I've wanted to make something with choux pastry for a while now and I finally did! These eclairs are so freakin' good, I just couldn't stop eating the pastry cream...The dough is actually really easy to make. Pastry cream on the other hand was a bit tricky for me because I used a small saucepan so there was pastry cream all over the place. Recipes I used are all from one of my favorite cooks, Martha Stewart! I also made a little extra chocolate glaze for a little 'snack' later and make sure to double-dip your eclairs for the perfect balance of chocolate and vanilla. I was also lucky enough to have a vanilla bean on hand because my pastry cream was full of vanilla specs. This recipe did use quite a bit of eggs as well but it was sure worth it in the end!

For the pastry cream (just enough to fill almost all eclairs):
  • 6 large egg yolks + 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup + 2tbsp / 180g  sugar 
  • 3tbsp cornstarch
  • 3tbsp all-purpose flour  
  • 3 cups / 720ml  milk 
  • 2tsp pure vanilla extract / seeds from one vanilla bean / 2tsp vanilla bean paste
For (about 30) eclairs:
  • 1/2 cup / 113g  unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups / 162g  all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs + 1 large egg white 
  • 1 cup / 240ml  water
For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup / 120ml  heavy cream
  • 100g chocolate

In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, egg, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add cornstarch and flour; whisk until smooth and pale yellow. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, vanilla and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Stir over medium-high heat until milk begins to steam. Whisking constantly, add half the hot milk to the egg-yolk mixture. Stir until smooth; strain combined mixture through a sieve back to remaining hot milk in the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking rapidly to prevent scorching. Transfer into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the surface of the cream. Cool to room temperature and put in the fridge overnight.

Bring butter, sugar, salt, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, quickly stir in flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from sides and a film forms on bottom of pan, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or mix by hand with a wooden spoon or a hand held mixer. Mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Raise speed to medium; add whole eggs, 1 at a time, until a soft peak forms when batter is touched with your finger. If peak does not form, lightly beat remaining egg white, and mix it into batter a little at a time until it does.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag with choux pastry; pipe out eclair shapes, at least an inch apart. Gently run a fork dipped in water along each top, making straight lines to ensure even rising. Bake 10 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Turn off oven; prop door open slightly to let steam escape. Allow eclairs to dry in oven for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Raise heat back to 425 degrees and repeat process with remaining batch. Use a small round tip or a skewer to make a small hole in the side of an eclair.Beat the pastry cream until smooth and softened, put it in a piping bag with a small round tip and fill eclairs. To make the glaze, heat cream in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Let stand until chocolate is melted, stir until smooth. Dip top of each eclair into glaze; let excess drip off before turning over. Transfer to a wire rack to allow glaze to set. ENJOY!

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