If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that it was my son Ethan’s 11th Birthday last week. He is my oldest and I still can’t believe I’m old enough to have a kid that’s 11! Recently, while at my niece’s 1st birthday party, my wonderfully talented sister made eclairs as part of the spread for her garden tea party themed event. I think Ethan ate 50 of them! Naturally, when I asked what he wanted for his birthday cake this year, he said eclairs. Now, I haven’t made eclairs since cooking school, but I thought I’d give it a shot. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been diving into my new favorite book, Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman. In it, he has a great method for making pate a choux. Cream puffs, profiteroles and eclairs are all based on using this particular dough.
Now I have to admit, the idea for three types of eclairs came about partially by accident. PRO TIP: When the eclairs come out of the oven, IMMEDIATELY take a small sharp paring knife and cut a small slit in one end of each eclair to let steam escape. There is so much steam in these little eclairs that help them puff up, that once they hit the cool air, they will immediately collapse. Lesson learned the hard way with the first batch!
Without enough eggs nor time to make a new batch, I had to get creative! Ethan originally asked for white chocolate cream filled eclairs topped with caramel and then some vanilla pastry cream filled eclairs topped with chocolate. There were enough eclairs to make the two kinds that he wanted, but what to do with the deflated ones? I decided to cut a wider slit lengthwise in them and fill them with ice cream…ice cream sandwich eclairs!
Despite the screw up, the eclairs were a hit with both kids and adults. Eclairs can seem a bit scary, but they aren’t as bad as I thought they would be. It’s a time consuming process, but worth it in the end. Between the filling and the toppings there are so many different flavor combinations you can make with these.
Today I’m sharing his favorite of the three types of eclairs. These White Chocolate Cream Filled Eclairs with Caramel are to die for. Now, if you are interested in other versions, they are very simple to make based on the recipes below. For the vanilla pastry cream topped with chocolate version, omit the white chocolate from the pastry cream and add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead. For the chocolate topping, combine equal parts of heated heavy cream and semisweet chocolate to make a chocolate ganache. If you are wanting to try the ice cream sandwich eclairs, simply cut a larger slit into the long side of the eclairs to make a spot for the ice cream. You can fill the eclair with whichever flavor is your favorite and then dip it in your favorite sprinkles or nuts.
What’s your favorite flavor combination? If you make this recipe, make sure you share a photo with me, I’d love to see all of your creations! #SaporitoKitchen
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White Chocolate Cream Filled Eclairs with Caramel
Light and fluffy eclairs filled with rich, sweet white chocolate pastry cream and drizzled with homemade caramel sauce.
Eclairs (Pate a Choux)
- 1 cup water
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 ounces all purpose flour a little less than 1 cup
- 4 large eggs
White Chocolate Pastry Cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch kosher salt
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut in small pieces
- 3 ounces white chocolate chopped finely
Homemade Caramel Drizzle
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablepoons unsalted butter
- pinch kosher salt
Pate a Choux
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium sauce pan, combine water, butter, sugar and salt. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium high heat. Once the liquid starts to simmer, bring the temperature down to medium and stir in the flour. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated well and the mixture pulls away from the edges of the pan. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes to make sure all the ingredients are absorbed and the mixture is cooked.
Remove the pan from the stove top and let the dough cool for 5-10 minutes. Add dough to a stand mixer and turn on low speed for 30 seconds. Start adding the eggs one at a time making sure to mix thoroughly after each egg. Once all eggs are combined turn off the stand mixer. The dough should now be shiny and a deeper golden color.
Transfer mixture to a pastry bag with a large rounded tip. You can also use a large zip top bag with the corner cut off. Pipe eclairs onto the baking sheet leaving at least 1 inch between each eclair. The eclairs should be about 4-5 inches long. If you have any misshaped edges you can pat them down with your fingers that have been dipped in cool water.
Bake eclairs for 10 minutes at 425 degrees and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes. The eclairs will be a light golden color and slightly crisp when they are done.
Immediately upon removing the eclairs from the oven, use a small paring knife to poke a small hole in one of the ends of each eclair to let the steam escape as they are cooling. Completely cool eclairs on a wire rack before filling.
White Chocolate Pastry Cream
In a small bowl combine egg yolks, cornstarch, salt, and half of the sugar (2 Tablespoons). Whisk to combine.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk and remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
Spoon a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. You want to bring up the temperature of the egg mixture slowly to make sure the eggs do not scramble. Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, add back into the milk mixture and whisk to combine.
Continue whisking vigorously and cooking over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to make sure cornstarch has been cooked out.
Remove pastry cream from the heat and whisk in the butter and white chocolate. Whisk to combine until all the butter and chocolate have melted and are combined well with the cream.
Place the cream in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap is directly on the pastry cream. This will make sure that a skin doesn't form on the top of the cream.
Place pastry cream in the refrigerator and cool completely before using to fill eclairs.
Once mixture has cooled completely, transfer it to a pastry bag with a small rounded tip or a zip top bag with a small corner cut off.
Cut a small hole in the end of the eclairs and pipe the pastry cream into the eclairs until it fills through the middle.
Homemade Caramel Drizzle
Combine heavy cream, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a gentle boil and cook for 5 minutes while whisking continuously. Remove mixture from the heat and let cook for 5 minutes.
Transfer mixture to a squeeze bottle and drizzle caramel sauce over the filled eclairs. This can also be done with a teaspoon if you don't have a squeeze bottle.