Classic French Chocolate Éclair Recipe

Chocolate éclair recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 

Prep: 2 hrs
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
326 Calories
24g Fat
23g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 326
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 10g 48%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 91mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 4g
Calcium 30mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

if you have ever looked in the window of a French Patisserie, you will almost always see a row of glistening, chocolate-covered, cream-filled chocolate éclair. They are a true classic, and we do not know ​anyone who does not enjoy eating them. How could you resist?

This traditional chocolate éclair recipe uses vanilla pastry cream as a filling and rich, almost ganache-like, chocolate glaze. Make this treat using a super simple choux pastry dough for a base, and you will have the exact pastry seen in bakery windows worldwide.

Not a seasoned baker? This chocolate éclair recipe is beyond delicious, very easy to make, and attractive, even if you're not a pro.

Ingredients

  • For the Choux Pastry Dough:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • For the Pastry Cream:
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Chocolate Glaze:
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this classic French chocolate éclair is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Choux Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for choux dough

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  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the water.

    Melt butter

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  3. Add salt and flour, and stir until a sticky batter is formed.

    Add salt and flour

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  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is smooth.

    Beat eggs

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  5. Preheat oven to 425 F, and lightly grease a baking sheet.

    Grease baking sheet

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  6. Spoon the prepared basic choux pastry dough into a pastry bag fitted with a wide, plain tip and pipe eight 5-inch lengths onto the baking sheet.

    Pipe dough

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  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the éclairs puff up and turn golden brown.

    Bake pastry dough

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  8. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before filling.

    Remove from oven allow to cool on wire rack

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  9. Makes enough dough for 8 medium-sized pastries.

    baked Choux pastry for Éclairs

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Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pastry cream ingredients

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  2. In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam.

    Warm milk

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  3. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is completely smooth.

    whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Once the milk is steaming, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg mixture.

    Whisk half of milk to the egg mixture

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk, continue stirring, and heat it for 1 to 2 minutes, until the custard reaches 170 F on a digital thermometer and is very thick.

    Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and chill before filling pastry.

    Stir in vanilla extract

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Make the Chocolate Glaze

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chocolate glaze ingredients

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  2. While the éclairs are baking and cooling, place the chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and set aside.

    chopped chocolate in a bowl

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  3. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream just to boiling over low-medium heat and remove from the heat immediately.

    Heat heavy cream

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  4. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until it forms a thin, smooth consistency.

    Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate

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  5. Set the chocolate glaze aside at room temperature for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Stir chocolate

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Assemble the Éclairs

  1. Fit a pastry bag with a medium-sized plain tip and fill it with vanilla pastry cream.

    Piping bag

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  2. Insert the tip of the bag into the end of an éclair and pipe about 2 1/2 tablespoons of pastry cream into it.

    Pipe cream into éclairs

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  3. Gently spread 1 tablespoon of chocolate glaze onto the éclair or carefully dip the top of each filled éclair into the glaze before serving.

    spread chocolate glaze

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  4. Serve and enjoy!

    Classic French Chocolate Éclair recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Raw Egg Warning

  • Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.

Recipe Variations

This recipe is truly a classic recipe and as such, however, a few little tweaks here and there can be fun and rings the changes:

  • Add a little espresso powder to the pastry cream to create a coffee flavor.
  • Add cocoa powder to the pastry cream for an overall chocolate taste. 

How to Store and Freeze

  • These are best the day they are made, but éclairs keep in a covered container for a day or two in the fridge. As they sit, the filling tends to get a little weepy.
  • You can, however, make the shells and refrigerate them a day or so ahead of time, along with the pastry cream, and then assemble the day you want to serve them.
  • Similarly, if you want to freeze the shells, place them on a baking sheet rimmed with wax or parchment paper until frozen. Transfer to a bag or a container (if you're worried about them getting bumped and broken in the freezer) for up to two months. Defrost at room temperature or in the fridge, and fill with pastry cream as directed in the recipe.