From scratch. No premade anything. These are a work of art.
*Read the whole recipe before you begin to help budget your time/kitchen utensils. 🙂
First the pastry-
I used the following recipe from www.thefreshloaf.com. It is a great site and the full eclair recipe of theirs is probably delicious as well but Trey does not like custard, or anything resembling custard, so I used what I could and moved on:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the water, milk, butter, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil. Stir in the flour and, while mixing, cook another minute or 2 to eliminate excess moisture. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Beat in one egg at at time. When they have all been beaten in and the paste is smooth and shiny, set aside to cool. The paste may be use immediately or covered and refrigerated for later use.
Spoon the mixture into a large ziploc bag. Cut off the bottom corner to squeeze out eclairs. The size is your call. For the ones above, I cut about an inch. Pipe the eclairs onto a non-stick cookie sheet. They become MUCH larger than the dough so make sure they have plenty of room.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 10 to 30 minutes. For smaller ones as pictured above, about 12 minutes.
I used a chopstick to poke a hole through the pastry and hollow out the inside a little bit to make piping the filling easier. I am sure there is a more efficient way to do this, I just don’t know what it is.
Whipped Buttercream Filling (taken from Organic and Chic by Sarah Magid)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Large bowl of ice water
Cream the butter on medium speed, 3 to 5 minutes, in a standing mixer. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy (5 to 7 minutes).
In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the milk, the flour, and the vanilla extract and whisk vigorously until there are no lumps. Over medium heat, slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup milk, whisking constantly and cook until the mixture comes to a low boil. Then reduce the heat to low and keep whisking for a few more minutes until it begins to thicken.
Immediately remove the pan from heat but keep stirring. Place the saucepan in the ice water (to cool the bottom so that it will stop cooking- don’t get water in the mixture!). Once the mixture has thickened and it cools to room temperature, pour the milk mixture into the butter/sugar mixture with the mixer on low speed, and increase speed to medium when you are finished pouring in the milk mixture. This should take about three to five minutes.
Spoon into piping bag and stick in the fridge.
When the pastry is ready (completely cooled), use the piping bag to fill up the pasty and set aside. You’re almost finished!
The Chocolate Frosting (taken from P-Dub with a tiny modification- I added some milk chocolate)
This is the VERY LAST STEP- do not do this until you’ve filled the pastries!!!!
- ¾ cups Sweetened, Condensed Milk
- 3 ounces, weight Semi-sweet Chocolate
- 3 ounces milk chocolate
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
Mix ingredients together in a small/medium saucepan. Melt ingredients over medium low heat, stirring gently. Icing is ready when all ingredients are melted and combined.
Using a regular spoon, smear the icing on the tops of the eclairs. All done!
Refrigerate (if you like cold eclairs) or eat right away. My experience with anything homemade is that the sooner you eat it the better. (Or maybe that’s just my excuse to consume baked goods as quickly as possible?) Oh well.
Lastly, I had to post this picture. Don’t tell Nate about this. We ran out of baby towels so we wrapped him up like this the other night after his bath. Priceless.