Mini Chocolate Eclairs with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

The eclair is a classic French pastry traditionally made with choux dough, pastry cream filling and dipped in a rich chocolate glaze. This recipe is special because it features the beautiful flavor of Tahitian Vanilla. These eclairs are a fancy dessert that's fun to make at home.

Ingredients

Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Choux Pastry

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (for egg wash)
  • 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract

Directions

Pastry Cream

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring milk, scraped vanilla beans, vanilla seeds and vanilla extract to a boil, whisking occasionally. Once it starts to boil, immediately remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes to infuse.

In a medium-sized bowl or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, vigorously whisk together eggs and sugar for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in cornstarch and continue to whisk vigorously until lumps are gone.

Remove vanilla pods from milk. Temper the eggs by whisking in about 1/4 cup of the vanilla milk into the egg mixture (measurement doesn’t need to be exact). Once the milk is fully incorporated, whisk in the remaining milk and set the saucepan aside.

Pour the mixture through a sieve back into the saucepan, and continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly until cream begins to thicken and boil. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until completely melted.

Pour mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap gently touches the top of the pastry cream. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Choux Dough

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Butter should have melted.

Remove pan from heat and add flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes to form dough. The dough will resemble mashed potatoes when ready.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a large bowl using a hand mixer. Beat on medium-low speed to let the heat out of the dough until the dough is just warm to the touch.

With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time and fully mixing in each one before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed between each addition.

Transfer the dough to a pastry piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip and pipe the dough in even 3-inch strips. Use clean kitchen shears to snip the dough near the tip when you’re done piping each segment to reduce “tails”. Make sure strips of dough are two inches apart.

In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and the teaspoon of water and brush the tops of the dough with egg wash: this makes the pastry golden.

Bake for 8 minutes at 400°F, then turn down the oven temp to 350°F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. Exact baking time will depend on the size and shape of your pastries. Bake until the pastries are slightly puffed, golden-brown in color, and dry to the touch. They will detach easily from the parchment and feel hollow and light when you pick them up.

Remove from the oven and “test” one of the pastries. If it still seems a bit soggy/eggy, lower the heat to 300°F and bake for another 5 minutes to help dry out the puffs

Poke an end of each pastry with a toothpick to release any lingering steam from the inside and help prevent them from getting soggy.

Cool the pastries completely on a cooling rack and bake off the remaining dough.

Chocolate Ganache

Add chocolate chips to a small glass bowl and set aside.

Add heavy cream to a saucepan and bring to a light simmer, immediately remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips.

Add in the chocolate extract and allow the mixture to sit for 3 to 4 minutes before whisking into a rich chocolate ganache.

Assembly

Remove the pastry cream from the fridge and whip using a whisk, stand mixer, or hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a Bismarck tip.

Use a paring knife to slit one end of each of the pastries and insert the piping tip into the pastry to fill it with cream, pulling the tip out as you fill.

Gently dip the tops of the eclairs into the ganache and place on parchment paper to let the ganache set.

Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge until ready to consume.

Tip: Don’t throw the scraped bean away. Rinse and dry and store in a dark place at room temperature. As long as the bean is fragrant, moist and pliable, it still holds flavor.

 

Notes:

Recipe by Sugar & Soul 

Pastry Cream

  • 320 ml whole milk
  • 1 Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Choux Pastry

  • 240 ml water
  • 113.5 grams unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 148 grams all-purpose flour (120 grams plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (for egg wash)
  • 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)

For The Chocolate Ganache

  • 180 grams dark chocolate chips
  • 120 ml heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract

Directions

Pastry Cream

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring milk, scraped vanilla beans, vanilla seeds and vanilla extract to a boil, whisking occasionally. Once it starts to boil, immediately remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes to infuse.

In a medium-sized bowl or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, vigorously whisk together eggs and sugar for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in cornstarch and continue to whisk vigorously until lumps are gone.

Remove vanilla pods from milk. Temper the eggs by whisking in about 60 ml of the vanilla milk into the egg mixture (measurement doesn’t need to be exact). Once the milk is fully incorporated, whisk in the remaining milk and set the saucepan aside.

Pour the mixture through a sieve back into the saucepan, and continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly until cream begins to thicken and boil. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until completely melted.

Pour mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap gently touches the top of the pastry cream. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Choux Dough

Preheat the oven to 204°C. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Butter should have melted.

Remove pan from heat and add flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes to form dough. The dough will resemble mashed potatoes when ready.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a large bowl using a hand mixer. Beat on medium-low speed to let the heat out of the dough until the dough is just warm to the touch.

With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time and fully mixing in each one before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed between each addition.

Transfer the dough to a pastry piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip and pipe the dough in even 8-centimeter strips. Use clean kitchen shears to snip the dough near the tip when you’re done piping each segment to reduce “tails”. Make sure strips of dough are five centimeters apart.

In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and the teaspoon of water and brush the tops of the dough with egg wash: this makes the pastry golden.

Bake for 8 minutes at 204°C, then turn down the oven temp to 177°C and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. Exact baking time will depend on the size and shape of your pastries. Bake until the pastries are slightly puffed, golden-brown in color, and dry to the touch. They will detach easily from the parchment and feel hollow and light when you pick them up.

Remove from the oven and “test” one of the pastries. If it still seems a bit soggy/eggy, lower the heat to 149°C and bake for another 5 minutes to help dry out the puffs

Poke an end of each pastry with a toothpick to release any lingering steam from the inside and help prevent them from getting soggy.

Cool the pastries completely on a cooling rack and bake off the remaining dough.

Chocolate Ganache

Add chocolate chips to a small glass bowl and set aside.

Add heavy cream to a saucepan and bring to a light simmer, immediately remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips.

Add in the chocolate extract and allow the mixture to sit for 3 to 4 minutes before whisking into a rich chocolate ganache.

Assembly

Remove the pastry cream from the fridge and whip using a whisk, stand mixer, or hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a Bismarck tip.

Use a paring knife to slit one end of each of the pastries and insert the piping tip into the pastry to fill it with cream, pulling the tip out as you fill.

Gently dip the tops of the eclairs into the ganache and place on parchment paper to let the ganache set.

Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge until ready to consume.

Tip: Don’t throw the scraped bean away. Rinse and dry and store in a dark place at room temperature. As long as the bean is fragrant, moist and pliable, it still holds flavor.

 

Notes:

Recipe by Sugar & Soul 

  • 40 minprep

  • 55 mincook

  • 48eclairs

This Recipe Uses

Tahitian Vanilla Bean

Tahitian Vanilla Beans

Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract 4oz

Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract

Pure Chocolate Extract 4oz

Pure Chocolate Extract