Chocolate Eclairs are made by filling a crisp, buttery eclair shell with a light, creamy vanilla pastry cream and glazing it with a rich, chocolate icing.
Eclairs are one of my family’s favorite desserts. It’s a perfect combination. A crisp exterior surrounds a smooth, creamy, light as air custard and topped with a rich chocolate glaze – it’s heaven on a plate.
I bought an Accent Decorator from Pampered Chef recently and was anxious to try it out. So when I offered to make dessert for an upcoming get together, of course I decided to bring chocolate eclairs. The decorator makes filling eclairs a breeze, but you can use a pastry bag as well.
We love the eclairs at Schmidts, a local pastry shop, because their custard is a mix of vanilla pudding and whipped cream. So for my eclair filling I made my favorite homemade vanilla pudding and mixed it with whipped cream.
Usually I use the Betty Crocker recipe for the choux pastry, but this time I tried a recipe from the Food Network and I liked it even better. Instead of mixing the eggs into the dough in the saucepan, you put the dough into a mixing bowl before adding the eggs, which stops the cooking process and you don’t have to worry about working so quickly.
Making eclairs at home can be a bit time consuming, but it isn’t difficult. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s well worth the effort!
Update: June 22 is National Chocolate Eclair Day, so I thought it was time to update this post with some nice new pictures.
I remade the recipe as it was originally written. My upcoming cookbook, Dream Puffs, is all about cream puffs, eclairs and profiteroles. The Chocolate Eclair recipe in the cookbook is an improved version of this chocolate eclair recipe. I like the icing in the cookbook recipe best, so I’ve updated the recipe with the Fudgy Chocolate Glaze recipe and moved the Shiny Chocolate Glaze recipe to the notes section.
Simply Sweet Dream Puffs: Shockingly Easy Fun-Filled Treats! is available for pre-order on Amazon!
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup water
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, plus 1 extra, if needed
Fudgy Chocolate Glaze
- 8 oz. finely chopped milk chocolate
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- In a saucepan combine the sugar, flour and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture starts to boil. Cook for 2 minutes more.
- Remove from burner. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the hot mixture in the saucepan. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Transfer pudding mixture to a medium bowl. Cover with plastic; refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour or overnight.
- When vanilla pudding is chilled, whip cream to form soft peaks and gentle fold in to vanilla pudding. Keep covered and chilled until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove saucepan from heat. Add flour all at once. Stir until all the flour is moistened, about 1 minute. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, for another 1 to 2 minutes until dough forms a smooth ball.
- Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add 3 eggs, 1 egg at a time. Stop mixing after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining 1 egg and mix until incorporated.
- Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe fat lengths of dough (about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog) onto the lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between them. You should have 8 to 10 lengths.
- Use your fingers to smooth out any bumps of points of dough that remain on the surface. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375° and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet.
- Fit a medium-size plain pastry tip over your index finger and use it to make a hole in the end of each eclair (or just use your fingertip). Using a pastry bag fitted with a medium-size plain tip, gently pipe the custard into the eclairs, using only just enough to fill the inside (don't overfill them.)
Fudgy Chocolate Icing
- Place 8 oz. finely chopped milk chocolate in a small glass bowl; set aside.
- Microwave 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 Tbsp. butter, and 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup in a small microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 45 seconds or just until it starts to boil. Stir until butter is melted.
- Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate; let stand 3 minutes.
- Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 15 more seconds, if necessary.
- Chill 30 minutes or until the icing is thick and spreadable, stirring occasionally.
Shiny Chocolate Glaze (optional topping)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 teaspoons water
- Place the chocolate chips, margarine, and corn syrup in small saucepan over low heat and stir until the chocolate and margarine melt, 2 minutes. Add the water, a teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is of a pouring consistency.
- Dip the tops of the eclairs in the warm chocolate glaze (or spread on if that's easier) and set on a sheet pan. Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.
glaze slightly adapted from Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor