Chocolate Eclairs Recipe

chocolate_eclairs

I am constantly thinking of business ideas wherever I go.

Here is a freebie for anyone who wants it.

Chocolate Eclairs. That’s all.

Made to order with freshly filled custard and then dipped in deep rich chocolate ganache.

Whoever decides to run with this idea, you’re welcome.

Just send me a postcard from the beach resort where you set up your Chocolate Eclairs Shoppe.

And for the rest of us, well….let’s just make them for ourselves and our friends and family in our home kitchens!

Known as Pate a Choux or Choux Paste in the professional kitchen, we must first make the elusive eclair dough.

This is a very egg rich dough that can be tricky to master and it may take more than 1 try to get it right so don’t get discouraged!

This is one recipe in baking that goes against the basic rules of EXACT EXACT EXACT!

But when you think about it,  most “doughs” are not really exact after all.  I mean when we bake breads or buns we are adjusting the consistency of the dough with the flour isn’t that right?

Well here, we will actually be adjusting the dough with the eggs!  yep that’s right the eggs…..the eggs are the ingredient that will make or break this recipe, so pay close attention to the consistency of the dough after I’ve added the eggs because you may or may not add all of it!

I always say errors are our best teachers, so if your first try is not the best,  I guarantee you will have learned something with this recipe!

Chocolate Eclairs Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Preheat your oven to 400° F for conventional ovens
375°F for convection ovens
Note: You may use all water or all milk. You may use All Purpose Flour (or Plain Flour) if you cannot get Bread Flour, if using AP or Plain flour though, you will most likely only use 3 eggs. Bread flour has a higher protein content, which gives it the ability to absorb more liquid, so if you are not using it, you will not absorb as much liquid as necessary and you will then not be able to use as many eggs.
Author:
Serves: 40 eclairs
Ingredients
  • Water 1 cup (240ml)
  • Unsalted Butter 8 Tablespoons (112g)
  • Granulated Sugar 2 teaspoons (10g)
  • Salt ¼ teaspoon
  • Bread Flour 1 cup (130g)
  • Fresh Large Eggs 4 (200g)
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot combine the water, butter,sugar and salt.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil, and then add the flour all at once.
  3. With a wooden spoon stir vigorously to moisten the flour. The mixture will absorb as much liquid as possible almost instantly and then turn into a mass of dough that will ball up around the spoon.
  4. Continue stirring and cooking over medium-high heat and allow some of the excess moisture to evaporate out.
  5. The cooking process can take about 1- 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl (for stand mixers use the paddle attachment)
  7. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to allow some heat to escape before adding the eggs.
  8. Now add the eggs 1 at a time.
  9. Do not add another one until the dough has absorbed the previous egg completely. Your dough mass will seem to separate into what resembles soft scrambled eggs before it has absorbed all of the liquid from the egg, but it will smooth back to a paste as you continue mixing.
  10. Add each additional egg in the same manner, but be sure to watch as you get to the last 1 to determine whether the last addition is necessary.
  11. You do not want a runny, liquid dough. You are looking for a dough that when piped into eclairs it will hold its shape on the sheet pan.
  12. Transfer your dough to a pastry bag fitted with the coupler and no tip attached.
  13. Pipe shells 3" in length and the same width as the coupler opening - approximately 1″ spaced on a silicone lined sheet pan. (*if you do not have a silicone mat it's OK- I just find that since we are baking at such a high temperature the parchment paper tends to get crispy before the eclair shells are done baking)
  14. Bake at 400° F if you have a conventional oven and 375°F for convection type ovens.
  15. Approximately 35 minutes.
  16. The high temperature is necessary for your shells to PUFF up from all the steam that is created from the high moisture of the eggs and liquid in this recipe. Once they have risen, you can then turn your oven temperature down to about 350° F for conventional ovens and 325°F for convections to continue baking the rest of the way, approximately 20 minutes more.
  17. See video tutorial for how to know when they are done.
Notes
Unfilled choux paste shells can be frozen in a ziploc bag for up to 1 month or used immediately to fill with custard for chocolate eclairs
Now that you have the eclair (or cream puff) shells prepared, you can go ahead to filling them!

You simply need Vanilla Pastry Cream and some Ganache (½ recipe of each should do it!)

And if you are making the cream puffs then some whipped cream will be in order!

Have fun with it!

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  1. Hi gretchen thanks for the recipe the basil icecream. Chocolate eclair. Will be making them iam a culinary schoolthis is my sixth semester. Thank you for so many tips please keep them coming. Each time you put new on iam excite can’t. Wait to see what’s next

  2. Thanks for the recipe Gretchen….haven’t made these in FOREVER….sounds like a perfect time to make them again!!! Had forgotten how easy they are to make.

  3. I didn’t know they could be frozen; that’s very good to know! Can they be, at least somewhat, recrisped out of the freezer?

    I’ve made cream puffs/eclairs before and if I made them ahead of time, they get soft. If I make them, well, practically to order (as in slaving away for three hours before the party!) they have a nice crunch to them but, man, it’s a PITA!

    1. And holy crap but I was relieved when I learned I could do it in a mixer! Up to that point, I’d been doing the wooden spoon at the stovetop thing and, yikes. Arm pain!

  4. Have to try these as soon as possible. I LOVE eclairs! I really appreciate the bread flour tip — any recipe I’ve tried has been all-purpose flour based. Thanks Gretchen!

  5. Holy moly! It’s about time I bet I know what comes next, my all time favorite cake. Another building on recipes am I right? You go girl. Love that cake. I just made the S’mores Cake for a Church Dinner and it was the bomb. Everyone loved it keep-em coming. Your making me the Queen of baking at our church. Thanks so much for your hard work. God Bless.

      1. HAAA.!!! You fooled me but you should do that wonderful cake that goes with the Eclairs. It’s my fav. for sure and I do nee the recipe. lol

  6. Gretchen
    I haven’t tried this eclair recipe, but looks delicious and will try to make. All of your recipes and web site is wonderful and look forward to your postings.
    Thanks for helping the average home baker.

  7. I made your lemon bar recipe last week and it was AMAZING!. I was using a another recipe and I tossed that. Yours was the best. I plan on making it again. Love lemon. Thank you!

  8. Hi Gretchen:
    I like your ‘old’ Pate Choux video that shown the consistency of the dough while mixing. I found that it’s harder to judge how soft or runny the dough is when using bread flour than All Purpose flour. Nonetheless, I like the dough from bread flour (when I could make it right). Once again, thanks for sharing our recipe.

  9. Thank you Gretchen for all your videos!!! you are my go to source for pastry recipes. One question: can I use shortenning instead of butter??

  10. Hi Gretchen,
    A few years ago I made the éclairs in the summer and instead of putting the custard in them I cut it in two and filled them it with mint chocolate ice cream …put the top back on and drizzled some
    fudge topping and chopped pecans. Delicious and very refreshing in the summer time.

  11. I have a daughter with Celiac disease and several grand children with significant gluten intolerance. Do you think gluten free flour could be successfully used in your eclair recipe? If so, any suggestion as to which of the many choices might work best?

  12. Hi Gretchen I love to watch your videos thank you for sharing your recipes ,can I freez the bakin doughnut like the eclair ? I’ll try your recipe ,eclair is one of my best sweet to have thanks again God bless you

  13. gretchen, you are amazing! I have used almost all your recipes! cream puffs are my fav…..I’ve filled them with every flavor of pastry cream I could think of from basic vanilla to mocha! And your stabilized whip cream is the perfect friend to the cream puff. Hats off to you!

    1. Oh and question sorry I forgot to ask
      They can be frozen for up to a month but how long can the be stored unfilled in fridge? And how long unfilled in airtight container on counter?

  14. I am a bit confused about the baking time.. it says 35 mins, then reduce the heat of the oven and then bake 20 mins.. do I bake them 35 mins then 20 mins? Or a total of 35 mins? Thanks..

  15. I just made these yesterday!! My family loved them!! However, I had trouble with the dough.. I even used bread flour, the eggs would not incorporate with the dough. I made 2 batches and the same thing.. then finally I waited about 5 mins until the dough cooled then added the eggs one at time.. and finally!! They were a bit tricky but well worth it!!

  16. Hi Gretchen
    Many thanks for your lovely recipes.
    A question .
    Is the Choc. Eclair recipe exactly same for Cream Puffs ?
    Mighty hot here in Australia today.
    Diana

  17. Hi der
    Want to try this but never had before so dunno how d puffs r after dey r baked. R dey hard or dey r soft like sponge cake from inside n crispy outside
    U getting wat m saying..wen do i stop baking..as in how to check dat dey r done.

  18. Hey Gretchen, I printed this recipe “pre-Florida” and was intimidated because in your instructions you said “This is NOT a beginner recipe” LOL If I had known how easy and absolutely delish they would be, I would have made them months ago. Thanks for the great recipes and videos, sometimes it makes things so much easier if we can see what the end result should be, (not that that’s the result I always get)

  19. Hi Gretchen,
    Whenever I bit into a delicious elcair, I never imagined that I would be making these. I was always so intimidated by these elegant desserts, but these were so quick and easy! I would say the hardest part was waiting for the custard to cool. I was checking on it every 5 minutes! For the ganache, I ran out of chocolate so I made my own. I took a bar of unsweetened chocolate and melted it with equal parts of milk and sugar. These little cakes are so delicious! Thank you Gretchen!

  20. hi gretchen i love eclairs and cant imagine i am doing the eclairs in my bakery thank you to you for your amazing tutorials and lessons you really inspire me. i would like to request if you do the pinnacolada cake again.

  21. thank for recipe . I tried it by AP flour and 4 eggs. It was ok but the bottom of cream puffs were so thin and dry so easily broken and i could not fill it and some stick to parchement paper its bottom broken. ! !
    Does it happen when adding more eggs than needed?

  22. Hi Gretchen,
    I constantly have problem with cream puff/eclairs, I could never get the inside dry completely.
    I have been trying multiple recipes, including yours, and no matter how long I baked them (I baked them for 40 min at 200C + 1 hr at 100C and left them in the oven with no heat for another hour), the interior was always still wet. They even got burned once, and the inside was still a little bit wet.
    Is it supposed to be like that?
    I followed everything to the T, the ingredients and the instructions. I did my research too; I poked a hole on each and put them back in the oven to cool, but still.. Please let me know if there is a secret magic trick to make it completely dry. Thank you!

  23. Hi Gretchen!

    These eclairs are absolutely the bomb, but I was wondering if I could get the same or similar results by using the rice flour/ tapioca starch/potato starch and xanthan gum combination in place of the flour to make them gluten free?

    Thanks for all you do!

    -Linwood

    1. Hey thanks and you are welcome too! Im not sure about that here, 90% of my recipe DO work with a GF mix, however since we are relying on the flour to absorb alot of that liquid in the recipe which makes the eclairs crisp & hollow, Im not sure it would work with the GF mix here
      If you do try it please let me know

  24. Hi Gretchen

    Yep, you nailed it. I tried to make the eclairs gluten free (just HAD to try) and you were exactly right. Without that flour in the recipe, they never puffed up and got hollow inside. Oh well, I knew I should have just listened to you! Anyway, keep up the great work, Gretchen. Whenever I want to make something, YOU are ALWAYS the first place I look!

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