1 quantity Basic Choux pastry recipe, with sugar
²⁄³ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 ounces of semi-sweet grated chocolate
4 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1. Place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Draw 6 straight 6-inch lines well spaced on each of the 2 pieces of parchment paper, turn the paper over and use it to line 2 baking sheets.
2. Use a pastry bag with a ½ inch tip to form the choux pastry, holding the bag about ¾ inch above the parchment; follow the lines you drew which should be visible through the parchment paper. If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a resealable plastic bag with a ½ inch hole cut out of one corner or simply roll the dough into straight 6 inch cylinders about ½ inch in diameter. You can gently straighten out any irregularities with your fingers soaked in water.
3. Place the baking sheets in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 40 minutes until the éclairs begin to brown; turn the trays halfway. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes until golden brown. Lower the temperature to 300 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes until the puffs are light and hollow. Cool completely on wire racks.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate pastry cream: Whisk together the sugar, yolks and vanilla in a medium bowl for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow; when you lift the whisk, the dough on it should fall back into the dough in the ribbons bowl and leave a visible impression that lasts for a few moments before disappearing. Add the flour; whisk until smooth.
5. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edge, about 3 minutes. Gradually add milk to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, about 3 minutes. Boil mixture, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the 2 ounces of grated chocolate until melted and well combined.
6. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; press the plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. This mixture can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.
7. Prepare the chocolate frosting: Place the 4 ounces of chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan at least until bubbles form around the edges. Pour over the chocolate and let stand 1 minute. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is a solid color.
8. Assemble the éclairs: If you have a pastry bag with a Bismark nozzle, fill it with chocolate pastry cream, insert the nozzle at both ends of each éclairs and fill with cream. If you don’t have a Bismark tip, carefully cut each eclair in half horizontally and top the bottom half with a chocolate filling.
8. Place the chocolate frosting in a bowl large enough to hold an eclair and dip the top of each eclair – or the top of the top half, if cut in half. If sliced, replace that half on the other half. If the frosting has become too solid, soak the éclairs, just add 1 or 2 tablespoons of very hot milk. Eclairs can be refrigerated for up to a few hours.
Per portion: 213 calories; 13 g of fat; 8 g of saturated fat; 75 mg of cholesterol; 3g of protein; 22 g of carbohydrates; 20g of sugar;
Freely adapted from the recipes of “Bouchon” by Thomas Keller and Food & Wine by Jacques Pepin.