This Chocolate Eclair recipe makes such a decadent treat and is made with a simple handful of ingredients. I am as in love with my stand mixer as every baker is, but these really work well with a simple wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Be prepared to beat the mixture really well and if your arm isn’t aching by the end of it then you haven’t beaten it well enough!
This recipe is for a simple cream and chocolate version but you can fill these with any combination of ingredients - toffee sauce, Nutella, fruit, coffee cream... the list goes on and on! Just try and keep the centre to some kind of cream and the top to something more ‘set’ in nature otherwise it will be tricky to eat!
2 1/2oz plain flour
2 eggs (beaten)
pinch of salt
300ml whipping cream
Preheat the oven to gas 6/200 degrees and grease/line a baking tray. Sift the flour into a bowl and leave to one side.
Melt together in a large saucepan the water, butter and salt until the butter has completely melted. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Once boiling, take the pan off the heat and add the flour. Beat this mixture hard with a wooden spoon until well combined (1-2 minutes). Return to the heat and continue beating for 1 minute.
Tip the mixture into a bowl so that it cools slightly. Slowly add the eggs a bit at a time and beat really well in between until the mixture is shiny and paste like. It should drop nicely off the end of the spoon.
Add the mixture to a piping bag and pipe onto the tray into strips about 10cm long. Sprinkle tray with some water and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to gas 3/170 degrees and cook for a further 10 minutes.
The shells are done when they have browned and are crispy to the touch and they should have risen.
Remove from the oven and pierce the shells with a skewer to make a small hole (so that the steam can escape when cooling - this should help them not to collapse as they cool). Once the shells are cold, they can be stored in a box and will keep for a couple of days in a cool, dry place.
To finish the eclairs, whip the cream until it is stiff and melt the chocolate. If you are using dark chocolate, you can add some cream to the melted chocolate and this makes more of a softer ‘ganache’ which won’t set as hard as melted chocolate might.
You can either slice the eclairs and pipe in the cream (as you would a bread roll to make a sandwich), or you can pipe the cream into a hole at one end (as you would a filling to a donut). Then liberally drizzle the chocolate onto the eclair.
The eclairs will be best eaten the day the cream and chocolate are added as the moisture will soften the crisp shells.