Chocolate Éclairs with Vanilla Bean Crème Patissière

My husband grew up in Wisconsin.

He likes whole milk. And cheese. And bratwurst. And custard.

He always chooses the custard-filled doughnut.

With a glass of whole milk.

Always whole milk.

I don’t think anyone ever told him that the rest of America has coffee with their doughnuts.

Chocolate Éclairs with Vanilla Bean Crème Patissière
(Wisconsinites read: misshapen cream puffs with vanilla custard filling)
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz and Martha Stewart, courtesy of La Mia Vita Dolce

Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour
Makes about 1 dozen

For the pâte à choux puffs
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

For the vanilla bean crème pâtissière
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 vanilla beans, split
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the chocolate ganache glaze
4 ounces (115 g) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream (35%)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

For the pâte à choux puffs
Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine the water, butter, sugar and salt in a medium-sized saucepan and set over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil.

Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously, until the mixture forms a thick paste and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.

Remove from the heat.  Wait for 2 minutes, stirring the paste a few times to cool it slightly.

Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, making sure each one is completely incorporated before adding the next.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip with the pastry dough.  Pipe out oblong shapes, about 4 1/2-inches long and 1 inch wide, onto prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart.

Bake until the choux puffs are golden brown on the tops and sides, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Turn off the oven and let them rest in the oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and poke each choux puff on each end with a small paring knife so that it releases its steam. Place the choux puffs on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the vanilla bean crème pâtissière
In a small saucepan over medium heat, scald the milk, heavy cream, and vanilla beans by bringing the mixture just to a boil.  Remove from heat, cover, and let set for 10 to 12 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the flour and continue to whisk until smooth.

Remove the vanilla beans from the hot milk mixture.  Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture.  Whisk the mixture until completely smooth and lump free.

Return the mixture to the saucepan, and place over medium heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour the crème pâtissière into a small bowl.  Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the crème pâtissière to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the chocolate ganache glaze
Place the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl.

Bring the cream just to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add the corn syrup; whisk to combine.

Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate.  Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt.

Using a spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream until totally combined; begin near the center of the bowl and gradually work your way toward the edge, pulling in as much as possible, until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Insert a wooden skewer into one end of the choux puff, and move it around to expand opening for the crème pâtissière. Repeat on the other end; set aside.  Repeat with remaining choux puffs.

Transfer the pastry cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed until smooth.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small coupler and small plain tip with crème pâtissière.  Insert tip into one end of each choux puff; fill, repeat with the other end; set aside.

Dip top of each choux puff into the chocolate ganache glaze; let excess drip off before turning éclair over.  Transfer to a wire rack to allow the chocolate ganache glaze to set.  Serve immediately, or store éclairs in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 day.

2 Comments on Chocolate Éclairs with Vanilla Bean Crème Patissière

  1. Caleigh
    August 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm (5 years ago)

    Your posts are very inspiring! and those look delicious by the way. 🙂

  2. Amanda
    August 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm (5 years ago)

    You are the best wife on the planet… I read that whole thing, it sounds like so much work!!


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