Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

  2. To make the shells: Combine the butter, water, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat, add the flour, and stir until no dry spots remain. Return to the heat and continue stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the batter pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, and a film forms on the bottom of the pan.

  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Let the batter cool in the pan for 4 to 5 minutes.

  5. Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated before continuing.

  6. Once all the eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth, put the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large star or round tip. Pipe the dough into 4” long, 1” wide tubular shapes on the prepared pans.

  7. Bake the shells for 25 minutes, or until they’re uniformly golden brown. Turn off the oven and crack open the door, leaving the shells in the oven to dry out for an additional 15 minutes.

  8. To make the filling: Whisk together 1/4 cup of the sugar, the flour, espresso powder, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt. Set aside.

  9. Place the milk and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat. Slowly pour about one-third of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking to combine.

  10. Pour the milk/egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens into a pudding consistency, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Brush the surface gently with melted butter, or place wax paper or plastic wrap directly onto the surface; this will prevent a tough skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cold.

  11. To assemble: Place the pastry cream in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Using a sharp knife, puncture a small hole at both ends of each of the shells. Pipe the filling into both ends; take care not to overfill.

  12. Immediately make the glaze: Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove it from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Allow the chocolate to melt for 5 minutes before stirring the mixture until smooth and uniform. Stir in the espresso powder.

  13. Dip the tops of the éclairs in the glaze and allow them to set until the chocolate firms. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  14. Refrigerate any leftovers for a day or so; they’re not suitable for freezing, so enjoy before they soften!