Chocolate eclairs are a classic French dessert. They’re rich, chocolatey, and very indulgent. The texture of the choux pastry is fluffy and light, while the filling and ganache topping is like a chocolate overload. This is an easy recipe for classic chocolate eclairs, and we also have a lot of tips to make sure your eclairs come out perfect every time!
Many people think that eclairs and profiteroles are the same thing, and in a way, they are. But there are slight differences. The profiterole (also known as a cream puff) is made of round, French choux pastry, that’s filled with cream, custard, or pastry cream (or crème pâtissière). These puffs are then left plain, or covered with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or even just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. The éclair is also made with French choux pastry, but is longer in form and made by using a piping bag. It’s filled with cream and then topped with chocolate icing.
It looks fancy and complicated, but you don’t need any expensive ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and chocolate. You simply make your pastry and bake it, fill it, and add the ganache. As easy as that!
Start with the choux pastry. Melt the butter with the water in a pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Add the flour and stir vigorously until you no longer see visible specks of flour. Add the eggs, mixing after each addition.
Fill the pastry bag with choux pastry and form eclairs on a parchment-covered baking sheet. You can also use a Ziploc bag with one corner snipped off, if you don’t have a pastry bag. Bake until golden and puffed up. The color should be dark brown. After filling the eclairs, their topped with ganache and chocolate bars, and are now ready to enjoy!
If the eclairs are soggy or flat, it means they’re underbaked. Make sure to bake them until they’re a dark golden-brown color. Underbaking them will result in a flat éclair with a sunken bottom.
You must eat eclairs on the same day that you make them! Because of the contrast between the crispy shell, and the moist filling, these eclairs are best enjoyed immediately. Baked and unfilled shells can be stored in an airtight container, in the freezer, for up to 1 month. Allow to thaw at room temperature, and then fill and glaze before serving. You can make the pastry cream and ganache a few days ahead of time and store them in the fridge.
To prevent cracks on your eclairs, make sure you add salt to the dough. The more you add, the fewer cracks your eclairs will have. But take note that this is a sweet dessert, and shouldn’t be overly salty!
Flat eclairs are a no-no. To avoid flat eclairs, use flour that is high in protein, so the gluten will hold up better and stay puffy. It will also make for a crispy shell.
There are many ways to fill a chocolate éclair. Here are a few delicious ideas:
You can also try different toppings:
The eclairs can be stored (covered) in the fridge for 3 days, but they will lose their crispiness. The pastry cream and ganache can be stored separately in the fridge, for up to 3 days.
Baked, unfilled shells can be stored in an airtight container, in the freezer, for up to 1 month.
Add butter and water into a pot and place it over medium heat.
Bring to a boil and add flour.
Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth ball of dough forms.
Start adding eggs one by one while mixing constantly.
Fill a pastry bag with choux pastry and form eclairs on a parchment-covered baking sheet.
Bake at 190°C/375°F for 30 minutes or until golden and puffed up. Pierce two holes on the bottom of cooled down éclair. Fill each hole with chocolate cream.
Drizzle white chocolate on top of dark chocolate to make stripes. Dip chocolate eclairs in.
Top each eclair with a chocolate bar. Let chocolate coating set and serve.
It’s important to keep the piped dough at the same size to ensure even cooking.