Disclaimer: The Amish did not invent Eclairs (they are technically a French pastry), but because I found this recipe in Gramma’s Recipe box, I am adding them to “Gramma’s Amish recipe collection”.
Prep time: 1 hour +
Bake time: 35 min.
Yield: 12-14 Eclairs
For the choux pastry:
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
For the Filling:
- 1 5.1 oz. package instant vanilla pudding
- 2 1/2 cups cold milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate ganache:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups chocolate melting wafers (roughly 10 oz.)
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Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Make the Filling first to allow adequate time for it to set in the refrigerator; Whisk instant pudding and cold milk together (in a medium sized bowl) for around two minutes or until set. Set the pudding mixture aside for now. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer for 5-10 minutes until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and confectioners sugar and mix until sugar is well incorporated and no longer lumpy. Fold the whipped cream mixture into the pudding until well combined. Refrigerate for an hour or more.
- To make the choux pastry; Place butter, water and sugar in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently until butter is dissolved. Remove from heat and add flour and salt. Stir well until flour is fully incorporated (around 30 seconds), then return to medium heat and stir some more until the dough starts to form a ball and no longer sticks to the pan (another 30 seconds or so).
- Transfer the dough to a stand mixer with a dough paddle attached, then mix the dough for 40-60 seconds to allow it to cool just slightly, and then add 1 egg and mix on medium speed until well combined. Continue adding one egg at a time until the dough is smooth and silky and drips very slowly from the paddle. Note* You may need to scrape the sides and mix again several times to ensure all the flour is properly combined.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, then using a piping bag with a large 3/4 inch pastry tip (the bag can also be cut at 1 inch across), pipe the choux pastry onto the lined cookie sheets creating strips 1 1/4 inch wide(roughly) and 4 inches long. Bake the choux on the center racks in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and bake for another 20 minutes until the pastry shells are golden brown and hollow. Note* You may need to turn the pans several times while the choux are baking to ensure they get a nice even color.
- Cool the pastry shells and make the chocolate ganache; Heat 1 cup heavy whipping cream and then whisk in the chocolate wafers until they have melted and the ganache is smooth. Allow the ganache to cool and harden slightly. Note* If the ganache is still to runny after it has cooled, you can add another 1/4-1/3 cup of chocolate and reheat the mixture for a minute in the microwave. Stir well then cool.
- Fill the cooled pastry shells with filling, using a pastry syringe inserted on one of the ends and filling until the pastry puffs up and feels heavy, or by simply slicing the pastries in half length-wise and filling similar to a sandwich cookie/whoopie pie.
- Dip the filled eclairs into the chocolate ganache, then refrigerate for several hours until set, or until you are ready to serve them. Enjoy!!
If you wish to watch a video tutorial on making Chocolate Eclairs, one that I found very helpful was Preppy kitchen’s Best chocolate Eclair recipe on YouTube. Scroll on down if you wish to see some of my step by step photos of the Choux Pastry shells.