Ever since I was little eclairs have been my favorite. They were something we would get as a treat or for special occasions. I’ve always preferred whipped filling over custard so I decided to take an eclair recipe we saw on The Great British Bake-off up a notch with a little spiced whipped cream.
Don’t worry, making eclairs isn’t as daunting as it may sound. It consists of just 3 elements: a simple choux pastry base, whipped filling, and chocolate ganache glaze. In under an hour you’ll have 4-8 delicious spiced whipped cream filled eclairs!
The trick to a successful eclair is in the choux. Choux pastry, or pâte à choux, is a light pastry dough used in many well known deserts like eclairs, cream puffs, and the theme park favorite churros. It’s essential your choux pastry is the right consistency before pipping and baking. The perfect choux is thinner than a dough and thicker than a batter. It will stick to a spoon when scooped, but falls off into thick ribbons if lightly tapped.
For the chocolate glaze I prefer a classic ganache with semi-sweet chocolate. The original recipe I used called for melted milk chocolate. I found the consistency of melted chocolate too dry (hence the look). I added some cream in the end to thin the chocolate but still did not achieve a pouring or dipping consistency. Ganache will give you that classic shiny glaze look.
What really made these eclairs for me was the spiced whipped cream. I find regular homemade whipped cream to be rathe bland or overly sweet. The cinnamon added a nice hint of spice to the flavor profile.
Chocolate Eclairs with Spiced Whipped Cream
- silicone mat
- piping bag with open or star tip
- 2½ oz. (5/8 c.) plain flour sifted
- pinch salt
- 2 oz. (4 tbsp) unsalted butter diced
- 2 eggs beaten
- 4 fl oz water
- 7 fl oz whipping cream
- 2 ½ tbsp confectioners sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3½ oz semi sweet chocolate
- 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Sift the flour into a small bowl, set aside.
- Add 4fl oz water to a medium-sized pan with the salt and butter. Heat on low until the butter has melted, then quickly bring the mixture to the boil.
- Add all the flour, then remove the pan from the heat. Beat the mixture furiously with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough ball is formed.
- Return the pan back to the low heat and continuously beat to slightly cook the dough. The dough should come away from the sides of the pan and form a smooth, glossy ball.
- Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool until cool to the touch. I like to press the dough up against the sides of the bowl so it cools completely, through to the center.
- Beat the eggs, then gradually incorporate them into the dough using an electric whisk or mixer (you may not need all the egg). Beat well after each addition, it will be a sloppy wet dough, but continue mixing until it comes together. The dough is ready when it's thin enough to fall of the spoon into thick ribbons.
- Spoon the pastry dough into a piping bag fitted with a large open tip or star tip. Pipe 8, 4in lengths onto your prepared baking sheet.
- Before placing the baking sheet into the oven, sprinkle it with a few drops of water. Backe for 15 minutes.
- At 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 10 minutes, OR until golden brown and crisp.
- Remove the tray from the oven and carefully pierce the end of each pastry. Return to the oven to finish baking until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack while you prepare the filling.
- Whip the heavy cream, vanilla, and cinnamon until stiff. When you pull the whisk up it should form peaks that stand on their own.
- Once the eclairs have cooled completely, pipe the chilled spiced whipped cream. Alternatively you can slice and fill, but we like the taste and texture of a filled eclair.
- Heat the cream on the stove top on low until steaming, do not bring to a boil. Add the chocolate and let sit a moment to loosen and warm. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
- Either dip the top of the eclair into the chocolate or spoon over and allow to drip and coat the top. Serve chilled.