Chocolate Eclairs are a classic French pastry that’s truly a delightful treat! Homemade chocolate eclairs are a special breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert.
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What Are Chocolate Eclairs?
These classic French treats are a wonderful pick-me-up any time of the day. The contrast between the flaky, almost savory pastry shells and the dense sweet vanilla custard filling makes eclairs particularly popular. Chocolate eclairs are topped with chocolate ganache or glaze.
Eclairs are flexible enough to put out for a casual breakfast buffet or to serve as part of a more formal afternoon tea party.
What Makes This Recipe the One You Want to Try for Homemade Eclairs
Even experienced home cooks are a little nervous about making eclairs at home. But this easy Chocolate Eclairs recipe will give you the confidence to start churning out perfectly made Chocolate Eclairs whenever you want.
Pâte à choux dough sounds scary, but it’s not. If you can whip up a pancake batter while you are half-asleep on Sunday morning, you can do this.
Once you know how to make Chocolate Eclairs, you’ll want to make them often because they are so much better than the days-old eclairs you find at the store! You can also make cream puffs and profiteroles with the choux dough.
Easy Chocolate Eclairs Recipe Ingredients
For the pastry dough (pâte à choux), you’ll need:
- All-purpose Flour
For the custard filling, you’ll need:
- Whole milk
- Egg yolks
- Vanilla extract
For the chocolate topping for eclairs, you’ll need:
- Semisweet chocolate chips
- Light corn syrup
- Whole milk
You can use chocolate melting wafers instead of chocolate chips.
How to Make Homemade Eclairs
To make the pastry (pâte à choux) dough:
- Bring the water, butter, and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the flour all at once. Use a wooden spoon to incorporate the flour with the other ingredients.
- Continue to stir the dough over low heat for a minute or two until it forms a ball in the center of the saucepan.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer. You can use a hand mixer with beaters or a wooden spoon, but a stand mixer is much easier.
- While beating the pastry dough on low speed with a paddle attachment, add one egg at a time. Ensure to entirely incorporate the egg with the dough before adding the next one.
- Transfer the dough into a piping bag with a French Star tip and place it in the fridge while you make the custard filling. If you don’t have a French star tip you can use a plain pastry tip.
To make the custard filling:
- Separate the eggs. Reserve the egg yolks for later and store the egg whites for another use.
- Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in another bowl and set to the side.
- Place a medium saucepan with the milk over medium-low heat.
- Stir often until the tiny bubbles form around the sides of the saucepan.
- Dump the cornstarch and sugar mixture into the saucepan. Continue to stir until the milk comes to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
- Temper the eggs by adding a few spoonfuls of the hot milk mixture to the yolks and stir. Doing this will prevent the eggs from clumping together once you add them to the saucepan.
- Add the tempered egg yolks to the rest of the milk mixture in the saucepan.
- Bring the custard filling to a simmer and cook until it thickens.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Place a sheet of wax paper on top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Cool the custard to room temperature on the counter before storing it in the fridge until needed.
To bake the eclair shells:
- Remove the pâte à choux dough from the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Evenly pipe 12 one-inch wide and four-inch long lines of choux pastry dough on the parchment paper lined sheet pan.
- Bake the eclair shells for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. The cooked pastry should sound hollow if you tap on it.
- Cool the shells on a wire rack.
To fill the eclair shells:
- Fill a pastry bag with the refrigerated vanilla pastry cream.
- Cut the cooled eclair shells in half horizontally.
- Pipe the custard filling into the bottom half of the eclair shell and put the top half of the shell back in place.
To dip the eclairs in chocolate:
- Heat the chocolate chips and the shortening in a small saucepan over low heat.
- Whisk until the chocolate melts.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the light corn syrup and whole milk until smooth and glossy.
- Pour the warm chocolate glaze into a wide and shallow container to make dipping the tops of the eclairs easier.
Make Better Eclairs
Keep these few tips in mind, and your Chocolate Eclairs should come out great:
- Hold the piping bag at 45 degrees.
- Use a wet finger to smooth down any small peaks at the end of the eclairs.
- Instead of cutting eclair shells in half, cut two small holes on the bottom of the eclair shell and fill them using a piping bag with a small round tip for a neater appearance.
In France, you can find dozens of varieties of eclairs. Here are four variations on the classic eclair that you should try:
- Chocolate Cream-filled Eclairs: Swap the vanilla custard filling for chocolate custard.
- Caramel Apple Eclairs: Combine equal parts of apple pie filling with the vanilla custard and fill the eclairs. Drizzle caramel sauce on top.
- Pudding Eclairs: Make homemade vanilla bean or French vanilla pudding to use instead of the custard. You can also use pudding mix but homemade is best.
- Whipped Cream Eclairs: Either whip cream or use Cool Whip instead of the vanilla custard.
- Mini Chocolate Eclairs: Make half-sized eclairs to serve as part of a dessert bar.
- Egg and Cheese Eclairs: Fill the eclair shell with creamy scrambled eggs and top with a cheese sauce.
What to Serve With Chocolate Covered Eclairs
A cup of tea or a mug of coffee is perfect for sipping while nibbling on chocolate-covered eclairs. If you want to feel French, try un cafe au lait. Just combine equal parts of your favorite brewed coffee and steamed milk.
How to Store Leftover Eclairs
You can store baked but empty eclairs in a plastic bag in the fridge or freezer. Just make sure they are completely cool. To reduce the cooling time, cut the eclair shells in half to let any interior moisture escape.
Keep any extra custard filling in an airtight container in the fridge. Vanilla custard won’t freeze well.
How Long Do Eclairs Last?
Eclair shells will last for about three days in the fridge and up to two months in the freezer. Refrigerated custard filling is good for about three days.
But what if you already filled and dipped the eclairs? How long do chocolate eclairs last in the fridge? They should remain edible for up to three days, but the pastry will begin to get soggy almost immediately.
Favorite Chocolate Desserts
- Chocolate Coca Cola Cake
- Chocolate Delight
- Chocolate Fondue
- Chocolate Pudding Cake
- Chocolate Pudding Pie
- German Chocolate Pie
- Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
- Oreo Brownies
- Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Turtle Brownies
Popular Donut Recipes
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 6 tablespoons milk
- To make the custard filling, slowly heat the milk in a medium saucepan just until bubbles begin to form around the edge.
- Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, and mix well. Add the mixture to the hot milk all at once and cook, stirring, over medium heat until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute.
- Temper the egg yolks by placing them in a bowl and beating a small amount of the hot milk into the yolks. Pour the beaten egg yolks back into saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Then stir in the vanilla.
- Place waxed paper on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- To make the éclair shells, place the butter and salt in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Beat over low heat until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until shiny, satiny, and broken into strands.
- Drop the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet, forming 12 4×1-inch strips spaced 3 inches apart, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The shells will sound hollow when tapped, and you should keep them away from drafts.
- To make the chocolate glaze, melt the chocolate chips and shortening in a small saucepan. Add the corn syrup and milk and stir until the mixture is uniform.
- To assemble, cut the eclair shells in half, fill them with cream, and drizzle chocolate glaze on top. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.