For my second recipe from the recipe book Flour, my sister requested that I make the éclairs. This recipe was quite complicated, but it was a fun challenge. These took about four hours of work and a couple more of waiting time, but my sister’s sounds of satisfaction as she bit into the first one were worth it. The only modifications I made to this recipe were using skim milk, when whole milk was recommended, since we only have skim milk in the house, and instead of using chopped chocolate for the ganache, I used mini chocolate chips, since I figured they would melt more quickly and make the ganache simpler to make. I also did everything except whip the whipping cream by hand, since i don’t like our electric stand mixer.
adapted from Flour
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2/3 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium head and until bubbles start to form around the edge, but the milk is not boiling. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and egg yolk. In another bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt, then add to the egg mixture and stir until combined.
Remove the milk from the heat and slowly stream it into the sugar-flour-egg mixture while stirring constantly until all the milk has been incorporated. Return the whole mixture to the saucepan and stir over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture thickens and just begins to boil. Boil for no more than 10 seconds, then remove from heat.
Pour the custard through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, and stir in vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap, touching the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until chilled, a couple hours.
When you are ready to fill your eclairs, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form, then fold in the custard mixture with a spatula until combined.
Note: Make sure your bowl and beaters are completely clean and free of any oils, since these cause the whipping cream to not whip. It also helps if your bowl and beaters are chilled.
Preheat the oven to 400˚ and grease two baking sheets.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, sugar, salt, and water over medium low heat until the butter is melted, without boiling the mixture so no water evaporates. Add all the flour at once and stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined. Continue to stir until the mixture resembles biscuit dough and loses its shine, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat and transfer the dough to a heat proof bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes. Crack the 4 eggs into a separate bowl and beat together. Gradually add the eggs to the dough, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or fork, until all the eggs have been added. Continue to beat for about 20 to 30 seconds, until the dough is glossy and shiny.
Fill a plastic bag with the dough and cut a 3/4 inch slit off the corner. Pipe out strips of dough about 1 inch wide and 5 inches long on the baking sheet.
Bake at 400˚ for about 12 minutes, until the pastries inflate and start to turn light golden brown. Turn down the heat to 325˚ and bake for about 20 more minutes until completely brown. Let cool completely.
While the cream is chilling and the pastries are cooling, make the ganache by heating the chocolate chips and the whipping cream in a saucepan over low heat until smooth and glossy. Allow to cool to room temperature before using.
To assemble the eclairs, cut each pastry in half, spread cream on the bottom half, and dip the top half in the ganache. Place the top half on the cream-filled bottom half and allow to sit for 6 to 8 minutes for the chocolate to set. Enjoy!
Split open, you can see the nice air pockets.
I had some leftover honey almond glaze from the French Almond Cookie Cake, and I ran out of chocolate ganache, so I drizzled that on top! Yum!