Eclairs

Eclairs. I know what you’re thinking. Eclairs? Seriously, Holly?  Who makes Eclairs? Well…. I do. And soon, YOU will too. Just trust me, you CAN do it. AND, you’ll be glad you did. Actually, the ones you love enough to share them with, THEY’LL be glad too. I shared these with my daughter’s therapist, because I totally love them.  Now, I included the recipe for filling them with Vanilla Pastry Cream, which is quite yummy, but my personal favorite is filled with whipped cream or ice cream. Now, what are you waiting for? You’ve got Eclairs to make – for Valentine’s Day! Or…for Wednesday!

ECLAIRS
Cream Puff Pastry:
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
In a medium saucepan combine margarine or butter, water, and salt. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring until butter or margarine melts.
Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously.  Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t seperate. (It will come in pieces if you try-but should make a fairly good ball).
Here’s after adding the flour and stirring a bit, you can see it needs more stirring:
This looks pretty good here, you can see it’s pulling together nicely.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition for about 1 minute or until smooth.
Or, you can cheat and throw it in the mixer, adding an egg every minute or so. : )
*At this point, if you want just plain cream puffs instead of Eclairs, drop by heaping tablespoonfulls onto a greased baking sheet. (Makes 10). Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and golden brown.
But we’re not making cream puffs, we’re making Eclairs. So, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip, about a 1 inch opening (or you could do 1/2 inch for smaller eclairs).
Now, twist the top nice and tight, and hold with one hand.  This is where you’ll apply pressure, not in the middle. Trust me, that would be messy.  As you pipe, you’ll need to adjust occasionally, twisting more.
When you get to the end of each eclair, flip up slightly, releasing pressure BEFORE you’re at the end.

They should be about 4 inches long. (Unless you’re making smaller ones).

Pipe 12 Eclairs onto a large cookie sheet. Now, lightly wet your finger and smooth down any bumps or flips at the end.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.  Cool on a wire rack.
After cool, make the chocolate ganache icing.
GANACHE:
4 oz chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips-I use dark chocolate chips) about 1/2 cup
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 T unsalted butter
Melt the butter and cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Take off heat just before boiling, add chocolate, and cover. Let sit for a couple minutes to soften chocolate, then stir until smooth, shiny and delicious.
Carefully dip the tops of the Eclairs into the ganache, and lay out to dry. (Unless you’re doing the next step and adding the white chocolate hearts.)
And share some extra ganache with any cute cupcakes around the house.
Now, this is a little extra twist I came up with one day because I had some extra melted white chocolate lying around. You can use white chocolate, or candy melts, or almond bark, whatever, you could even use different colors if you’re feeling adventurous.
Using a small spoon, drop 3 tiny dots of the white chocolate on the still wet eclairs.
Now, take a toothpick and drag it straight thru all 3 dots.
See, isn’t that the cutest?!
Now, some people would say you should fill them BEFORE you do the icing, but I really prefer to do this step first, then add the filling later.  And sometimes we like them filled with ice cream, which is my favorite way, but if you want to do pastry cream, I’ll oblige.
VANILLA PASTRY CREAM:
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups light cream or half and half
4 slightly beaten egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream
Stir together sugar, flour, and salt in a heavy saucepan.  Slowly stir in light cream.  Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture is thick and bubbly.  Cook and stir for another minute.
Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks (this is called tempering- you’re slowly getting the eggs hot without scrambling them- Eclairs with scrambled egg pudding? Not good eats.)
Return all of it to the saucepan.  Cook and stir for 2 more minutes.    Remove from heat, add vanilla.
Put in a bowl and cover, making sure ENTIRE surface is covered with either plastic wrap or wax paper, if you don’t it’ll form a yucky skin. Again- not good eats.
Cool in fridge. Do not stir during cooling.
Now, beat whipping cream in a bowl until soft peaks form.  Fold into chilled pastry cream, chill well.
Next, cut the eclair horizontally just below the ganache. Either spoon the pastry cream in or pipe in with a pastry bag.
Eclairs

Ingredients

    Cream Puff Pastry:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • GANACHE:
  • 4 oz chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips-I use dark chocolate chips) about 1/2 cup
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • VANILLA PASTRY CREAM:
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups light cream or half and half
  • 4 slightly beaten egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

Instructions

Cream Puff Pastry:
  • In a medium saucepan combine margarine or butter, water, and salt. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring until butter or margarine melts.
  • Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn't separate. (It will come in pieces if you try-but should make a fairly good ball).
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition for about 1 minute or until smooth.
  • Or, you can cheat and throw it in the mixer, adding an egg every minute or so. : )
  • *At this point, if you want just plain cream puffs instead of Eclairs, drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. (Makes 10). Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and golden brown.
  • But we're not making cream puffs, we're making Eclairs. So, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip, about a 1 inch opening (or you could do 1/2 inch for smaller eclairs).
  • Now, twist the top nice and tight, and hold with one hand. This is where you'll apply pressure, not in the middle. Trust me, that would be messy. As you pipe, you'll need to adjust occasionally, twisting more.
  • When you get to the end of each eclair, flip up slightly, releasing pressure BEFORE you're at the end.
  • They should be about 4 inches long. (Unless you're making smaller ones).
  • Pipe 12 Eclairs onto a large cookie sheet. Now, lightly wet your finger and smooth down any bumps or flips at the end.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. Cool on a wire rack.
  • After cool, make the chocolate ganache icing.
  • GANACHE:
  • Melt the butter and cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Take off heat just before boiling, add chocolate, and cover. Let sit for a couple minutes to soften chocolate, then stir until smooth, shiny and delicious.
  • Carefully dip the tops of the Eclairs into the ganache, and lay out to dry. (Unless you're doing the next step and adding the white chocolate hearts.)
  • And share some extra ganache with any cute cupcakes around the house.
  • Using a small spoon, drop 3 tiny dots of the white chocolate on the still wet eclairs.
  • Now, take a toothpick and drag it straight thru all 3 dots.
  • Now, some people would say you should fill them BEFORE you do the icing, but I really prefer to do this step first, then add the filling later. And sometimes we like them filled with ice cream, which is my favorite way, but if you want to do pastry cream, I'll oblige.
  • VANILLA PASTRY CREAM:
  • Stir together sugar, flour, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Slowly stir in light cream. Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture is thick and bubbly. Cook and stir for another minute.
  • Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks (this is called tempering- you're slowly getting the eggs hot without scrambling them- Eclairs with scrambled egg pudding? Not good eats.)
  • Return all of it to the saucepan. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla.
  • Put in a bowl and cover, making sure ENTIRE surface is covered with either plastic wrap or wax paper, if you don't it'll form a yucky skin. Again- not good eats.
  • Cool in fridge. Do not stir during cooling.
  • Now, beat whipping cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Fold into chilled pastry cream, chill well.
  • Next, cut the eclair horizontally just below the ganache. Either spoon the pastry cream in or pipe in with a pastry bag.
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