Chocolate Eclairs – Light and airy pastry filled with a vanilla cream, and then topped with a chocolate icing. Sure to impress, but way easier than you think to make!
I am a chocolate dessert lover at heart and always will be. So although I adore Cream Puffs, I am a huge fan of these eclairs, because they are dipped in chocolate! There is just something about that sweet chocolate that gets me every time.
My husband isn’t a chocolate fan. Creme Brulee is his all time favorite dessert. But this eclair recipe is one we can definitely agree on!
What is an Eclair?
An eclair is an oblong shaped pastry that is made from the same choux dough that cream puffs are made from. It is then filled with a vanilla cream and topped with chocolate icing. A traditional cream puff is filled with whipped cream, while eclairs are filled with more of a pudding or pastry cream.
This eclair recipe uses a little help from the store to make the filling. A box of pudding mix just speeds things up and makes it easier!
How to Make Eclairs
- First we start with the choux pastry dough. It starts with melting butter and water together in a pan. You do not want to boil or get to hot, just heat gently until melted.
- Add in the flour and use a wooden spoon to mix very well. The dough will become smooth and pull away from the sides of the pan. This takes at least a full minute.
- Next you add in the eggs all at once, and stir until the dough is smooth and almost like a thick cake batter.
- To pipe the elairs on a baking sheet you will want to put the dough in a zip top plastic bag. If you have a large pipping tip you can use it here, or just snip off the end of the bag so you can squeeze out the dough.
- You will pipe 4 inch little logs of dough, and get about 16 of them from a batch of dough. Make sure they are at least 3 inches apart on the baking sheet so air can circulate and they can bake up nicely.
- If there are any bumps or tips on your dough from piping, you can use your damp fingers to smooth them out.
- Bake for about 35-40 minutes until they are puffed up and golden brown. You want to let them cool completely before filling.
Eclairs are usually filled with a vanilla pudding. You could make one from scratch if you wanted, but I go easy with a box mix. It is ready in just minutes, no heating or cooking required.
How Do You Fill Eclairs?
There are also 2 different methods you could use to fill them. The pastry is airy and filled with tons of holes on the inside. So you could fill a piping bag with the filling, and just stick a tip in the side to squeeze in the filling.
Or you could slice the eclairs length wise, and spoon in the filling. It is all about how you want it to look, because both are easy and effective.
Can Eclairs Be Made Ahead?
You can make them ahead of time, but you do not actually want to fill them until the day you are going to serve them. You can make the shells up to 3 days ahead of time and store in an air tight container. You can make the pastry cream the day before and store covered in the fridge. The day off you can assemble and then just dip in the chocolate.
How Long Do Eclairs Last?
Once filled eclairs are best served the day of. They will last a day or two in the fridge, but they will start to get a little soggy and not as fresh.
Do You Put Eclairs in the Fridge?
Yes, you will want to refrigerate eclairs. Cover them with foil or plastic wrap to keep them from drying out and store them in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Topping the eclairs with melted chocolate is just the icing on the cake. So good, they are super impressive, but are not really that difficult to make. So set aside any fears you have, and get to work. Trust me, you will love the end result!
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- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 packaged instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 1/2 cups cold milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp butter
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small saucepan bring water and butter to a boil. Stir in the flour, reducing heat to low. Stir vigorously, over low heat for 1 minute, or until the dough forms a ball. Remove from heat.
- Beat in all of the eggs at once. Continue beating until smooth.
- Fill a piping bag, or a large zip top bag with the pastry batter. Cut off the end, and pipe batter into 4 inch long logs on the baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart.
- With damp fingers, you can smooth out any bumps from the piping.
- Bake for 35-40 minute, until puffed and golden. Cool completely.
- To prepare the filling - In a large bowl, whisk pudding mix and milk together for 2 minutes.
- In bowl of an electric mixer, using whisk attachment, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks. Mix in sugar and vanilla. Fold whipped cream and pudding together.
- Once pastry is completely cool you can fill them with the filling. Fill a piping bag, fitted with a medium sized plain tip with the filling. Poke a hole in the end of the eclair, and pipe in the filling.
- Once all the eclairs are full prepare the chocolate icing.
- Heat cream to a simmer, but not boiling. Stir in chocolate chips and butter until completely smooth.
- Dip the top of each eclair (or spread the icing over the top) into the chocolate. Set on a baking sheet to let harden.
- Best stored in the fridge, and served chilled.
Amount Per ServingCalories 253Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 88mgSodium 183mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 12gProtein 5g