Growing up, my siblings and I would always beg my mom to make her eclairs. She didn’t make them often, but when she did, we would gobble them up. Even to this day when my siblings go home to visit, they beg her to make her eclairs and her sourdough bread.
The best thing about my mom making eclairs was the next day. There were maybe one or two leftover and my mom would let us eat them for breakfast. I’ll tell you what; there is NOTHING better than a day old eclair for breakfast. I always try to hide one in the fridge when I make them so I can continue on the tradition of eating them first thing in the morning. But shh, my kids don’t know about this yet!
Now, you are probably looking at these pictures and saying, but wait!? I thought eclairs were long, not circular. Why, yes, you are right. My mom ALWAYS called them eclairs, so it’s hard for me to call them anything other than that. Technically, these are cream puffs filled with cream and topped with a chocolate frosting. Honestly, I don’t think the shape really matters, it’s whats on the inside! Maybe we should make a sticker with that on it.
Pate a choux dough is not that tricky. It’s actually easy enough for my oldest child to make by herself. If she can do it, so can you. The hardest part about making the dough is waiting long enough for it to cool down before you add your eggs. It also happens to be the most important part because we don’t want scrambled egg eclairs. That would be gross.
For the filling you can use a handful of things. My mom always used instant pudding. As soon as I left the house, I nixed that because I think it makes your cream puff soggy, and it’s really soft. It also starts to separate the next day. Instead, I started making my own pastry cream, which is insane. I love using it, but sometimes you just want something quick and this quick instant pudding filling is revamped and holds it shape for at least two days. I can’t vouch for much time after that because these babies get eaten up around here.
In fact, after I took pictures of these, my kids ran upstairs to eat some. My husband was taking his lunch break and told the kids they didn’t realize how lucky they were to have me as their mom. He said there aren’t many kids who get to eat eclairs at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday. Well isn’t that the truth! However, they don’t realize how lucky I am to eat one tomorrow for breakfast.
- For the pate a choux dough
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- dash of sea salt
- For the whipped pudding filling
- 1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
- 2 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 whole milk
- For the chocolate frosting
- 6 TBS butter, melted
- 2 oz semisweet chocolate squares
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2-3 TBS milk
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, place the butter, salt, and water in. Slowly melt the butter, ensuring that you are not boiling away your water. Once the butter is completely melted, quickly bring the water to a boil by cranking up the heat to HIGH.
- Remove the pot from the heat as soon as it comes to a boil, and add in your flour. Stir the flour in quickly and keep stirring until all the dough pulls away from the pot and forms a ball.
- Place the dough into the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) and let it cool for 10 minutes. Once it has cooled for ten minutes, turn your mixer on low speed and let it mix for 2 minutes to get more steam and heat out.
- Now add your eggs one at a time a make sure each one is completely incorporated before adding the next egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before each addition.
- Place your dough into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe 12 2-inch circles onto the parchment. They should be about 1/2 inch high. The dough will puff up, so give at least 1 inch between each circle.
- Bake for 30 minutes. When they come out you can pierce a small hole in each one to allow the steam to release.
- For the filling, combine all of the ingredients into the bowl of your electric mixer (with a whisk attachment) and whisk together until mixture is stiff. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Once the cream puffs are completely cooled slice them in half if you want to spoon the filling in. Or instead of slicing them in half, you can pipe the filling in using a small tip. Either one works great, so do what works for you.
- For the frosting melt together the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Stir together and slowly add your sifted powdered sugar. Add in 2-3 TBS of milk to get a thick, but somewhat runny consistency.
- Spoon the frosting on top of each cream puff. It should spread just slightly. Refrigerate until serving time.