Knowing that National Eclair Day was right around the corner, I started thinking about my "holiday" post. My favorite eclairs are not the long thin "traditional" hotdog shaped eclairs (although I like those), but rather, the mini-eclairs. Pâte à choux.. little puff pastry.. that I've been making for years that are simple to make and easy to fill. Well, I checked my blog, and lo and behold, I already posted about these eclairs last year on Chocolate Eclair Day. I think this is worthy of reposting. Hope you enjoy making these as much as I do!
I've adapted this recipe for Mini Chocolate Eclairs from Paula Deen. It is one of my favorites because it's easy and fabulous! I never use margarine, so I've dropped that alternative from the recipe. Real butter is always best. As always, I use the very best dark chocolate for the topping. I've changed a few measurements and directions in the recipe for the novice Eclair Chef. If you're a purist, just click on Paula Deen's recipe above.
Because these eclairs are so small, feel free to have 3 or 4. :-) Yield depends on how small you make them, but I usually get about 50 small eclairs. They're great for a crowd!
Want to make these even more chocolate-y? Add a handful of chocolate chips to the egg cream filling or fill with chocolate cream instead: just add 1/4 dark cocoa to the dry ingredients. To fill the eclairs, I use a pastry bag, but if you don't have one, you can always fill a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off to pipe the filling into the eclair.
You will probably have some extra icing. You can always half the recipe if you ice sparingly. I'm for more chocolate, so there's never much left.
MINI CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS
1 cup water
8 tbsp butter
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat water and butter to boiling point. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture is smooth and forms a ball when tested in cold water. Remove from heat and let cool. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time. Drop dough from teaspoon, elongate slightly to form small eclairs (or drop in 'puffs', onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until light brown. Set aside to cool.
3. Prepare filling by mixing all dry ingredients. Very slowly add milk over low heat and cook until mixture thickens (don't let the heat get too high), so you don't have any lumps. Then pour this custard into the beaten eggs, stirring quickly (so eggs don't cook). Cool and add vanilla.
4. With a serrated knife, slice pastry puffs lengthwise (or if you have puffs make a hole), but not all the way through. Pipe custard mixture into the center.
5. Melt chocolate for icing, add sugar and cream. Cook over medium heat until soft ball stage. Let cool and beat until smooth. Ice tops of the eclairs.
And, a Vintage Ad.. I don't use pudding for my filling... but thought you'd like to see this Ad:
Photo Eclairs: Food Network