That’s right. Homemade. From scratch. And totally worth it! Eclairs probably are my husband’s favorite dessert. So for me it was something like: challenge accepted! And since it was my first time, I have to say it went reaaaaaally great!
Don’t they look professional? Oh, modest me
It’s a bit elaborate as a dessert, but then again it was my first time and I was extra careful and cautious, and reading 1000 times the directions, so it might have taken longer because of that. I’m sure if I make them again it will go smoother and faster, now that I know the tricks Luckily, Martha Stewart’s instructions were detailed and helpful!
Let’s start by preparing the pate a choux, which is actually a very basic recipe for eclairs, profiteroles, etc.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF). Combine the water, butter, sugar and salt, and boil until melted.
Remove from heat and add the flour. Mix constantly, put back on medium-high heat and cook until it’s not sticking on the sides anymore (always stirring!). It should look like that:
Put the batter in a new bowl and let it cool a little, stirring it with a wooden spoon. When it’s cool enough, start adding the eggs one by one. Incorporate each egg with the spoon. In the beginning it will look something like that:
But as you’re mixing it will take a nice, smooth form that will form peaks if you touch with a finger:
Cover a shallow oven tray with parchment paper (or Slipats). Fit a 1.5-2cm (0.5inch) tip to your pastry bag and spoon the mix in it. Pipe 9 X 2.5cm (3.5 X 1-inch) eclairs, leaving 5cm (2-inch) space between them. You can make thin lines on top of each one using a fork dipped in water.
If you have more than one trays, place one in the fridge until the first one is baked. Bake for the first 10min at 220ºC (425ºF). Decrease to 175ºC (350ºF) and leave for another 30min. They should get golden brown. Switch off the oven, open the door slightly and let cool for some minutes. When you can handle the eclairs with your hands without getting burned, pick them up, poke a hole at the end of each one, and place them on a wire rack to cool. You can fill them with cream immediately or later.
And you are done with that!
Now, the pastry cream!
Whisk the egg yolks, egg, and the 1 tablespoon of sugar in a bowl. Add the flour and corn flour (cornstarch) and continue whisking until smooth. In a medium pot add the milk and the rest of the sugar and stir just until the milk steams. Remove from heat. Pour half of the milk in the bowl with the egg batter and whisk. Now drop this mix back in the pot, where the remaining milk is. Place back on fire and keep it there, stirring constantly, until it boils. Switch off the fire, add the butter and vanilla, and whisk until butter melts.
Pass the cream though a sieve fitted on a bowl.
Put the bowl on an ice bath (I actually used water that I had in the freezer for some time) and whisk until cream cools off.
When it’s ready, remove from ice bath. If you are not immediately ready to fill the eclairs place a plastic film on top of the cream (touching it) and store in the fridge.
Time to fill them up! (patience, you are almost done!)
Fit your pastry bag with a filling tip. Refresh the pastry cream (if it was stored) by beating it with the mixer for some minutes. Spoon it in the pastry bag. Fill the eclairs.
And… (drums of agony): last step! The chocolate glaze! The easiest and fastest step of all. You just need to heat the heavy cream and pour it on top of the chocolate pieces in a bowl. Wait a bit and mix until the chocolate melts. And that’s all!
Pick up each eclair, dip the upper side in the chocolate, keep it upside down until it’s not dripping, turn it over, and place it on the rack until chocolate thickens.
It’s officially DONE! Delicious eclairs for special occasions or just for someone you love!
I know what you’re thinking: “no way I get into all this trouble for a dessert”. And I admit it… it felt like I used all the bowls and pots I have in my kitchen. But the sense of accomplishment was waaaaay greater than the effort!
Have a nice day!
For the pate a choux (as seen in Martha Stewart) – Makes around 13 eclairs
(I definitely suggest watching the video on how to prepare the pate a choux, which you can find in the above page)
58g unsalted butter
½ cup water
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
62g all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
For the pastry cream (as seen in Martha Stewart)
3 large egg yolks
½ egg (I beat one and use half of it)
72g granulated sugar, plus 1 tbsp
1½ tbsp corn flour
1½ tbsp flour, all-purpose
1½ cup milk
21g butter, unsalted
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate glaze (as seen in Martha Stewart)
¼ cup heavy cream
57g dark chocolate
I will not include quick instructions here, because I think it’s important to take a look at the photos. Anyway, if you have not prepared eclairs before, the quick instructions will not be useful.