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Eclairs

Making this classic French pastry at home is easier than you think.

  • Yield: Makes 30

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2002

Ingredients

  • Pastry Cream
  • Pate a Choux
  • Vegetable oil, for plastic wrap
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the center. Line two unrimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats (French nonstick baking mats).

  2. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch (Ateco No. 806) tip with pate a choux batter; pipe out oblong shapes, about 3 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide, onto prepared baking sheets at 2-inch intervals. Gently run a fork dipped in water along each top, making straight lines to ensure even rising.

  3. Cover one baking sheet with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator. Transfer the second sheet to the oven. Bake 10 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Turn off oven; prop door open slightly to let steam escape. Allow eclairs to dry in oven about 15 minutes, or until the center is damp but no wet dough remain (test by cutting into the center of one). Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Raise heat back to 425 degrees and repeat process with remaining batch. If serving immediately, fill eclairs while still warm so they can take more cream; if filling at a later time, insert a skewer into one end, and move it around to expand opening for cream; set aside.

  4. In a medium bowl, stir pastry cream to soften. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and filling tip (Ateco No. 230) with pastry cream. Insert tip into one end of each eclair; fill. Serve, or glaze as follows.

  5. To make the glaze, combine 1/4 cup water, corn syrup, and s ugar in a small saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil, washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Once at a boil, remove from heat; add chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes; stir gently until smooth. Transfer glaze to a shallow bowl. Dip top of each eclair into glaze; let excess drip off before turning over. Transfer to a wire rack to allow glaze to set. Serve.

Variations

Chocolate is the classic eclair topping, but you can make coffee icing by whisking together 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 3 tablespoons brewed coffee. Make icing just before serving.

Cook's Notes

Glazed eclairs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 day.

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