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.
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:
- Start off by preparing pastry shells, prepare ingredients (ingredients for custard are not presented on this picture):
- 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:
- Stir until butter is completely melted and add all flour:
- 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:
- 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):
- 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): For long eclairs I used the same tip, just piped dough horizontally into stripes about 4inch long: 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- Cool shells completely before filling with custard:
- 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:
- Repeat for all eclair shells and enjoy! Keep eclairs refrigerated until serving:
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.