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.
Servings: 36 three-inch éclairs
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
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.
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.
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).
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.