Chocolate Éclairs

Chocolate Éclairs

This was my first Daring Bakers challenge and coincidentally it is also a dessert served on the Titanic. How convenient! I love it when my posts come together. :) For our Titanic dinner, we originally chose to serve French Vanilla Ice cream rather than the chocolate éclairs. Now that I have made these, I will feature them for our dessert next time around. I had a wonderful time making these and I must admit, I had an even better time eating one. Ok, two. Fine, I had three. But in my defense, they are 1/2 the size of a normal éclair so I only really ate one and a half. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The Daring Bakers recipe called for a chocolate pastry cream but I used the French Vanilla pastry cream recipe from the Titanic book instead. These éclairs are wonderful and well worth the work and a messy kitchen. Thank you Tony and Meeta, this month's hosts, for picking such a great challenge!

Makes: 20-24

Pâte à Choux
French Vanilla Pastry Cream
Chocolate Glaze
White Chocolate to garnish

Assembling the éclairs:
1. Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2. The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.

3. Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

4. Grate some white chocolate over each éclair to garnish. The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pâte à Choux
Recipe Adapted from Pierre Hermé

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.

2. In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.

3. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.

4. Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

5. The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

6. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 4 1/2 inches chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

7. Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes. Notes: The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

French Vanilla Pastry Cream
Adapted from the Titanic Kitchen

6 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

1. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar for 2 minutes or until pale yellow. Adding flour in 3 additions, stir until well mixed.

2. In a saucepan, heat the milk, remaining sugar and vanilla bean over medium heat, stiring often until the sugar is dissolved and small bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pot. Stiring constantly, pour about 1/3 of the milk mixture into egg mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour egg mixture into remaining milk and cook, stiring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stiring, until mixture begins to mound and hold its shape; remove from heat.

3. Stir in butter and remove the vanilla bean. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the custard and cool to room temperature.

4. Beat whipping cream until stiff; add a large dollop of cream to the cooled pastry cream and fold in; add remaning whipped cream and fold in until almost combined. Place in the refrigerator until completely chilled.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe by Pierre Hermé

Makes 1 cup

1/3 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
7 tablespoons Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2. Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe by Pierre Hermé

Makes: 1 1/2 cups

4 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup water
1/2 cup crème fraîche, or heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar


1. Place all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2. It may take 10 to 15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.


Sparky Duck said...

This looks really fucking hard

Hyperion said...

Wow. These eclairs look amazing. The only thing that worries me; do they have teeth? (Then again, I like a meal that might try to bite you back.)

noble pig said...

I wish one of you daring bakers lived next door to me! They are gorgeous!

Arundathi said...

fantastic, dragon! congratulations! looks superb!

Zita said...

Welcome to the group!!! beautiful snowy eclair :)

Adam said...

Ha, that's your story? That's ok, for a challenge as fun as this... totally allowed. I mean it's for scientific research, right?

Welcome to the group, I did my first go around this month too.

mesa para 4 said...

Manda-me um...please...abraço

Mike of Mike's Table said...

These look like the eclairs I would lust over from the bakeries as a kid. They look absolutely amazing and nothing beats a good, rich, vanilla pastry cream.

Marija said...

Great job! your eclairs are beautiful!

Mcwhisky said...

Gorgeous shots you have! The eclairs are pretty.

Eat4Fun said...

Congrats on completing your first DB Challenger! Great photos and delicious looking eclairs!

Lo said...

I have fond memories of these lovelies... My great aunt made them for Christmas every year, and they were just perfect. Hers were delicate and tender with a downright heavenly vanilla custard.

These look the part, for sure! Gorgeous!

dawnielle said...

Huge shock! another beautiful dessert. really. I soooo appreciate the time you put into these beauties!

Angela said...

Your éclairs are absolutely beautiful! And your Titanic dinners sound incredible--I'll have to see if the library has the book...

Honey Pickles said...

Great job! Your eclairs look great.

maybelle's mom said...

WOW do your eclairs look stunning. I was a messy challenge though, huh.

Vera said...

Dragon, congratulations on the first completed challenge! And welcome to DB! Your éclairs look fabulous! And now I know what was for dessert on Titanic :)

Natalie... said...

Mmm yours look so puffy and delicious.
I like how you decorated them with the white chocolate too.
Great job :D

Anne said...

Great job! I love the decoration! :)

Beth said...

Congrats on your first challenge, and nice eclairs!

Poppy said...

Ahhh, mon dieu. I don't like eclairs, but those are GORGEOUS so I would HAVE TO eat one!!!!

HoneyB said...

They look gorgeous! Just look at wonder no one could eat just one....NO ONE CAN!

MaryMary said...

Oooh Titanic? That sounds fascinating. Cheers to your first challenge--they look stunning!

Robyn said...

Your eclairs look fabulous! Your recipe for the pastry cream sounds delicious.

Emilie Tytenicz said...

Wow, yours look so beautiful. How impressive. Glad our first DB challenge was a success!

And also coincidentally, my last name is pronounced "Titanic." :o)

Marianevans said...

Awesome looking eclairs! They look super yummy.

Iron Chef Shellie said...

mmm yours look soooo yummy!

rainbowbrown said...

Heck, I ate way more than three, and they were full sized. Your pastries are really gorgeous.

Ethan said...

Great first DB challenge. Beautiful!

Sherri said...


TeaLady said...

These look lovely. Great Job!

Gina said...

Wonderful photos and delicious looking photos. I'd have eaten way more than three. :)

Mmmm! I'm bookmarking your vanilla pastry cream recipe - it sounds wonderful! As much as I loved the chocolate pastry cream, I would've loved a good vanilla bean one, too.

Candace said...

Fabulous eclairs and fabulous photos too!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

great lookin eclairs! :) well done!

Tartelette said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! You did a fabulous job with the recipe and the outcome is simply gorgeous!

pipinthecity said...

Great work on your first challenge, your eclairs look delicious!

Passionate About Baking said...

What a great first challenge P. Love your story, love the eclairs & love your defence!! LOL...yours are just the way I dreamt mine should have been...but weren't. Welcome to DBs!!! Cheers Deeba

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your elegant Eclairs look perfect and ever so scrumptious! Great job!



Dee said...

Lol, what a coincidence!
Your eclairs turned out great, Dragon. Can't believe it was only your first challenge.

Jeanne said...

OMG, I am so inadequate & unworthy... No way would I even attempt to make these - too many steps, too complicated, a thousand excuses!! Yours turned out ANAZINGLY - well done!

hexe said...

Welcome to the DB! Your eclairs are gorgeous - I'd have eaten a few more!

Andrew's Mom said...

Your eclairs are beautiful!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I also love those coincidences! Your éclairs my dear are just perfect! Look at that pastry cream totally showing off and telling "lick me, lick me!"
1 and a half? Yeah right!!!
Welcome to the group, I'm glad you're baking with us now!

kittie said...

These eclairs look exactly as eclairs should - I'm impressed!

And the vanilla cream sounds like a delicious substitution :D

kat said...

Those are some of the most beautiful ones I've seen. I love how your cream looks in the middle

jo said...

your eclairs looks absoluely beautiful. i really love the way you've piped in the cream. wonderful pictures as well!

bakinginoregon said...

Congrats on your first DB challenge - looks like you nailed it. Well done.

Amber said...

Okay you are killing me with the "warrior princess" and "why would I want to escape". Fun at 40, good for you. How do you make that cute round edge on your filling?

Kevin said...

Your eclairs look great!

ARLENE said...

Your eclairs are gorgous! I love the idea of your Titanic dinner. I thought my friends and I were "sick" when we used to make dead cookies. For our summer BBQ's we'd make cookies and decorate them with the names of all the famous people who'd died that year. Love your blog.

Jude said...

Love how the vanilla pastry cream turned out. Another recipe from the titanic. Cool twist for this month's challenge.

Joey Biscotti said...

beautiful eclairs!!!

Mushka said...

I loved the idea of the pastry cream! Loved the photos as well! Congrats!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

What a beautiful eclair, all puffed up with a yummy looking curly pastry cream! About the "Eclair" pan - I checked out the websites and find that what I bought (at NY Cake on 52 W. 22nd St) is actually a "Ladyfinger Pan." Fantes( has them and they are only a few bucks. I checked out some other sites but the pans look like twinkie pans - stupid and expensive.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Your eclairs looks so professional!! I love the way you piped the filling....

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

The vanilla bean flecks in the pastry cream look SO delicious!!

Dawn said...

Your photos are so food magazine worthy. Do you have a light box that you use? Stunning photos.

Leslie said...

Love your Eclairs! Congrats on your first challange!!

silverrock said...

Gorgeous presentation with the eclairs, I especially like the idea of using white chocolate shavings. Congrats on your first DB challenge :)

B36Kitchen said...

Great looking eclairs!

Hannah said...

Wow, your eclairs are just lovely- What beautiful pastries and photographs! :)

jamiegates said...

French vanilla pastry cream. Yum Yum Yum!

Amy J. said...

Vanilla beans, omigosh! Those look soooo yummy. Do you live at a bakery?! ;>

Great first challenge. Welcome to Daring Bakers!

Sandra Avital said...

Beautif eclairs and so yummy looking. I especially love the grated white chocolate, looks like some snow.
very good job!!

pixie said...

great looking eclairs and wonderful first challenge!

Dragon said...

Sparky: They are worth the effort.

Hyperion: They don't want to bite you. They want to kiss you.

noble: I wish you lived near by too.

arundathi: Thanks!

zia: Thank you. I'm happy to be included.

adam: Research! Definitely. :)

mesa: obrigada!

mike: I'm so glad they bring back fond memories.

marija: Thanks

mcwhisky: Aww, thanks

eat4fun: Thanks

lo: I'm glad they remind you of home.

dawnielle: I'm glad.

angela: You'll love the book!

honey pickles: Thanks

maybelle: It was well worth the mess in my kitchen to get these lovely eclairs.

vera: Thank you and I'm honoured you like them. You are an inspiration.

natalie: I like simple decorations. Thanks!

anne: Thanks

beth: Thanks

Poppy: Well thank you, my friend. I'd love to make one for you. :)

honeyb: Who can resist. :)

marymary: The titanic dinner was lots of fun. Thanks!

robyn: The pastry cream really made these shine.

emilie: Thanks Now I know how to pronouce your name:)

marian: Thanks

iron chef shellie: Thanks! :)

rainbow: LOL!

ethan: Thanks

sherri: Thank you!

tealady: Thanks

gina: You'll love this recipe.

candace: Thanks

rita: Thanks, my friend. :)

tartlette: I'm glad to have joined. Thanks.

pip: Thanks

passionate: Thanks, my friend. Yours looked amazing.

rosa: Thanks

dee: I know! I love coincidences. Thanks for your encouragement. :)

jeanne: You could so make these and I bet they would turn out amazing.

hexe: I did eat more. :)

andrew's mom: Thanks

clumbsy: Thank you so much, Clumbsy. I'm always inspired by your work. Should I call these 'Lick Me Eclairs'?

kittie: Thanks. The vanilla pastry was heavenly.

kat: Thanks

jo: Thanks

bakinginoregon: Thanks

amber: I like to have fun. :) I used a round tip to pipe the cream in a tight zigzag pattern in the pastry. I love the look.

kevin: Thanks, dude!

arlene: Your cookie idea is great! I might have to try it.

jude: I know! It worked out well, didn't it. :)

joey: Thanks

mushka: Thanks

sherry: Thanks and thank you for the info about the pan. You rock!

vegan_noodle: Thanks. The piping was easy but had a great effect.

cupcake: That was my favourite part of the cream as well. :)

dawn: Thank you. :) I have a bedroom in my house that has windows along two walls so no matter where the sun is in the sky, I get lots of natural light in the room. I'm lucky to have that room for photographing.

leslie: Thanks

silverrock: Thanks

b36kitchen: Thanks

hannah: Thank you

jaime: The pastry cream really made this shine.

amy: No I don't live in a bakery. :) I wish I did.

sandra: That's the look I was going for. Thanks.

pixie: Thanks

Aparna said...

Your eclairs look perfect, very delicious and professional. No one would believe otherwise.
Welcome to the Daring Bakers.

Lisa Michelle said...

D, your eclairs came out perfect, and your piping held up so well! They are gorgeous!

Seeing yours, makes me wish I didn't wait until the last minute to make these, since (as you may have read on my blog), I didn't have time to let the pastry cream set up enough to hold a piped shape, and it just oozed down the sides of the eclair, and lost it's shape immediately. Major bummer!

Anyway, keep up the amazing baking, and I'm looking forward to seeing your other DB creations :)

Lore said...

Chocolate eclairs are one of my favourite sweet treats. Yours turned out gorgeous, I can almost taste that creaminess!

Rosa said...

Mhmmm a classic eclair! Beautiful photography, too.

veron said...

Gorgeous eclair! Congrats on completing your first Daring Bakers Challenge.

diva said...

congrats on your first daring bakers! these eclairs are gorgeous and the filling looks so plump, tempting and, i really do like eclairs ;)

Natasha said...

Oh great! Now I want some! but they seem so complicated!

Maria said...

I am super impressed! The eclairs look fabulous!

Gabi said...

Beautiful eclairs! You have a gorgeous blog here- thanks for visiting mine!

An Apron Straitjacket said...

Your photos are so beautiful, I could just eat the electrons that make them up! Great job!

friedwontons4u said...

What a lovely blog! The eclairs look too good to eat.

Emiline said...

Yummm. Your eclairs look perfect.

Susan said...

Eclairs were probably the only thing the Titanic did right that fateful voyage.

These are beauties, Dragon. Classic.

The Recipe Fairy said...

Wow! These are so beautiful!

Y said...

Interesting bit of trivia there, and of course, amazing looking eclairs.

Dhanggit said...

welcome to db!! your eclairs are lovely!!

Deborah said...

These look absolutely perfect!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Beautiful job! These look so professional! WOW!

Laurie said...

Your eclairs look beautiful! Look at those puffs.. so puffy and fluffy! :)

Candice said...

I love the sprinkle of white chocolate (I think that's white chocolate!) on top. Yum.

Ruth said...

Wow your eclairs look fantastic and I love the photos. Yummy vanilla beans

Dragon said...

aparna: Thank you.

lisa: I bet it tasted really good though. :)

lore: Thank you, my friend.

rosa: Thank you.

veron: Thanks.

diva: Me too!

natasha: Hey, if I can do it, you can too.

maria: Thank you.

gabi: You're welcome here anytime.

apron: LOL

friedwonton: Oh what a shame not to eat these. :)

emiline: Thanks, babe!

susan: Agreed! And thanks.

recipe fairy: Thanks

y: Yes, I'm becoming an expert on Titanic food. :)

dhanggit: Thank you.

deborah: Thanks :)

jen: Thank you

laurie: And yummy.

candice: Yes, it's white chocolate. I wanted the look of fallen snow.

ruth: Vanilla beans are a gift, aren't they?

Liz Randall said...

What fun to connect the Titanic and the eclairs! I love your piped cream - makes a very nice touch.

Patsyk said...

Your eclairs look truly decadent and I'm sure every bite is delicious!

printing services said...

oh my oh my! this is my favorite. now, i know how to make these. :) thanks!

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