So I decided I wanted E to be Éclairs, because I love French Food, and I’ve been dying to figure out a way to make a Chocolate Éclair cupcake that does not have graham crackers or whipped cream in the recipe. That is not French and that is not a real Éclair.
An éclair is a pastry made with choux dough filled with a cream (crème patisserie) and topped with a ganache. Thus, I knew I needed to perfect the perfect choux dough to begin with. It wasn’t too hard to come up with a really good batch. It took two tries. The first batch was wonderful flavor wise, but the texture was slightly denser than I wanted.
After the choux dough was perfected, I came up with how to pipe the custard in – I decided the best way was to utilize any holes that formed naturally in the baking process, and any that didn’t, I would insert the nozzle through the top of the cupcake which would eventually be covered in chocolate ganache.
Then I needed to actually come up with the pastry cream recipe (crème patisserie). I have now piped these things with pistachio custard, vanilla custard and vanilla and coffee pastry creams. Each one is delicious, so you can choose if you want to find something different. I share the recipe for the vanilla pastry cream (crème patisserie) here, but definitely feel free to change it up.
Then I needed to top it off with a delicious ganache, and I needed it to be slightly thicker in texture than a more standard glaze so it will hold nicely. And thus, the Éclair cupcake was born.
REAL Chocolate Éclair Cupcakes!
For the Choux Dough
- 1/2 C. of water
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1/2 C + 1/2 Tbs. of all purpose flour
- 2 eggs + 1 egg white
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Pastry Cream (crème patisserie)
- 1 1/4 C. milk
- 3 egg yolks (save the yolk from the egg whites used in the dough for one of them)
- 1/4 C. granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 Tbs.cornstarch
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract (this is where you can play with the flavor a little if you'd like)
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 6 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 C. heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 400°F; prepare your cupcake pan - you can either use baking cups or spray the pan with cooking spray. I chose not to use baking cups because I wanted to see everything and I wanted to be able to utilize the natural holes that occur in baking to fill the pastry with the cream.
For the Choux Dough:
- In a saucepan on medium heat, heat the water until boiling. Drop the butter in and allow to boil until the butter is melted. Add the flour, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth. Continue cooking over low heat, until you have a nice dough and you notice its leaving the sides of the pan easily.
- Immediately remove from the stove and put into your stand mixer (or a large bowl with an electric mixer). Add the two whole eggs, one at a time, beating in between each addition. Drop the egg white and the vanilla in together and mix well.
- Using a large kitchen spoon, drop the mixture into the muffin pan. This dough has enough to make 12 cupcakes, try to keep the amount even across the board.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are puffed and a beautiful golden color.
- Remove from oven and immediately, BUT CAREFULLY, remove them to a wire rack to cool. As they are cooling, begin working on the pastry cream.
For the Pastry Cream (crème patisserie):
- In a pan on the stove over low heat, warm the milk until it begins to steam. While it's heating, take another bowl and whisk the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch until it is very smooth. Once the milk is steaming, add the vanilla extract in and stir. Now add the egg/flour mixture a little at a time, mixing well, stirring constantly. Allow the custard to continue cooking for 1-2 minutes never stop stirring. It's done when the custard is very thick. It will seem very loose at first, but keep stirring and heating and I promise you'll wind up with a thick custard like cream at the end.
- Remove from the heat, pour into your bowl and refrigerate for about a half hour to allow it to cool.
- When it is finally cool, use a pastry bag to pipe the cream into the center of each cupcake using any natural holes that developed in the pastry while cooking, otherwise insert nozzle in the top and push down and fill that way.
For the Chocolate Ganache:
- Place the cream in a saucepan and allow to scald. Turn the heat down and stir in half the chocolate. Stir constantly, once that's melted add the rest and continue stirring until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
- Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Allow the chocolate to cool to room temperature before glazing the top of the cupcakes, otherwise you will have quite the liquidy mess on your hands.
They were absolutely amazing, I loved them – the kids loved them, my husband loved them. The different flavors change them up so you can enjoy them any way you want. Perfection in a cupcake.
Previous A-Z Entries:
- A – Avocado Fries with Garlic Lime Chili Aioli
- B – Bacon Popcorn
- C – Chicken Kiev with a Twist
- D – Basil Dip
- E – Real Chocolate Eclair Cupcakes
- F – Melted Brie and Bacon on Grilled Flatbread
- G – Grilled Creamy Parmesan Tilapia
- H – Spicy Jack Bacon Jalapeno Hamburgers
- I – Italian Beef Risotto
- J – Easy Jalapeno Poppers
- K – Kiwi Tropical Smoothie
- L – Creamy Pesto Linguine with Shrimp
- M – Nutella Breakfast Muffins