For almost a year, I indulged in French patisserie like there was going to be no tomorrow. Picture… my 20 year old self… living far from home and family… working in a high school (lycée) in the South of France… feeling homesick at times… often frustrated by the antics of my puberty-stricken students… but thankfully, more often than not, delighting in the company that I kept, along with the food, wine and lifestyle of my beautiful adopted country. I really must confess that I must have been in complete denial that so many ‘tartes aux framboises’, ‘croques-monsieurs’, ‘poulet-frites’ and ‘ficelles’ slathered with Nutella could possibly cause a transformation of my general body shape. Oh dear… the wine and beer as well! My wage while working as an English ‘Assistante’ was certainly not a grand one, so I hate to now think how much of it I invested in the local patisserie/boulangerie and inevitably in that burgeoning waist-line.
Alas, the days of over-indulging in the richest of French food are over. Moderation is most certainly the key my friends! So despite my story of weight-gain through patisserie, I ask you to ignore all that I’ve said above and please join me in partaking of this absolutely delicious afternoon treat… just be sure not to eat them all in one sitting! Eclairs are fun and easy (yes… EASY!) to make. Give them a go!
French Chocolate Eclairs (Éclairs au Chocolat) | Gather and Graze
- ½ Quantity Choux Pastry (Recipe Here)
- 300ml/1¼ Cups Heavy Cream
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 115g/½ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
- 125ml/½ Cup Water
- 60g/⅓ Cup (70% Cocoa) Dark Chocolate (Chopped)
- 30g/2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Chopped)
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking/parchment paper.
Prepare the Choux pastry dough as per the recipe for Profitéroles (in the link above), but instead of piping round puffs onto the baking trays, pipe long sausage shapes instead.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp all over. As soon as they are out of the oven, move them onto a cooling rack and place a little slit in the side of each one to allow any steam to escape from the middle. Allow to cool completely.
Whip the cream and vanilla extract to medium peaks, then set aside in the fridge until the chocolate glaze is ready to go.
To make the chocolate glaze, combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved completely. Bring to a boil and allow to boil rapidly for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down a little, before adding in the chocolate and butter. Stir again until completely melted and combined. As it cools a little more it will start to thicken.
Using a piping bag, pipe the whipped cream into the middle of the eclairs through the same slit that was cut to allow any steam out.
Now spoon over the still slightly warm chocolate glaze. Place back on the cooling rack and allow the glaze to set for a minutes, before serving.
- The method for making the chocolate glaze was adapted from that of a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe.
These look delicious.
Those eclairs look amazing, I love them. When I was a child there was a baker (definitely not a patisserie) who made eclairs out of doughnuts – imagine that for a burgeoning waistline!!
Hello Margot, may I know which plugin are you using for your recipes? I love that you can print or save as a pdf that’s really usefull.
It’s a really great feature to have, so that people don’t need to print the entire post. I’m not on a self-hosted site, so it’s not a plugin as such. For me on wordpress.com it’s been a matter of wrapping some particular text around the recipe on each post. Hopefully the link below will explain it better… but please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any further questions. Cheers, Margot
Thank you really much Margot. I will have a look. Natacha.
I gained 12 pounds in a month in France eating eclairs, croissants, and all other manner of tarts and pastries. That’s overindulgence! These look beautiful and delicious, though I’m still not sure I can pull it off. I would just like to take a plate from your kitchen!
Oh Ngan, it’s so reassuring to know that I’m not the only one to get over-excited and lose all self-control when it comes to the real deal of French patisserie! 😉 I know for sure that you could pull these off without any trouble at all – hope that you give them a go sometime!
Margot, your eclairs look stunning! The photos are so tempting. In Italy, we make something similar but I don’t use butter in my chocolate glaze.
You story reminded me of my summers spent in Switzerland when I was a teenager. My parents used to send me to a Swiss boarding school to practice several sports and perfect languages. I went there until I turned 18. The first year I was really homesick and I discovered crepes with chestnut jam. Simply to die for. I ate so many and gained so much weight that my parents couldn’t recognize me at the end of the summer and I thought I wouldn’t be able to walk through my home’s doors! 😉
Thank you Francesca for your very kind words. 🙂 It’s interesting… each time I read your posts and learn a little more about you, I’m coming to realise that our personalities and philosophies on life seem to run along very similar lines. Lovely to have a kindred spirit out there… despite the fact that you’re on the other side of the world!
Yum! These look gorgeous!
Thanks so much Nell! 🙂
I have been tempted to make choux pastry a number of times, Margo. It seems easy enough and one cannot find fault in its uses, be that puffs or éclairs — and therein lies my problem. I would have no self control once either was made. I cannot leave a bakery without at least on éclair in a box. Still, I’m pinning your recipe. Éclairs would make such a nice dessert when friends are joining me for dinner — and I could sample as many as I want, quality control being so very important. 😉
Ah yes, the old quality control… incredibly important John! 😉 They certainly do make a lovely dessert… or perhaps mini eclairs to go with coffee/tea for after… I also still love baking up a batch of gougeres to have with an aperitif on the weekends – so delicious! Hope you had a wonderful weekend.
I love eclairs! With chocolate, strawberries or some cream.. I order them in restaurants, but at home.. I’ve made them long time ago, even can’t remember when! 😀 You inspire me to try again!
Have a nice week!
Thanks Mila! I do hope you try making them at home again… and some sliced strawberries wedged in the middle with the cream would be so delicious too! I’ll be trying that next time. 🙂
Not fair, not fair, not fair! I’m dying and drooooooling over here. Not kidding.
🙂 I wish I could send you some Azita!
They look so perfect and I’m … um … drooling. *Sorry*. You say they’re easy but it must be hard to make them look as good as yours do.
No need to apologise Trix… I’ve done my fair share of drooling over eclairs too! They really are easy to make – if I can do it, anyone can. 🙂 Hope you have a lovely weekend!
What a wonderful experience you must have had to live, work and eat in France! I envy you 🙂 Your eclairs look amazing I would love one now with my cup of tea! Hope you are having a great weekend!
It was fantastic Karen! Still so many vivid, wonderful memories in my mind from that particular year of my life… even though it was over 20 years ago now! Thanks for your lovely words… wish I could drop a couple of these off to you to go with your cup of tea!
I was in the south of France recently and loved eating all sorts of gorgeous treats that I would rarely indulge in at home. I never did try eclairs though…yours look so delicious they’re tempting me back into holiday food!
Great to hear that you indulged in these kinds of treats while you were away Sam – particularly when they are the local specialities… isn’t it what makes travelling to foreign countries so exciting!? Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful spring weather! 🙂
oh your indulgent days sound lovely!! These look delicious, I love a good eclair!
Ahh, thanks Gab! I do have very fond memories of my time in France… I’d love to go and spend another year or two living in that part of the world!
Your éclairs aux chocolats are mouthwatering, Margot. They look perfect. Love your experience about living in South of France, beautiful region!
Absolutely Linda, the South of France is such a beautiful part of the world! I do miss it terribly and start to crave a trip back there every few years… such a shame Australia is on the other side of the world! Thanks for your kind words… we very much enjoyed the eclairs! 🙂
These are really what I should be making right now instead of jam tarts. But I wouldn’t eat them with anything like moderation! I’ll have to try and do religieuse as well as they were always my favourites. And I’m gonna nick the chocolate glaze!
Oh, I wouldn’t go past a jam tart Johnny, if there was one on offer! So many great variations with choux pastry as well though… I still need to master the art of a good creme patissiere, then I’ll be set! Oh and spun toffee too… for a spectacular croquembouche! Feel free to nick the glaze – it’s deliciously sweet, which is perfect as there’s no added sweetness coming from the choux or cream. Hope the sun is shining in your part of England today!
Absolutely stunning eclairs! I adore choux pastry and you’ve reminded me how easy it is to make…time to get making some 🙂
Tanya, I’m so happy to read your words “you’ve reminded me how easy it is to make”! I hope others are encouraged by hearing that and give it a go. How many more weeks until the oven goes in? Or do you have a friendly neighbour who would let you bake a batch in theirs? 🙂
Yay – we just bought a very good condition second hand oven as the full kitchen renovation is some way off. Sunday roast today methinks!
Oh that’s great to hear – I’m really happy for you Tanya! Enjoy the Sunday roast!
These are so elegant Margot. Like Laura I imagine Eclairs to be very difficult to make. To hear (and see) they are easy is quite surprising. Sitting down to a plate of these in the afternoon would be a sure way to see what the term “moderation” means to me. Your photographs are beautiful. Lovely post.
Such a kind comment Seana… thank you! They really are super easy… in my opinion choux pastry is easier to make than other types of pastry… quicker too, in that the dough doesn’t need to rest before baking. Just a matter of giving it a go and following the tips in the recipe to ensure the eggs don’t scramble… 🙂 I really hope you give it a try!
Margot, I am just short of licking the screen here! Those eclairs look perfect! Choux is something I have yet to master. My last attempt went horribly wrong. I am inspired to give it another try 🙂
Naina, it’s definitely worth trying again… with this recipe and the tip to make sure the mixture cools down enough before adding in the eggs (to avoid any scrambling occurring) I don’t think you could go wrong. Thanks so much for your lovely comment! 🙂
This classic dessert never loses its appeal. Great job. 🙂
Thank you very much! Classics are classics for good reason, aren’t they!
They look FABULOUS, oh my do I love eclairs and I have already saved your choux recipe and plan on making these beauties!!
Thanks Suzanne… love to hear how they go if you make up a batch! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Where you been, Margot? I guess the correct question should be “Where have I been?” I can’t believe how much I’ve missed. I’m really behind. But I know I’m not going to miss eclairs. They look fabulous! 🙂
Thanks Angie… lovely to see you here! You my friend are a master of choux pastry… so your kind words about my eclairs (with the dripping chocolate glaze… ’cause I was too impatient to wait any longer before eating one!) are much appreciated! Apologies for not joining in with FF recently… you know how I shy away from crowds. M.xx
I’ve never freally thought of choux pastry as being ‘easy’ but I do believe you Margot!! Maybe I should get over my phobia and try them out! Haha… I’ve been trying so hard to maintain ‘moderation’ whilst over here. It’s definitely easier said than done when there are pastry shops, delicatessens and wine bars around every corner (a dwindling bank account does help though! I’ll be back in Aussieland eating beans in one week!). Great post. Sounds like a fun year in spite of the expanding waistline! xx
Oh Laura… I’m excited to know that you’ll be back home in Perth within the week! I hope you’re feeling ready to come home… you’ve seen and done so many wonderful things/places over the past few months! As for the choux pastry… it’s actually easier (and quicker!) to make than shortcrust. The only issue being, once those little puffs or eclairs are out of the oven and have been stuffed with cream or creme patissiere, it’s all about finding that self-control to not stuff your face with them! Lovely to hear from you and hope the trip home goes well! M.xx