The husband had his birthday last week, and he said big fat no to cake! Can you imagine? No cake on a birthday? That’s the most legit, logical and obvious reason to bake and eat cake and I tried asking a hundred different ways, hoping he would change his mind but if there’s something a decade of marriage has taught me it’s that once the mister makes up his mind, I along with the universe and its cousins can coax, plead and dance till eternity and yet the husband will just not budge; stubborn wouldn’t even begin to cover the u in understatement. The good news though was he wanted a tart instead of cake and I could absolutely live with that. Since it was his birthday I thought I should also make something else that he’s been wanting for a long time, so of course it had to be chocolate éclairs, because ever since I made these éclairs, hints have dropped left, right and pretty much all over the place about how nothing can beat chocolate éclairs.
These triple chocolate éclairs are seriously chocolately, right from the choux (base) to the filling to the topping. The choux pastry recipe is the same as these, the only change is the addition of cocoa powder; the filling is a light fluffy whipped cream also with cocoa and a rich dark chocolate ganache goes on top as the glaze. All three components can be made ahead of time and stored but I suggest filling the éclairs just before serving so the shell remains nice and crisp and is a perfect textural contrast to the soft, fluffy cream; you can also add chocolate chips to raise the chocolate flavour another notch but the mister isn’t a fan of chocolate chips in fillings so I left it out though I did add some dark rum to the cream and the chocolate ganache because alcohol in desserts is my absolute favourite, which totally doesn’t mean I don’t like it otherwise. So chocolate éclairs…go make some! I promise it’s easier than you think.
For the choux pastry
- Butter (unsalted)- 70 grams
- Water- 150 ml
- All purpose flour/maida- 100 grams
- Eggs- 2
- Cocoa powder- 1 tbsp
For the filling
- Whipping cream- 150 ml
- Cocoa powder- 1 ¼ tsp
- Powdered sugar/ icing sugar- 2 tbsp
For the ganache
- Dark chocolate- 150 grams
- Whipping cream/ heavy cream- 100 ml
- Preheat oven to 200C. Lightly grease a baking tray with butter or baking spray and keep aside.
- In a saucepan, add water and butter and heat gently till the butter melts. Bring to a rolling boil and take the saucepan off the heat. Immediately add the flour and cocoa powder all at once, beating well (I used a wooden spoon for this) until the mixture forms a ball. Keep aside to cool slightly.
- Once the flour mixture has cooled, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. It will take a little time for the egg to mix in with the flour mixture, just keep at it (think of it as exercise for your arms) till you have a smooth mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into a disposable piping bag fitted with a 1 cm nozzle or with a pair of scissors cut the pastry bag to get an opening about a cm wide.
- Lightly sprinkle the baking tray with a little water. Pipe éclairs about 3 inches long, leaving a gap of about an inch in between each éclair.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the éclairs are nice and crisp.
- Remove from the oven when done and make a slit (on the side) in each one to let the steam escape. Let the éclairs cool before filling.
- Whip the cream till soft peaks form; add the sugar and cocoa powder and mix to combine.
- Chop up the chocolate into fine shards or tiny pieces and keep in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream till almost boiling and add it to the chocolate. Let sit for 2-3 minutes and then stir gently till you have a smooth ganache. If any chocolate pieces remain, put in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Let the ganache cool before using.
- To fill the éclairs you can either split each éclair length wise all the way or make a slit long enough to easily fill with whipping cream.
- Once filled, cover the éclairs with the chocolate ganache. Pour or spoon over the chocolate to cover the top of the éclairs.
- Let the flour mixture cool before adding the eggs.
- It will take a few minutes for the eggs to mix in with the flour mixture, just keep going.
- Make sure your oven is preheated before adding the éclairs. Depending on your oven, it might require a little longer than the given time for the éclairs to be fully cooked through.
- Slit the éclairs once it’s out of the oven, the éclairs should be dry and crisp; the steam will make it soggy.
- Make sure the éclairs have been cooled before filling.