Eclairs with Vanilla Custard

March 17th, 2012 in Desserts by
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Total cooking time: 1h 30min  
Eclairs with Vanilla Custard

Eclairs with Vanilla Custard

While preparing for this post I got some difficulties translating name as well as figuring origin of the recipe.

I guess the general decision was that the recipe is french, however I never ate eclairs prepared by french cook, so I can’t prove that this is exactly the same recipe.

This is recipe as eclairs are cooked in Russia, russian name of that pastry is “zavarnye pirozhennye” and it relates to the way the dough is cooked by boiling.

The common name in english speaking worlds seems to be eclairs, however this only related to long shaped pastry. Round ones are often called cream puffs, even though they are only different in shape.

I do fill these with vanilla custard, but other fillings can be used as well: whipped cream (these would need to be served as soon as made or cream needs to be stabilized), butter and condensed milk filling, and so on.

Ingredients:


  • Eclair Shells:

    3.5 oz butter
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon of salt


  • Vanilla Custard Filling:

    2.5 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cups of sugar (or more to taste)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • Vanilla extract to taste

How to prepare, step-by-step:

  1. Start off by preparing pastry shells, prepare ingredients (ingredients for custard are not presented on this picture):
    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 1

    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 1

  2. Pour a cup of water to the cooking pot with thick bottom, add all butter, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/3 teaspoon of salt, bring to boil over moderate heat, mix:
    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 2

    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 2

  3. Stir until butter is completely melted and add all flour:
    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 3

    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 3

  4. Keep pot on burner and stir vigorously with a spoon (if you have wooden spoon with long handle – it will work the best) until mixture leaves pan sides and start forming ball around the spoon, then remove from the heat, cover with a lid and set aside for 10-15 mins to cool down:
    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 4

    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 4

  5. Mix eggs in, one by one, beating each lightly in the cup before adding; incorporate each egg into mixture completely before adding next one. Amount of eggs may vary between 4 and 5 depending on size of eggs, so add last egg gradually until batter gains required consistency – it shouldn’t trickle down if ladled with spoon (if batter is too liquid – shells will be flat, if batter is too stiff – shells will be not rise and may not cook properly):
    Beat one egg

    Beat one egg

    Mix it in completely

    Mix it in completely

    Repeat for remaining eggs

    Repeat for remaining eggs



  6. Lay 2 shallow baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer batter to a pastry bag or press (if you don’t have these use simple ziplock bag, just cut one side off to pipe dough through). Remember that during baking dough will rise at least double, so leave enough space between dough portions as well as from sides of baking pans.


    For this recipe I prepared eclairs of 2 shapes: small round and long – you can do the same or just one, whatever you prefer.


    For round ones piped 1.5-2 inch of dough in diameter using star tip (for these you can also use spoons):
    Use star tip to form smaller shells

    Use star tip to form smaller shells


    For long eclairs I used the same tip, just piped dough horizontally into stripes about 4inch long:
    Use the same tip on 45 degrees to make long eclairs

    Use the same tip on 45 degrees to make long eclairs


    Warm oven up to 400F. Make sure it is warmed up completely, put one baking pan in and don’t open the oven door all the way until eclairs are ready, or they may not rise. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 355F and bake for 10 minutes more:
  7. While eclair shells are cooking, let’s cook vanilla custard filling and set it aside to cool down. I do have detailed recipe for vanilla custard in separate article, so I will only put short recap here:
    Mix egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and flour

    Mix egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and flour

    Stir boiled milk in

    Stir boiled milk in

    Bring to heat and cook to needed thickness

    Bring to heat and cook to needed thickness



  8. Remove cooked eclair shells from the oven, increase heat back to 400F and cook second batch (20 mins on 400F and 10 mins on 355F); pierce each of cooked shells 2-3 times with a toothpick:
    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 8

    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 8

  9. Cool shells completely before filling with custard:
    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 9a

    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 9a


    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 9b

    Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Recipe: Step 9b

  10. Again, for filling eclairs you can use pastry decorator or pastry bag with a thin tip, if you don’t have these you can cut a top part of eclair shell and put custard inside with a spoon. Both eclair shells and custard should be cooled down to room temperature before you can fill eclairs:
    Fill decorator with custard

    Fill decorator with custard

    Inject custard into round shell from the top

    Inject custard into round shell from the top

    Fill eclair with custard from a side

    Fill eclair with custard from a side



  11. Repeat for all eclair shells and enjoy! Keep eclairs refrigerated until serving:
    Small shape eclairs

    Small shape eclairs

    Long eclairs and  smaller puffs

    Long eclairs and smaller puffs

    Puffs close-up

    Puffs close-up




    If amount of custard isn’t enough to fill all shells – fill the rest with whipped cream and decorate with strawberries.

    Ready eclairs can be decorated with confectioner’s sugar or chocolate glaze if you wish.


  12. Enjoy!

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9 Responses to “Eclairs with Vanilla Custard”

  1. Evelina says:

    Julia, as usual a tasty, well explained and beautifully illustrated recipe. This is the same recipe my uses and eclairs come out divine! I’m a terrible baker so I generally stick with cooking, but you made eclairs looks so easy to prepare, I’m definitely going to try. I used to cut the tops off and used the spoon for both placing the dough and the filling, it just made things a little more cumbersome and sometimes messy. I love the idea of using a pastry bag for the dough and the cream.\

    The only thing missing is the chocolate sauce/glaze. Can you post a recipe for that one as well? Thank you!

    • Seriously, I thought that eclairs were hard to make myself, but then I tried – they are not so hard at all…

      I never did glaze myself, there are many different recipes for it, so I don’t know what to suggest :). But you can simply melt chocolate and cover eclairs with it – I bet this will be the easiest way. I also saw ppl dust eclairs covered with melted chocolate with dried coconut if you care for it …

  2. That’s a good question, I wonder if there is just one name we use in English for the type of dough. In general the round ones are cream puffs OR profiteroles and the long ones are eclairs. I thought you explained very well. Vanilla custard is my favorite filling as well, with chocolate sauce on top. Sometimes we put vanilla ice cream in them before serving. I’m inspired to make these!

  3. Evelina says:

    I made these a couple of days ago, and they came out fantastic. The only thing I noticed is that you forgot to mention where the sugar and salt go (which step?) in the preparation of the shells. Also, do you have a way that you keep the eclairs fresh without letting them get soggy? I placed them in a container in the fridge and they got soggy. :(

    • Oh you are right, I forgot to write about salt and sugar, probably was occupied trying to explain how to deal with eggs – these are tricky. Thank you for bringing my attention to it.

      I’ve added info to the step 1: both, salt and sugar for dough are to be added to the melted buter.

      Regarding you question, I usually store them on a plate covered with a microwave lid (one with holes in it) in fridge. And usually they don’t have time to get soggy, because they are fast eaten :).

      Did you fill them with vanilla custard or whipped cream? Cream has tendency to get liquid after some time if not stabilized, that may make dough soggy.

      Also important thing: both dough shells and custard should be cooled down to room temperature before filling eclairs with custard.

      • Evelina says:

        Thanks! I actually added the salt and sugar to the flour, without problems. I filled them with vanilla custard, and the eclairs were perfect the first day, but after being in the fridge for a few hours they got soggy. :( Maybe the key is to not seal them with a lid, but use the method you mentioned, letting in a bit of air. How in advance can you prepare these for them to still be fresh at the serving time.

        • It also can be that the dough shells were too soft, maybe a bit more flour / less eggs are needed. It is hard to predict amounts because eggs vary in size.

          I think sealing may cause the issue describe, but I never faced it myself.

          I usually cook them a nigh before I need to serve them, but they are usually good for few of days after.

  4. pat says:

    Hi, I’ve had my shells go soft before. They are easily reinvigorated by a 10 minute rebake in a hot oven. also applies after they have been frozen. Not suitable once they’ve been filled however. thanks for pics and post, it’s inspirational

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