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How to make eclairs – recipe for world-famous French choux pastry

How to make eclairs – recipe for world-famous French choux pastry

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Fluffy, creamy, delicate – these eclairs are addictive, that’s how delicious they are. You’ll want to eat them all at once once you’ve tasted one. Whether for a special occasion or simply for dessert during the week, eclairs will enchant everyone at the dinner table. Here I’ll show you how to make this sweet buttercream-filled dessert yourself. A detailed eclair recipe with exact quantities and step-by-step instructions can be found here at the very bottom.

What are eclairs?

Eclairs are tube-shaped filled pastries made with choux pastry that originated in France. The filling is usually vanilla, chocolate or coffee flavored buttercream. Eclairs are covered with chocolate or sugar glaze. By the way, the word “eclair” translated from French means “lightning”. There are several explanations for this name. According to one conjecture, eclairs are eaten in a flash because they are so delicious, hence the name. According to another theory, the pastry was so named because it increases very quickly when baked in the oven.

How to make eclairs

Heavenly delicious combination of three components

Light and airy choux pastry, delicately creamy buttercream and sweet glaze are combined in eclairs. The three components combine perfectly and provide a heavenly delicious taste experience. The homemade eclairs practically melt in your mouth after each bite. Just give them a try! I’m sure you won’t be able to resist the sweet temptation.

Eclairs in the Soviet Union

Eclairs were very popular in the Soviet era. Along with korzinochki, kartoshka, sochniki, puff pastry horns with Italian meringue and many popular Russian cakes, eclairs also had a permanent place in Soviet confectioneries, bakeries and canteens. Children and adults from the Soviet Union loved the dessert. What a feast for children it was when their mom came home with eclairs after work. For them, the pastry is a memory of their childhood – the taste of childhood.

Eclair recipe

Choux pastry popular all over the world

Whether in Europe or Asia – the eclairs originating from France are popular all over the world. Some countries have given their own name to the dessert, while some have kept the name “eclair”. For example, while the pastry is called palos de jacob in Argentina or love bones in Germany, which is outdated, it is traditionally called “eclair” in Russia. Regardless of the name, however, the dessert tastes uniquely delicious in every country and is common around the world for a reason.

What is eclair filling made of?

The classic eclair filling is buttercream. It consists of a cooked custard and butter. The filling can be prepared with vanilla or chocolate flavor. I had my eclairs filled with vanilla buttercream. If you want to make a chocolate cream, just substitute vanilla for some chocolate in the recipe below here. Melt the chocolate for it, add it to the hot custard right after it’s cooked, mix it until it’s homogeneous and then let it cool.

French choux pastry

How do I fill the choux pastry?

You can fill your eclairs using a piping bag with a long, thin nozzle. To do this, pour the buttercream into the piping bag, carefully insert the nozzle into the éclair and pipe the cream into the cavity of the pastry. You can insert the nozzle into the pastry either from the side, from below or from above. The holes created at the top will be hidden under the glaze later. Alternatively, you can cut each piece of pastry in half lengthwise, spread the filling on the bottom piece, and then place the top piece on top. I had half of my eclairs filled using the first method and the second half using the second method.

How to decorate the French choux pastry?

Traditionally, eclairs are topped with a chocolate or sugar glaze. For the chocolate glaze, I had melted dark chocolate with a little butter. If you want to make a sugar glaze instead, mix powdered sugar with a little lemon juice until you have a gooey white glaze. In addition to the glaze, you can decorate the pastry with chopped nuts or fresh berries. You can also color the glaze with food coloring to create colorful eclairs on the dining table.

What tools do I need to make eclairs?

To pipe the choux pastry, you will need a piping bag with an 8 mm diameter hole nozzle or a closed star nozzle. If you pipe the dough with a simple hole nozzle, you can spread it with a fork right after, so that lines are visible on the pastry. To fill the choux pastry without cutting them open, you will need a piping bag with a long, thin nozzle. If you cut the pastry in half long ago, you can use a star nozzle to pipe the filling onto the bottom half of the pastry.

Eclairs with buttercream filling

How to serve and store eclairs?

Homemade eclairs taste best fresh, the day they are made. Just refrigerate them for about 1 hour right after they’re done so the filling can set and the glaze can dry. Store the leftover pastry in the refrigerator and consume them within the first 2-3 days at the latest. If you store them longer, the choux pastry will gradually soften and become very soft instead of fluffy.

These eclairs with buttercream filling are

  • creamy,
  • fluffy,
  • tender,
  • not too sweet,
  • heavenly delicious,
  • an eye-catcher on the dining table,
  • to be made from common ingredients
  • perfect for dessert with coffee, tea or for a party,
  • classic of French cuisine,
  • a sweet favorite of the Soviet Union.

Eclair recipe with buttercream filling

You can find the exact quantities and step-by-step instructions on how to make eclairs here below in the box recipe.

The eclairs recipe is pretty easy if you pay close attention to all the details I’ve mentioned here in the tips and tricks.

For the choux pastry you need

  • butter,
  • eggs,
  • water,
  • flour
  • and a pinch of salt.

The butter should be room warm. So get it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before.

For the eclair filling you need

  • milk,
  • butter,
  • sweetened condensed milk,
  • eggs,
  • some flour
  • and vanilla.

For the chocolate glaze you will also need

  • dark chocolate
  • and butter.

For the alternative to chocolate glaze, see my notes here above.

Making eclairs: this is how it works

  1. For the batter, briefly bring butter, water and salt to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour briskly and burn off the dough until it comes off the bottom of the pan as a lump, leaving a white starch layer there. Let the dough cool to lukewarm and stir in as many eggs, one at a time, until it is shiny and clings to the wooden spoon in peaks.
  2. Pour the batter into a piping bag, pipe thick strips onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 190 °C for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Let the eclairs cool down afterwards.
  3. For the eclair filling, mix eggs, sweetened condensed milk and milk in a saucepan. Add flour and stir thoroughly. Cook the mixture briefly, stirring constantly, until it reaches a custard-like consistency. Then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Whip soft butter for a few minutes, add the custard in batches and beat to a firm cream. Then stir in vanilla.
  4. Fill eclairs with the buttercream.
  5. For the chocolate glaze, melt the dark chocolate and butter together and coat the filled eclairs with it. Done!

French choux pastry recipe

How to make eclairs: with these tips and tricks you’ll succeed

This is how you make the choux pastry:

  • Milk and butter should only be brought to the boil very briefly. The butter must have already melted before boiling. Therefore, use room-warm butter and cut it into pieces before adding it to the milk.
  • Add the flour to the hot milk-butter mixture as soon as you take it off the heat and stir thoroughly.
  • It is best to stir the mixture with a wooden spoon.
  • The dough dumpling must be burned, i.e. heated in the saucepan with constant stirring and turning, until it has separated from the bottom of the saucepan as a dumpling and has left a white starch layer.
  • Eggs may be added to the choux paste once it has cooled down (to about lukewarm), otherwise there will be boiled eggs in the dough.
  • The most important thing for the choux pastry is the right consistency. For this, the amount of eggs in the recipe is always approximate. You might not need the last egg completely, or you might need a small amount of one more egg in addition. So, to achieve the right consistency from the choux pastry, proceed as follows: Don’t add the last egg directly into the batter, but mix it in a small bowl so that the egg white and yolk combine, and add this egg to the batter in small batches, stirring the batter each time with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until it has a homogeneous consistency. Once your choux pastry is shiny and hangs in peaks on a wooden cooking spoon, it’s ready and you don’t need to add any more egg.
  • Immediately pour the choux pastry into a piping bag or continue processing it after it’s done so it doesn’t dry out.
  • To pipe the tubular pastry from the choux pastry, you will need a piping bag as well as an approx. Ø 8 mm hole nozzle or a star nozzle.
  • Since the eclairs grow larger during baking, leave enough space between them on the baking sheet.
  • Do not take the choux pastry out of the oven too early, otherwise it will collapse. It is ready when it has turned a golden brown color. Do not open the oven door during baking.
  • The choux pastry is perfect when your eclairs are very light and firm on the outside after baking.

This is how you make the filling:

  • You can make your own sweetened condensed milk for the eclair filling.
  • Cook the custard in a stainless steel saucepan with a thick bottom so it doesn’t burn.
  • Stir the custard thoroughly as it cooks so that no lumps form.
  • You should stir the custard occasionally as it cools to prevent a film from forming on the surface.
  • Both the custard and butter need to be room warm when you whip them together to make the eclair filling, so they can combine well.
  • Add the custard to the butter only in small portions, a little at a time, so that the cream has a homogeneous consistency.
  • You can use vanilla sugar, vanilla powder, vanilla extract or vanilla bean scraped out as vanilla for the cream.

Video for the eclair recipe

By the way, you can find a short video for these delicious eclairs on my Youtube channel. There you can watch exactly how to make the choux pastry and fill the pastry. If you don’t want to miss any more videos from me, feel free to subscribe to my channel.

Did you make eclairs with this recipe? I’m looking forward to your results, your star rating and your comment on the recipe below, how you liked the dessert and how it turned out.

Fancy some more sweet choux pastry recipes? Try also:

Eclairs / classic eclair recipe

Eclairs / classic eclair recipe

Fluffy, creamy, delicate – these eclairs are addictive, that's how delicious they are. You'll want to snack on all of them at once once you've tasted one. Whether it's for a special occasion or simply for dessert during the week, eclairs will charm everyone at the dinner table. According to this recipe, you can make the sweet dessert with buttercream filling yourself.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 50 mins
Cooling time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine Französisch
Servings 30 small eclairs

Equipment

  • piping bag

Ingredients
  

for the dough

  • 100 g butter (room temperature)
  • 250 ml water
  • approx. 4 - 5 eggs (size L or M)
  • 150 g flour
  • 1 pinch of salt

for the filling

  • 390 g sweetened condensed milk
  • 280 ml milk
  • 250 g butter (room temperature)
  • 2 eggs
  • 40 g flour
  • vanilla

for the chocolate glaze

  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 60 g butter

Instructions
 

Preparation of the dough

  • Put softened butter, water and salt in a saucepan and boil briefly, stirring constantly. (The butter must be melted before boiling).
  • Take the saucepan off the heat, immediately add flour and mix briskly with a wooden spoon until a large dough ball has formed.
  • Put the saucepan back on the stove and heat the dough, stirring and turning it with a wooden spoon, for about 1 - 2 minutes, until the dough comes off the bottom of the saucepan as a dumpling, leaving a white layer of starch.
  • Take the saucepan off the heat, transfer the dough to a clean mixing bowl and let it cool to lukewarm.
  • Using a wooden spoon or a hand mixer, gradually stir in as many eggs to the batter one at a time until it is shiny and clings to a wooden spoon in peaks. It is best to whisk the last egg in a small bowl and add just enough of it to the dough until it has the right consistency. The batter should be creamy, definitely not runny or firm.
  • Fill the dough into a piping bag with a round hole nozzle or a star nozzle and pipe strips about 10 cm long onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Leave enough space between them. Gently pull the surface of each strip with a fork if you used a round hole nozzle.
  • Bake the eclairs in a preheated oven at 190 °C top and bottom heat for about 30 minutes until golden brown and let them cool down.

Preparation of the filling

  • Whisk eggs in a thick-bottomed saucepan, add sweetened condensed milk and milk and whisk until homogeneous.
  • Add flour and mix thoroughly until all lumps have dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and then cook, stirring, for about 2 - 3 minutes until it reaches a custard-like consistency. Take the custard off the heat and let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  • Beat softened butter for 2 - 3 minutes until creamy white, add the custard in batches and beat until firm.
  • Add vanilla and whip briefly to a homogeneous cream.

Filling the eclairs

  • Fill the eclairs with the buttercream by filling a piping bag with a thin, long nozzle, inserting the nozzle into each pastry piece and piping the cream into the cavity of the pastry. Alternatively, you can cut each pastry piece in half lengthwise, pipe the buttercream onto the bottom piece using a piping bag and a star nozzle, and place the top piece on top.

Preparation of the chocolate glaze

  • Melt the dark chocolate and butter together.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the filled eclairs with the chocolate glaze. Alternatively, dip the top of each eclair into the chocolate glaze.
  • Chill the eclairs for about 1 hour.

Notes

  • Milk with butter for the dough should be boiled only very briefly. In this case, the butter must be melted before boiling.
  • Immediately add the flour to the hot milk-butter mixture in one go and stir briskly and thoroughly.
  • Be sure to burn off the dough dumpling.
  • Add eggs to the burnt mixture, which has cooled first.
  • Add only enough eggs to the batter until it shines and hangs in peaks on a wooden wooden spoon.
  • Don't take the eclairs out of the oven too soon. They are done baking as soon as they turn a golden brown color. Do not open the oven door under any circumstances while they are baking.
  • The custard and butter for the filling should be about the same, room temperature when whipped together.
  • Note the detailed tips and tricks for making eclairs at the top of the post.
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