Pipe ten 5-inch-long logs onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F and continue to for 30 minutes longer, or until golden brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, vanilla bean, and seeds just to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the remaining sugar with the cake flour and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the remaining egg and egg yolks. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly. Continue to boil the pastry cream, whisking constantly, until thick, about 30 seconds longer. Immediately strain the pastry cream through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until cool.
- In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Whisk the pastry cream, then fold in the whipped cream until blended.
- In a microwave safe medium bowl, melt the chocolate in a microwave oven. Whisk in the butter until smooth.
- With a serrated knife, split the shells lengthwise. Spoon a generous amount of the pastry cream into the bottom half of each shell. Dip the top half of each shell into the chocolate glaze, close the eclairs and serve.