Chocolate-Frosted Éclairs

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These light, fluffy eclairs were created by famed pastry chef Joanne Chang, of Boston's Flour Bakery + Café.

Chocolate-Frosted Éclairs
Here, the classic dessert gets lightened with whipped cream for the fluffiest éclair around. Photo: © Anna Williams
Yield:
12 éclairs

A good éclair can be hard to find, but the best, like this recipe, are absolutely spectacular. Joanne Chang loves this classic dessert, especially since she lightened the typically thick pastry cream filling with whipped cream. The result is the fluffiest éclairs around. You can make each of the components in advance, but assemble them at the last minute.

Ingredients

Choux Pastry

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 4 large eggs

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1/4 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 5 tablespoons cake flour

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Glaze

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil over moderate heat. Remove pan from heat. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes, until dough comes together and a film forms on the bottom of the pan. Transfer dough to a large bowl and beat at medium speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

  2. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1-inch round tip. Pipe twelve 5-inch-long logs onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 325°F and bake shells for 30 minutes longer, until golden brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

  3. In a medium saucepan, bring milk, vanilla bean and seeds just to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk sugar with cake flour and salt. Whisk in egg and egg yolks. Slowly add hot milk, whisking constantly. Pour mixture back into saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly. Continue to boil pastry cream, whisking constantly, until thick, about 30 seconds longer. Immediately strain pastry cream through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until cool.

  4. In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Whisk pastry cream, then fold in whipped cream until blended.

  5. In a medium bowl, melt chocolate in a microwave oven. Whisk in butter until smooth.

  6. With a serrated knife, split éclair shells lengthwise. Spoon a generous amount of the pastry cream into the bottom half of each shell. Dip top half of each shell into the chocolate glaze, close éclairs and serve.

Make Ahead

The components can be made early in the day, but assemble the éclairs shortly before serving.

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