Classic French Chocolate Éclair Recipe

Chocolate éclair recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 

Prep: 2 hrs
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
413 Calories
27g Fat
34g Carbs
10g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 413
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 15g 77%
Cholesterol 237mg 79%
Sodium 155mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 92mg 7%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 202mg 4%
*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 large eggs

For the Pastry Cream:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 2 tablespoons 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

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.

    Melt butter

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  3. Add salt and flour, and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together in a ball and pulls away from the sides, and a film develops on the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute. Continue to stir the dough for another minute (it'll be an arm workout) to cook the dough and evaporate moisture.

    Add salt and flour

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Remove from heat and let the dough cool down, stirring once in a while, about 5 minutes. 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 20 to 30 minutes, until the éclairs are puffed, golden brown, hard on the outside and dry inside. If the interior is moist, the eclair shells could collapse.

    Bake pastry dough

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  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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Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pastry cream ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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

    Warm milk

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, 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, and continue stirring. Heat until the custard reaches 170 F on a digital thermometer and is very thick, about 3 minutes.

    Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the fridge or over an ice bath until completely cooled.

    Stir in vanilla extract

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Make the Chocolate Glaze

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chocolate glaze ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  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

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  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

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  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 (about 1/4 inch wide) and fill it with vanilla pastry cream.

    Piping bag

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Poke a small hole with the tip of a paring knife into the end of an eclair and insert the tip of the bag. Pipe about 2 1/2 tablespoons of pastry cream into it.

    Pipe cream into éclairs

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Gently spread 1 tablespoon of chocolate glaze onto the éclair or carefully dip the top of each filled éclair into the glaze. Chill for a few minutes to set the ganache before serving.

    spread chocolate glaze

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  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. Re-crisp the shells on a baking sheet in a 350 F oven. Let cool completely before filling with pastry cream as directed in the recipe.