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Éclairs with White Chocolate Pastry Cream and Dark Chocolate Ganache

Delicate pâte à choux éclairs is piped into the shape of small logs. Once baked and cooled the logs are filled with Crème pâtissière, "pastry cream." The custard-filled pastry is traditionally decorated with fondant but I use ganache.
Cuisine: Dessert
Servings: 36 three-inch éclairs

Ingredients

Pâte à Choux (Cream Puff Dough)

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour see notes for gluten-free version
  • 4 large eggs room temperature

Crème Pâtissière (White Chocolate Pastry Cream)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp rum optional
  • 6 oz white chocolate chopped finely

Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 8 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped finely

Instructions

Pâte à Choux

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or Non-Stick Silicone.
  • Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a rapid simmer.
  • Dump the flour in all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon over low heat. The dough will come together as a smooth ball and the bottom of your pot will have a skim of dough stuck to it.
  • Remove dough from the pot and place in bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment. I love these beater blade paddles with the rubber sides, so you don't have to scrape down the bowl. If you don't have one, then scrape down the bowl after each egg.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each, until it comes together in a smooth paste. It will be thick enough to hold its shape, but thin enough to pipe easily.
  • Fit a Decorating Bag with a large round tip and pipe the dough into 2 1/2-inch logs. If there are points sticking up on the ends just wet your finger and smooth them out. Place the sheets into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes (20+ if baking profiteroles that are about the size of a quarter), until they are puffy, but have little color. If baking two trays at once, quickly rotate the trays from top to bottom and back to front. They may deflate a touch, but don't worry, they will puff again as they continue to bake. Bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes or just until they start to turn golden-brown. Open one of them and make sure it is not too wet inside. If so, continue to bake.
  • Once they are no longer wet, prop the door open with a wooden spoon and continue to bake for about 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before filling. They can be made ahead and frozen for up to a couple of weeks.

Crème Pâtissière

  • In a pan, heat the milk and 1/4 cup sugar over medium heat until simmering. In a bowl combine the yolks, remaining sugar, cornstarch and salt.
  • Once the milk has come to a simmer, ladle a small amount out and whisk it into the egg mixture to warm it up. This is called tempering and it prevents the eggs from cooking too quickly.
  • Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, whisk it into the pot of milk. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, whisk it vigorously for about 3 minutes so that you are sure to cook the cornstarch. Whisk in the vanilla, rum and butter until it is smooth.
  • Place in a large bowl and immediately whisk in the chopped white chocolate.
  • Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled.

Assemble

  • Once you are ready to assemble the éclairs cut the pastry open along the sides with a sharp knife.
  • Gently stir the pastry cream and pipe it into the pastry shells. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Ganache

  • Heat the cream to a simmer. Turn off heat, add the chocolate, swirl the pan to cover the chocolate with the cream and allow to sit for 2 minutes.
  • Gently stir the cream and chocolate together. You don't want to whip too much air into it or it won't be smooth and shiny.
  • Dip the chilled eclairs into the ganache. Refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 8 hours).

Notes

Gluten Free Éclairs: You can replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free all-purpose mix, but you'll need to increase the eggs to 6.
You’ve got to check out the Choux Puffs with Pastry Cream from Jamie Schler at Life's a Feast.