I’m kinda obsessed with giving myself baking challenges. I always want to see how I can fare with difficult and technical recipes. When I first started baking , pate a choux was my first technical pastry I tried making.
The perfect pate a choux pastry is golden and crisp on the outside and hollow in the inside, ready to be filled with pastry cream or whipped cream. If your measurements or technique are off you might end up with a dense or soggy eclair which are not good eats.
The first thing you need to know about pate a choux is that it’s all about having the right ratio. Pate a choux is 2 parts water and egg and 1 part butter and flour by weight.
I know most people don’t have kitchen scales at home so I measured out each ingredient using US standard units after weighing them.
When you pipe out the eclairs don’t worry if you have peaks just smooth them down while you brush on the egg wash. Also don’t skip the water mist as they help the pate choux puff up.
Pate a choux is also the base dough for eclairs, profiteroles, french crullers, Pari-brest and gougeres. You can fill them with savory or sweet fillings; however, I much prefer the sweeter pate a choux pastries.
I mean, who doesn’t love a good cream puff?
I decided to revisit my earlier baking days since the baby was kind enough to take a 4 hour nap today. Woohoo! My favorite dessert to make with pate a choux is the eclair.
It’s the best cross between a cream-filled donut and a pastry. Ugh. So.Freaking.Good.
I ended up making these for a potluck for my first mommy group meeting. It’s tough being so far away from my friends and family and I’m looking to find my one true mom-mate. These eclairs are my test as they must eat carbs to be my friend. 😀
Give these eclairs a try, just follow my steps and I promise you’ll be rewarded!
Check Out Video Version of Coffee Eclairs Recipe
- ½ cup water
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 3 eggs, divided
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- ½ tsp espresso powder
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 425 F.
- In a small heavy bottom saucepan on medium heat, add water, butter and sugar. Once the mixture is boiling, add flour and stir with a spatula. Stir until a there is a thin coating of dough on the saucepan.
- Spoon dough into a large bowl. Stir for 1 minute to cool. Add two eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition.
- Spoon dough into a piping bag and pipe 5 inch lines on a parchment- lined baking sheet. Brush each eclair with egg wash and mist with water. You can also dip you hand in water and flick droplets onto the baking sheet if you don't have a spray bottle.
- Bake at 425 F for 12 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 F and bake an additional 20 minutes or until eclairs are golden brown. Do not open the oven door while they bake, you want the heat to dry out the center of the eclairs. Once baked, poke a hole on the side of each eclair and let cool.
- Add milk, vanilla extract and espresso powder to a saucepan. Scald the milk over medium heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until pale yellow.
- Temper the yolks by adding ½ cup of the scalded milk to them. Whisk continuously for 1 minute to prevent the egg from cooking.
- Pour the eggs mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Heat this on high heat while whisking continuously.The pastry cream will thicken as the cornstarch is activated by the heat.
- Once the cream thickens, pour the pastry cream through a sieve into a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the cream to prevent a skin. Refrigerate the cream until cool.
- Once cool, pour the pastry cream into a piping bag fit with a small piping tip.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Use 1 tbsp of milk initially and add more if needed to get the right consistency.
- Push the piping tip into the edge of the eclair and pipe the cream in until full. Dip the top of the eclair into the glaze and set on a rack. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!