Eclair Recipe

Pâte à choux may sound intimidating, but a classic French eclair is surprisingly easy to make at home! Made with just 5 ingredients, this basic recipe is the perfect next step in choux pastry. Fill the pastry shells with a smooth and rich pastry cream, balanced with a simple chocolate glaze for an impressive dessert.
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Serves: 18 eclairs

This eclair recipe is a simple classic French dessert that balances sweet, rich, soft, and crunchy all in one gorgeous bite! They are slightly crisp on the exterior, coated in shiny dark chocolate, and filled with sweet, rich pastry cream. The dark chocolate glaze gives an elegant shine and balanced flavor. 

The foundation of the perfect chocolate eclair is a light and airy classic French dough. Pâte à choux is a basic recipe that is the base for many delicious French pastries: cream puffs, savory gougères, churros, cruller donuts, beignets, gnocchi, profiteroles, and more. Homemade eclairs are the best because you get to enjoy them immediately while they’re still crisp, you will never buy one from the store again! 

 

Eclair Ingredients

Eclair ingredientsButter: European butter will result in better pastries and flavor because it has a higher fat content (83%) than American butters. More fat, less water equals more flavor and better baking results. Regular grocery stores usually carry one brand or another of European butter, even some of your more common American brands will have a line of butter that has a higher fat content, those are usually labeled “European style”, just check the back of the package for the fat percentage. In this recipe Chef Christophe prefers to use Plugra brand European butter.

Vanilla Bean: Scraping a fresh vanilla bean will give your pastry cream a fragrant strong authentic vanilla flavor, plus the small seeds add a gorgeous look to the smooth pastry cream. If you don’t have a bean, that is okay, and vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste will work as well.

Chocolate: The high-quality chocolate and dark (64%) flavor contribute to the shiny finish of the dessert and the balance of flavor. The slight bitterness of the chocolate goes well in contrast to the sweet pastry cream filling.

Salt: Even the smallest pinch of salt can set your pastry apart from the rest. It enhances all flavors and highlights the sweetness of a pastry. 

Eggs: Use large, fresh eggs. Eggs are the backbone of this dough, without them, they won’t “puff”. 

How to Make Eclairs

You first want to make and chill the pastry cream, then make the eclair shells and let them cool. The shells cool fairly quickly and then you can begin filling the eclairs with pastry cream. The chocolate ganache glaze comes together easily and it does need to still be slightly warm for dipping consistency, so it works best to have the eclairs filled and ready to glaze as soon as the glaze is finished.

Making the Pâte a Choux

  1. Preheat the oven to 360°F and prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper or a “silpain” baking mat.
  2. Add the milk, water, salt, sugar, and butter to a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. It is important to make sure that the butter is melting at the same rate the milk is heating so that the milk doesn’t boil before the butter is melted. Slowly moving it around with a wooden spoon helps distribute the heat evenly. hand adding milk to a saucepan.
  3. Once the mixture has come to a boil, turn off the heat and sift in the flour.hands adding flour to saucepan.
  4. Begin stirring immediately with a wooden spoon, and continue to stir for 1 minute until the flour is fully incorporated, it will look a lot like mashed potatoes. stirring choux mixture in saucepan with a wooden spoon.
  5. Turn the heat back on medium-high and continue to stir and keep it moving to dry out the dough.spoon stirring cooking choux mixture in a saucepan.
  6. Once you see a browning layer on the bottom of your saucepan, the dough is dry enough and you can remove it from the heat.  This is important, as it will help your eclairs “puff” and ensure that they have a hollow center for the cream filling.showing the browning layer on the bottom of the saucepan.
  7. Put the dough immediately into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and begin to mix to cool it down, this should take about 30 seconds. When you can place your hand on the side of the bowl without it feeling too hot, it’s done.spooning the cooked choux mixture into a stand mixer bowl.
  8. Add the eggs one at a time, letting each egg incorporate fully before the next. The dough should be fully combined with no spots of dry flour, and stiff enough to hold its shape but pull to a soft peak when picking up the spoon. hand pouring eggs into stand mixer bowl.
  9. Prepare a piping bag with a large star or large round tip. Fill the piping bag with the dough. I prefer a star tip for pretty lines on top of my eclairs.piping bags with round and star tips.
  10. Pipe the pâte à choux in equal-length tubes, onto a lined baking sheet, about 3-4” long, and 2” apart. Pro-Tip: Use a cake smoother or a ruler to pipe your eclairs uniformly.piping the choux dough into uniform lengths on a silpain mat.
  11. Gently smooth the top of the eclair with a damp fingertip.
  12. Bake the eclair shells at 360°F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. baked eclair shells on a sheet pan.
  13. Cool the eclair shells completely on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.

Making the Vanilla Pastry Cream

  1. Place your milk, scraped vanilla bean seeds, vanilla bean pod, and half of your sugar in a medium-sized pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil.hand pouring sugar into saucepan with milk.saucepan with milk, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla bean pod.
  2. Add your egg yolks, the other half of the sugar, and the cornstarch to a separate large bowl.hand mixing cornstarch into eggs in a bowl.
  3. Whisk your yolk mixture together to form a ribbon texture.egg, sugar and cornstarch mixture whisked to ribbon texture.
  4. Once your milk mixture comes to a boil, pour half of the mixture into the yolk mixture and whisk together. This is called tempering your yolks. pouring half the milk mixture into the egg mixture.
  5. Pour the rest of the milk mixture into the egg yolks and whisk together. 
  6. Pour the entire mixture back into the pot through a strainer to remove the vanilla fibers, and boil everything for about 1 minute, whisking constantly.hands pouring the mixture back into the saucepan through a sieve. whisking the strained pastry cream mixture over heat for an additional minute.
  7. Pour your pastry cream into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap touching the cream to avoid forming a skin. Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before using it to let everything set up.pouring the cooked pastry cream into a bowl to cool.

Making the Chocolate Ganache Glaze

  1. Heat the glucose in the microwave for about 15 seconds until it is very liquid.
  2. Add the glucose and cream to a small saucepan over the stove, stir with a spatula and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.adding cream to a saucepan.
  3. Fill a large measuring cup with the chocolate and pour the cream mixture over the top in 2 portions, mixing after each. pouring warmed cream over chocolate in a bowl. pouring second portion of cream over chocolate mixture.
  4. Blend the chocolate glaze with a whisk, if it is separated or “broken” you can use an immersion blender to bring it back together. 
  5. At a temperature of around 100°F or 38°C the chocolate glaze is ready to go. checking the temperature of the chocolate mixture.

Filling and Glazing the Eclairs

  1. Fill a pastry bag with the prepared pastry cream. Christophe used a special tip designed to fill pastries, but any piping tip with a narrow round tip will work. hand showing filling piping tip.
  2. Poke a hole in each end of the eclair shell and insert the piping tip, fill slowly on each side until the pastry cream begins to push back out the hole. This ensures the shell is full. If you are using a regular piping tip you can poke small holes in the bottom of the pastry shell and fill it from there.hands using piping tip to poke a hole in the eclair shells. hand showing holes poked in eclair shells for filling. hand filling eclair shell with pastry cream.
  3. Check the temperature of the ganache. At around 100°F or 38°C it is a good consistency to coat the top of the eclair without being too thick or too thin and running off the eclair. 
  4. Carefully dip the top of the filled eclair evenly in the chocolate, about to the middle of the eclair, set aside on a pan for the glaze to set while you dip the rest of your eclairs.hand dipping eclair into chocolate ganache. hand with freshly dipped eclair. finished eclairs.

Storing the Eclairs

Eclairs are meant to be eaten the same day as they are made. The moisture of the filling will cause the choux to soften and lose its crunch. So the sooner you can serve the eclairs, the better. If you have leftover filled eclairs, store them in an airtight container in the fridge, they will be soft, but still delicious. 

If you need to store the baked eclair shells, once they have fully cooled, wrap them well in plastic wrap and store at room temperature, unfilled. They can also be frozen if you do not plan to use them in the next day or so. If your eclair shells have softened they can be crisped up in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes. 

Another option if you don’t plan to serve your eclairs the same day is to pipe and freeze the pate a choux dough to be baked and filled as needed. Just place them on a baking sheet and let them thaw slightly and bake as directed.

Tips for Baking From Scratch

*This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click on them I might get a few pennies.

I suggest purchasing a kitchen scale if you don’t already have one to make the best scratch recipes. One cup of flour can vary from scoop to scoop depending on how packed the flour is, its humidity, and the type of flour, which can ruin your recipe. All of Chef Christophe’s recipes are measured in grams, and a scale is necessary.

Practice Mise en Place (everything in its place) which means you measure everything before you start mixing so you don’t accidentally forget something or add any ingredients out of order. I use a set of medium and small pyrex glass bowls I got from goodwill for this and it makes things SO much easier.

FAQ

What is the difference between an eclair and a cream puff?

Eclairs and cream puffs are both made from the same choux pastry dough, but the difference is the shape and the filling. Eclairs have a long, rectangular shape and are filled with pastry cream and topped with a chocolate glaze. Cream puffs are round and can be filled on the inside or sliced in half and filled

Do you have to refrigerate eclairs?

After filling the eclairs, they must be refrigerated and can last up to 2-3 days in an airtight container. If you’re baking the shells ahead of time, they do not need to be refrigerated until filling.

Can I make eclairs ahead of time?

Yes, you can bake your eclair shells ahead a few different ways. Pipe your dough onto a baking sheet and freeze it, then let them thaw out and bake whenever you’re ready to fill and serve them. Or you can bake your eclair shells and freeze them, then refresh them in the oven by baking at 350°F for 5 minutes until they’re crisp again. Whatever you do, don’t fill them and keep them in the fridge or freezer for too long because that will make your eclairs soggy.

What is pâte à choux?

Pâte à choux (also known as Choux dough) is a delicate French pastry dough used for cream puffs, eclairs, savory gougères, churros, cruller donuts, beignets, gnocchi, profiteroles, and more. Choux dough is a cross between dough and batter and is a staple in pastry.

Why do I need to use a wooden spoon? 

Using a wooden spoon for choux is recommended because it provides a strong handle to move the stiff dough around the pot. Using a silicone spatula may be too flexible and won’t mix and dry the dough as efficiently. Also, this is what French chefs recommend and I am not going to argue with a French chef. 

Why are my eclairs soggy? 

If they did not bake long enough they can become soft as they cool because not enough moisture was baked out of them. Also, if the dough was not dried properly it will remain soft when baked. If you fill them too far in advance the shell will become soft from the moisture in the filling. 

What else can I fill eclairs with?

In this recipe, we fill the eclairs with pastry cream, you could flavor your pastry cream with caramel, chocolate, or lemon. You can fill eclairs with many different things, a simple vanilla whipped cream, bavarian cream, chocolate mousse, or almond filling.

Pastry Cream

Chocolate Mousse

Cream Puffs

Profiteroles

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!

Eclair Recipe

Pâte à choux may sound intimidating, but a classic French eclair is surprisingly easy to make at home! Made with just 5 ingredients, this basic recipe is the perfect next step in choux pastry. Fill the pastry shells with a smooth and rich pastry cream, balanced with a simple chocolate glaze for an impressive dessert.
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Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Cooling Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Serves: 18 eclairs
Calories: 339kcal

Ingredients

Pâte a Choux

  • 160 grams milk
  • 160 grams water
  • 4 grams salt
  • 6 grams granulated sugar
  • 140 grams unsalted butter European (like Plugra)
  • 180 grams all purpose flour
  • 200 grams eggs

Pastry Cream

  • 750 grams milk
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 300 grams egg yolk
  • 120 grams granulated sugar
  • 60 grams cornstarch

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

  • 200 grams heavy cream
  • 180 grams dark chocolate 64%
  • 40 grams glucose

Equipment

  • 1 Stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • 1 Piping Bag
  • 1 Round piping tip or star tip

Instructions

Making the Pâte a Choux

  • Preheat the oven to 360°F and prepare two sheet pan with parchment paper or a "silpain" baking mat.
  • Add the milk, water, salt, sugar, and butter to a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. It is important to make sure that the butter is melting at the same rate the milk is heating so that the milk doesn't boil before the butter is melted. Slowly moving it around with a wooden spoon helps distribute the heat evenly. 
  • Once the mixture has come to a boil, turn off the heat and sift in the flour.
  • Begin stirring immediately with a wooden spoon, and continue to stir for 1 minute until the flour is fully incorporated, it will look a lot like mashed potatoes. Turn the heat back on medium-high and continue to stir and keep it moving to dry out the dough.
  • Once you see a browning layer on the bottom of your saucepan, the dough is dry enough and you can remove it from the heat.  This is important, as it will help your eclairs “puff” and ensure that they have a hollow center for the cream filling.
  • Put the dough immediately into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and begin to mix to cool it down, this should take about 30 seconds. When you can place your hand on the side of the bowl without it feeling too hot, it’s done.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, letting each egg incorporate fully before the next. The dough should be fully combined with no spots of dry flour, and stiff enough to hold its shape but pull to a soft peak when picking up the spoon. 
  • Prepare a piping bag with a large star or large round tip. Fill the piping bag with the dough. I prefer a star tip for pretty lines on top of my eclairs.
  • Pipe the pâte à choux in equal-length tubes, onto a lined baking sheet, about 3-4” long, and 2” apart. Pro-Tip: Use a cake smoother or a ruler to pipe your eclairs uniformly.
  • Gently smooth the top of the eclair with a damp fingertip.
  • Bake the eclair shells at 360°F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. 
  • Cool the eclair shells completely on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.

Making the Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • Place your milk, scraped vanilla bean seeds, vanilla bean pod, and half of your sugar in a medium-sized pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil.
  • Add your egg yolks, the other half of the sugar, and the cornstarch to a separate large bowl.
  • Whisk your yolk mixture together to form a ribbon texture.
  • Once your milk mixture comes to a boil, pour half of the mixture into the yolk mixture and whisk together. This is called tempering your yolks. 
  • Pour the rest of the milk mixture into the egg yolks and whisk together.
  • Pour the entire mixture back into the pot through a strainer to remove the vanilla fibers, and boil everything for about 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  • Pour your pastry cream into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap touching the cream to avoid forming a skin. Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before using it to let everything set up.

Making the Chocolate Ganache Glaze

  • Heat the glucose in the microwave for about 15 seconds until it is very liquid.
  • Add the glucose and cream to a small saucepan over the stove, stir with a spatula and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Fill a large measuring cup with the chocolate and pour the cream mixture over the top in 2 portions, mixing after each. 
  • Blend the chocolate glaze with a whisk, if it is separated or “broken” you can use an immersion blender to bring it back together. 
  • At a temperature of around 100°F or 38°C the chocolate glaze is ready to go. 

Filling and Glazing the Eclairs

  • Fill a pastry bag with the prepared pastry cream. Christophe used a special tip designed to fill pastries, but any piping tip with a narrow round tip will work. 
  • Poke a hole in each end of the eclair shell and insert the piping tip, fill slowly on each side until the pastry cream begins to push back out the hole. This ensures the shell is full. If you are using a regular piping tip you can poke small holes in the bottom of the pastry shell and fill it from there.
  • Check the temperature of the ganache. At around 100°F or 38°C it is a good consistency to coat the top of the eclair without being too thick or too thin and running off the eclair.
  • Carefully dip the top of the filled eclair evenly in the chocolate, about to the middle of the eclair, set aside on a pan for the glaze to set while you dip the rest of your eclairs.

Notes

  • The Pan: It’s best to not use a nonstick pan when making pate a choux. It’s easier to see when the dough has dried enough when it sticks to the bottom of the pan and is brown.
  • Using a Scale: I suggest purchasing a kitchen scale if you don’t already have one to make the best scratch recipes. One cup of flour can vary from scoop to scoop depending on how packed the flour is, its humidity, and the type of flour, which can ruin your recipe. All my cake recipes (except doctored box mixes) use a scale.
  • Practice Mise en Place: (Everything in its place) which means you measure everything before you start mixing so you don’t accidentally forget something or add any ingredients out of order. I use a set of medium and small pyrex glass bowls I got from goodwill for this and it makes things SO much easier.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Eclair | Calories: 339kcal (17%) | Carbohydrates: 28g (9%) | Protein: 8g (16%) | Fat: 22g (34%) | Saturated Fat: 12g (60%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 257mg (86%) | Sodium: 139mg (6%) | Potassium: 204mg (6%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 13g (14%) | Vitamin A: 744IU (15%) | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 108mg (11%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)
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