Cream Puffs and Éclairs

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Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 12 pastries

Recipe photo

The same easy pastry batter makes the light and airy confections we know as cream puffs, and chocolate éclairs. Cream puffs, round and fat, are filled with whipped cream and dusted with a blizzard of confectioners' sugar. Pipe the batter into longer ropes, you end up with log-shaped éclairs, ready to be filled with pastry cream and drizzled with chocolate icing.

Cream Puffs and Éclairs

star rating (18) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 12 pastries
Published: 04/11/2012

Ingredients

Pastry shells

Cream puff filling

  • 1 pint heavy or whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate éclair filling

Icing

  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream

Tips from our bakers

  • Want to make profiteroles? Fill cream puff shells with ice cream, and drizzle with the sauce of your choice; chocolate is traditional.
  • Our pastry cream filling mix is a real time-saver; you'll need about 3 cups. Or, pour 3 cups milk into a bowl (the higher-fat the milk, the richer the filling); add the contents of 2 regular-size boxes of vanilla instant pudding mix, plus 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat until thick, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • If you want to make the whipped cream a day ahead, be sure to stabilize it with whipped cream stabilizer. If you don't, it'll become watery overnight.
  • To shape éclairs without a pastry bag, place a sandwich bag into a glass, rolling its edge over the rim to hold it in place. Spoon the batter into the bag. Cut off 1 corner of the bag, making a 1/2" cut. Squeeze the batter onto the baking sheet through the hole in the corner.
  • Want to prepare pastries ahead? Make the shells, and store them at room temperature, lightly covered. Your best bet is to whip the cream no more than several hours ahead of time, unless you stabilize it with whipped cream stabilizer (see tip above). Pastry cream filling/pudding can be made several days ahead. Icing can be made several days ahead, and reheated. Fill (and ice) pastries just before serving.

Directions

see this recipe's blog »

Before you begin: note that the pastry recipe will make 12 cream puffs OR 12 éclairs. The filling recipes (whipped cream, and pastry cream) make enough for 12 pastries each. The icing recipe makes enough for 12 éclairs.

1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.

3) Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously.

4) Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than a minute.

5) Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It'll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should be below 125°F.

6) Transfer the mixture to a mixer, and beat in the eggs one at a time; it'll look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg.

7) Using a generously filled tablespoon cookie scoop, or a level muffin scoop, drop the thick batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3- to 4-tablespoon mounds. Space the mounds about 3" apart, to allow for expansion. For éclairs, pipe the batter into 5" logs about 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter.

8) Bake the pastries for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until pastries are a medium golden brown. Don't open the oven door while the pastries are baking.

9) Remove the pastries from the oven. Make a small slit in the top of each, and return them to the oven for 5 minutes, to allow the steam to escape. Place them on a rack to cool. When they're cool enough to handle, split each in half to make top and bottom pieces; splitting and exposing the centers to air will help keep them from becoming soggy.

10) To make the cream puff filling: Pour the cream into a mixing bowl, and begin to whip it on high speed (using your mixer's whisk attachment, if you have one). Sprinkle in the sugar gradually as the cream whips. Whip until stiff, but be careful not to over-whip; cream should still look smooth.

11) Fill the bottom halves of the puffs with whipped cream, then replace their tops. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve.

12) To make the éclair filling: Prepare your favorite pastry cream filling; see tips at left for our favorite. You'll need about 3 cups of filling.

13) Spoon the filling into the éclair shells.

14) To make the icing, place the chocolate chips or chunks and cream in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup.

15) Heat over low heat (or in the microwave) until the cream is very hot.

16) Remove from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts and the icing is smooth. Spoon over the éclairs, spreading to the edges. Serve immediately.

Yield: 12 pastries.

Reviews

1 2  All  
  • star rating 03/04/2015
  • Shawn from Bainbridge, NY
  • I have used this recipe several times and am amazed at how perfect they turn out every time!
  • star rating 03/04/2015
  • Shawn from Bainbridge, NY
  • star rating 02/12/2015
  • Meg from Phoenix
  • So easy! First attempt was successful. The "how to" photos are the best.
  • star rating 02/10/2015
  • Laura from North Attleboro, MA
  • Easy for even a first timer! My 3 kids were home due to a snow day. My son was inspired by The Great British Baking Show to make eclairs. I've never made eclairs or cream puffs and my hopes weren't high for success. We were all shocked when we took the big beautiful browned puffs from the oven. The oohs and ahhs were amazing. We let them cool, used canned whipped cream, filled them and ate the whole batch. So easy, so yummy that I can't believe I made these with my 3 kids! Better than a bakery. Now we all look really talented!
  • star rating 01/30/2015
  • shobia godwin from plant city fl
  • The cream puff receipe was great but my filling didn't turn out at all. I had to add corn starch to thicken it. Dont know where I went wrong...followed it to a t. Did anyone else have this problem? Did you use the instant pudding trick, or the whipped cream stabalizer? If you needed cornstarch, you would have needed to cook the filling, then cool it. Give our trusty Baker's Hotline a call at 1-855-371-2253 and we'll set you right. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF
  • star rating 01/16/2015
  • Gretchen from New York
  • The pate a choux recipe is great! I made cream puffs out of this recipe, but instead of just whipped cream I made a pastry cream filling and folded whipped cream into that. I also topped them with chocolate ganache. They turned out so wonderfully!
  • star rating 01/12/2015
  • shobia from plant city fl
  • Excellent so so Good! My cream puffs turned out exactly as the photo. And was so surprisingly EASY!! Thank you for sharing this recipe.
  • star rating 12/23/2014
  • Mishti from Michigan
  • It is an awesome recipe, very happy with the result.. :) The puffs were perfect when freshly baked, but turned a little soggy the next day as already mentioned in the recipe. Will putting them back in the oven for some 5 minutes help in getting back the crunch?
  • star rating 05/15/2014
  • Janae from Montana
  • I had high hopes that this recipe would work but it appears that the proportions are off. The batter was really runny and as a result, only puffed about one inch. I looked in the Joy of Cooking and that recipe only used 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 more flour. Next time I will try that.
    Hi Janae, I'm very sorry this recipe did not turn out the way you had hoped. Remember, we are always here to help you troubleshoot your baking endeavors: 855-371-2253. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 04/14/2014
  • mardiah from malaysia
  • Excellent!
1 2  All  
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