You haven’t enjoyed an eclair until you’ve tried a fresh homemade eclair filled to the brim with pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache. Watch the video tutorial and you will master this eclairs recipe in no time.
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Learn how to make classic “choux pastry” (the same pastry used for cream puffs) and a decadent vanilla bean pastry cream that will have you licking the spoon and the bowl.
We have included Amazon affiliate links for tools used to make this recipe.
Classic Eclairs Recipe:
Eclairs are best eaten the day they are made, but I do love that they can be fully assembled a day ahead.
Tools for Making Eclairs:
- Large Piping Bag
- 1/2″ round piping tip or a 16mm open star tip
- Baking Sheet
- Silicone Liner or Parchment Paper
- Bismarck tip (or a small sharp tip like Ateco #16 or #352)
Pro Tips for Making Pastry Cream:
Pastry cream relies on corn starch and egg yolks to thicken and the end result is incredibly smooth – like a decadent vanilla pudding. Mixing the softened butter is the secret to the amazing texture – don’t skip it!
- Pastry cream can be made a day ahead which is perfect for holiday entertaining.
- You can substitute the real vanilla bean for vanilla extract (see recipe notes)
Pastry Cream will thicken as it cools and to loosen it up for piping, whisk until smooth.
What is Choux Pastry?
Choux dough is a classic pastry made with super simple ingredients (milk, water, eggs, flour, butter, sugar and salt). It is a soft dough that gets piped onto a baking sheet.
Getting the baking temperature right is the key to success. Starting the oven at 425˚F allows the pastry to rise beautifully, creating a hollow center for the filling. Choux pastry is then baked at a lower temperature to dry out the center.
Learn How to Make Eclairs:
I’m so embarrassed that (due to my occasionally shaky hands), my eclairs looked mildly inappropriate when piped. I only realized it after the fact and I couldn’t stop laughing. And for those of you who never would have noticed otherwise, I am doubly embarrassed!
Watch Natasha Make Eclairs:
More French Desserts:
- Crepe Cake – the easiest 30 layer cake
- Easy Almond Croissants – French bakery copycat
- Raspberry Macarons – filled with raspberry cream
Classic Eclair Recipe
Ingredients for Choux Pastry:
Ingredients for Pastry Cream:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
For the Chocolate Glaze:
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, *
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
How to Make Choux Pastry
- In a Medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk, 8 Tbsp butter, 1 tsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat then remove from heat and stir in 1 cup flour all at once with a wooden spoon.
- One flour is incorporated, place back over medium heat about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes stirring constantly (to release extra moisture and partially cook flour), or until dough comes together into a smooth ball and a thin film forms on bottom of pan.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl and beat using an electric hand mixer on medium speed for 1 minute to cool the mixture slightly. Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time, allowing each egg to fully incorporate between additions. Beat until dough is smooth and forms a thick ribbon when pulled up.
- Pipe eclairs over baking sheet lined with silicone using a 1/2” round tip. Pipe 18-20 (4” long and 3/4” wide) strips, keeping them 1 1/2" apart.
- Bake at 425˚F for 10 minutes. Without opening oven, reduce temp to 325˚F and, bake 30 minutes longer or until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool while making pastry cream.
How to Make Pastry Cream:
- In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups milk, vanilla bean and scraped seeds just to a boil, stirring to prevent film from forming.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup corn starch and pinch of salt. Add 4 egg yolks and whisk until smooth, creamy and lightened in color - it takes a couple of minutes but it will get there.
- Gradually (so the eggs don't curdle), while whisking constantly, add hot milk in a steady stream until all of it is incorporated. Pour mixture back into saucepan and bring to a boil while whisking constantly then whisk another 30 seconds until mixture is thick and pudding-like in consistency.
- Transfer pastry cream to a medium bowl (whisk in 2 tsp vanilla extract if using). Cut butter into pieces and quickly whisk into the custard until fully incorporated Cover with plastic directly over the surface of the cream, let it cool slightly then refrigerate 30 minutes or until cool.
- With a small pastry tip, poke 2-3 holes through the bottom of each cooled pastry. Pipe cream inside, scraping off excess. Refrigerate eclairs while making chocolate glaze.
How to Make Chocolate Glaze:
- Place 4 oz of chocolate chips into a small heat-safe bowl.
- Heat 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (in a saucepan or microwave) until it is just at a simmer then remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips. Let rest 2 minutes then whisk from the center outwards until smooth sauce forms.
- Dip the top half of filled and chilled eclairs into the chocolate sauce, allowing excess to drip off.
Nutrition Per Serving
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Now go forth and conquer homemade eclairs!