Friday, July 25, 2014


I have advice for your first attempt at eclairs or any other component based French dessert.  Don't try to do all the components in 1 day.  Bake the shells and freeze them.  They are just as good if you pop them in the oven to re-crisp for 5 minutes.  Make pastry cream some other day.  It will be happy in the fridge for a couple of days.  The day you are ready to assemble your eclairs, make sure you are equipped with at least twice as much heavy cream as diplomat cream calls for.  In case you over-whip your first batch of cream, you'll have a back up.  Now all you have left is ganache, and even I won't tell you that it's hard.  Ganache is indeed easy-peasy.

In case you are wondering what corn syrup is doing in ganache, let me explain.  We are using ganache as a glaze and although we want it to solidify in the fridge, we want it to stay soft and maintain a light sheen.  If ganache is left to its own devices it will become hard and the texture balance of the eclair will be off.

Makes about 16 eclairs, 5" long

1 recipe pate a choux baked into eclair shapes
1 recipe diplomat cream
1 recipe ganache (see below)


Note: you can buy the chocolate in chip form to save the time chopping it.

4 oz bittersweet chocolate (55%-65%), chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp light corn syrup

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream just to a simmer or microwave it in a bowl.  Take of heat.  Add the chocolate and syrup and let sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk until smooth.  Make this right before using since it's not easy to reheat.  If you do have leftover ganache, warm it up over a bowl of hot water whisking constantly.

With a sharp paring knife, poke a 1/2 inch hole in each end of eclairs.  Cover one hole with your finger and pipe diplomat cream into the other hole using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip (or smaller).  The exact size doesn't matter.  As long as the tip fits the hole, you are fine.  You'll know you put in enough cream when the finger covering the other hole can feel the cream.  Dunk each eclair into ganache and refrigerate for about an hour to let ganache set.  Keep refrigerated before serving.  Ideally, serve in less than 6 hours to prevent the pastry shell from softening too much, but they should hold for up to 24 hours.


Unknown said...

This looks deslishes! Will try it soon.


Anna said...

What brand bakeware do you use? Mine are all coated with something and when I look at your blog they do not seem to have that teflon or whatever.


Helen said...

Hi Anna,

I use standard commercial half sheets. You can buy them on amazon:

They are cheap and indestructible. Unlike stainless steel skillets, you don't need to wash the baking sheets to mirror shine finish. With age, they get a yellow brown patina and get all spotted, but that's fine.

Anna said...

Thank you very much:-)