Sundays during football season have pretty much become my official “spend the day in the kitchen trying something new” days. I only have the patience for one football a week, tops, so instead I amuse myself by cooking and baking while everyone else is busy paying attention to the games. A few weeks ago I was browsing through possibilities of things to make that Sunday and asked my husband how he felt about eclairs. Given that he doesn’t really care for sweets (something I’ve never understood) I wasn’t expecting more than an unenthusiastic “eh” as his answer. However, “ECLAIRS ARE MY FAVORITE DESSERT” he immediately shouted back! I have no idea how I didn’t know this already, but that was all the justification I need to spend the day making them.
Although this might look like a fairly complicated recipe, each part isn’t too difficult, it can just take a bit of time to make each component and put them together. Even so, they’re totally worth it and you’ll be glad you spent the time to make them!
Pate a choux (the dough):
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
6 Tablespoons of butter, cubed
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup flour
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, beaten
3 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. First make the Pate a choux. Combine the water, milk, butter and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and dump in the entire cup of flour all at once. Using a wooden spoon stir in the flour until it forms a ball of dough. Remove the dough and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer (if you have one) or a a mixing bowl. Let the dough cool off. Once it has cooled add the egg yolks on at a time, mixing after each one you add. This should get you a pretty runny dough. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, then put the dough mixture in a pastry bag and pipe the dough into 3-4 inch logs. Bake the dough for about 30 minutes, until it begins to brown.
Next, make the filling. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a saucepan. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk. On medium heat, slowly add the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan. Whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches a bowl and begins to thicken. Let it boil for just one minute then remove from heat, add butter and vanilla and mix to combine until the butter melts. Pour the filling into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to avoid it from forming a “skin.” Let it cool on the counter for at least 30 minutes, then refrigerate until cold.
After your filling has cooled, begin to put everything together. Cut each log of dough lengthwise but don’t cut through the entire log, just about 3/4 of the way through. Use a small spoon to fill the opening in the log with the filling.
Finally, make your ganache. Heat the heavy cream over low-medium heat. Slowly add the chocolate in thirds, stirring constantly. Once all the chocolate has been added continue to stir until it’s melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
Complete your eclairs by dipping each one in the ganache. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving, enjoy!