The combination of choux pastry with a sweet coffee pastry cream and a bittersweet chocolate ganache makes for a delicious eclair! Make these just because or for any occasion!
Choux pastry is a dough used for eclairs, profiteroles, French crullers, churros and more. Choux pastry is very versatile and is made of staple pantry ingredients but has a different procedure than most baked goods. It’s baked twice. First water and butter are melted and brought to a boil. Water makes the dough more flexible and butter adds flavor. Next the flour is added all at once. Adding the flour to hot liquids makes the batter gelatinize. This occurs when the starch in flour is mixed with hot water and butter will swell and gives the dough a glue like consistency.
The batter should cool before adding the eggs in the next step. If eggs are immediately added to the hot flour and water mixture it will curdle the eggs and they won’t be incorporated correctly. Eggs contribute to moisture and flexibility of choux pastry. The real magic of choux pastry happens while it bakes. Choux pastry doesn’t have any leaveners added so it relies on evaporation of water in the batter to make the dough rise. Since the dough was already cooked and the starch was gelatinized; the dough holds the water vapor in and this allows the pastry to become hollow and perfect for filling!
Let’s quickly talk about chocolate ganache! Only 2 ingredients (heavy cream and chocolate) that add a whole lot of depth to a dessert! A ganache perfect for filling a cake should have a ratio of 2:1 chocolate to cream while a ganache for glaze should have a 1:1 ratio. A chocolate ganache is an emulsion of fat and water. The fat in ganache is from the butterfat in the heavy cream and the cocoa butter in the chocolate. The water comes from the cream.
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan combine the water, butter, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil then add the flour all at once. Immediately take off the heat and mix the flour into the liquid.
- Place pan back over heat and stir with a wooden spoon until a cohesive ball is formed. Take off heat and allow dough to cool.
- Once dough is room temperature, place in bowl of a stand mixer and add the eggs one at a time. Mix until dough is glossy.
- Pour choux batter into a piping bag and pipe onto a parchment lined sheet pan sprayed with water.
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Coffee Pastry Cream
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan combine milk, half the sugar and instant espresso. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
- In a bowl combine egg yolks, cornstarch and half the sugar. Whisk together and very slowly and gently pour the hot milk mixture into the eggs. Then pour the now combined pastry cream back into the saucepan.
- Bring the pastry cream to a boil and stir constantly until thick. Take off heat.
- Mix in the butter and vanilla, pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool completely before filling eclairs.
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- In a small saucepan bring the heavy cream to a simmer.
- Pour the chocolate into a bowl.
- Once the cream is simmering pour over chocolate. Let sit a few seconds then whisk the cream and chocolate together until combined.
- To assemble, pipe the coffee pastry cream into cooled choux pastries. Then dip the top of the eclairs into the warm ganache.
And that’s how you make my Coffee Eclairs with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache!