Chocolate eclairs were never my go to pastry, but lately they’ve been a new favorite. This recipe seemed like a breeze after making the cheese gougeres earlier this week and I think this is the third or fourth time I’ve made pastry cream this year. Despite claiming to be an easy recipe that wasn’t my experience….
This recipe is slightly different from the cheese gougeres recipe I used but it looked very similar so I didn’t think it would be an issue. I noticed pretty quickly while making the pate a choux, the mixture was a lot thinner which was weird. I kept going hoping it would thicken up. By the time I put both eggs in I was pretty convinced this wasn’t going to work, but just in case I was wrong I piped it onto the parchment paper. Piped is probably a generous word since it was almost so thin it barely stayed in the shape I wanted. As suspected, these were laughably thin when they came out of the oven so I threw those away and started over.
Round two of the pate a choux… I went back to the cheese gougeres recipe and used that to make the dough. I knew it had worked earlier and since I wasn’t sure what went wrong with the other recipe I felt like it was the best option. Everything seemed on track while prepping this and they even looked nice and puffy through the oven door while baking. I had to guess about how long to leave them in since these were a different shape from the cheese gougeres so I ended up baking them for 32 minutes. I did a quick cut in the top so they wouldn’t deflate, but upon checking on them later they were pretty flat too. Though thankfully nowhere near as flat as round one.
I made the pastry cream filling the night before since I really wanted it to be nice and chilled before using. This part is pretty easy; there’s just a lot of whisking involved since you don’t want to scramble the eggs while pouring in the hot milk mixture. Even though I’ve made pastry cream several times this year I always get a little nervous as the mixtures starts to thicken since you don’t want to cook it too much.
I found the best looking eclair and since it wasn’t very puffy I just cut it like you would see in a hot dog bun and piped the pastry cream onto the bottom part. I had made the chocolate mixture but was frustrated to find it wasn’t nearly as smooth as it should have been. I tried gently taking an eclair and dipping the top into the chocolate (as you would donuts), but it wouldn’t even stay on the top. I ended up just spooning some of the chocolate onto the top and you can tell from the picture it doesn’t look great.
Taste wise it tasted pretty good, but definitely not as good as it should have been. I ranked it very low on the visual aspect, because as a whole they didn’t look great. I do want to try these again, but I may try to find another recipe and hopefully I can figure out next time what I did wrong to have both sets of eclairs turn out so flat.
Recipe Used: Mon Petit Four