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Chocolate Eclairs

Apr 23, 2016

There are some recipes that are extremely easy to make, but quite hard to make it well. Chocolate Eclairs are definitely one of them.

Pâte à choux (or choux pastry) is part of many of my favorite desserts, but I have to admit it took me quite some time to master it. The main issue is that there is no exact recipe for it. So you always need to feel the recipe, and know how it is supposed to be like.

A couple weeks ago, I attended a master class from Cacao Barry here in Toronto, where chef Nicolas Dutertre showed us how to make a few different desserts, and eclairs was one of them. I used my go-to recipe but incorporated a few tricks he showed, like coating the exterior of the pastry with coconut oil, clarified butter or baking spray.

At work, I tested it with coconut oil and this one you're seeing here, was done with baking spray. Both ways provided a very shiny exterior for the eclairs, which was really nice. I have to say, though, that coconut oil gives a little bit of coconut taste which may be undesired in certain preparations. I found baking spray to be more neutral, despite not being exactly natural.

The filling is a delicious creamy chocolate that works way better than chocolate pastry cream. It has a very light texture and taste, which is more to my liking.
On top of all this deliciousness there is a velvety and smooth chocolate chantilly, together with chocolate decorations to give it a little style. Both recipes are from chef Nicolas, and they are absolutely amazing!

If you want to go the traditional way, the eclairs can be filled with just the creamy chocolate, and glazed with chocolate. I've been doing this at work for a few days now and people are loving it!

So, the most important takeaway here is related to the pastry. You may not use the whole amount of eggs in the recipe (I almost never do), especially if your dough is not too dry. What you want to achieve here is a consistency that drips easily from the spoon without needing to shake it. If it drips too fast, and almost no pastry is left in the spoon -- you've added too much eggs and will need to start again. On the other hand, if it doesn't fall easily, you most probably still need to add more eggs but make sure to add it slowly. If you mess it out, there is no turning back :(

That is the consistency you're trying to reach. Don't worry if you get it wrong the first time. Just try to understand what you could have made wrong and try again. Practice makes perfect!

I'm pretty sure that whether you are an experienced baker or trying it for the first time, these tricks will make your eclairs shine in every possible way!


Creamy Fudge Filling

Shelf-stable for 7 days, extremely adaptable and price-conscious filling recipe. This one stays creamy even after refrigerating or freezing without changes to texture or taste. Freaking. Game. Changer.

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