Monday, January 10, 2011

Cream Puffs & Éclairs

My brother got me a French cookbook for Christmas, and these looked so good that I had to try them.  The only real difference between cream puffs (choux) éclairs is the shape.  Otherwise, they're the same thing.


  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp sweet butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • Sweetened whipped cream
    • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
    • Powdered sugar
  • Powdered sugar to dust them


  1. Place the water, butter, and salt into a saucepan.  Heat to a boil.  When the butter is melted, remove from the heat.
  2. Immediately add all the flour.  Mix rapidly with a wooden spoon until well mixed.
  3. Place over low heat to "dry" for 5-6 minutes.  It's ready when you can pinch the dough and it does not stick  to your fingers.  This dough is called "panade".
  4. Transfer the panade to a metal mixing bowl.  If there is a crust on the bottom of the saucepan, do not scrape it out into the bowl.
  5. Let the panade cool for five minutes.
  6. Add four eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.  When you're done it should be thick, shiny, and gooey.
  7. Grease and flour baking sheets.
  8. Put the dough in a pastry bag.  For cream puffs, squeeze out mounds of dough a little larger than a golf ball.  For éclairs, squeeze out the dough into longer strips.  Drag the tines of a fork along the éclairs to give them lines on top (see picture).
  9. Beat the remaining egg in a bowl.  Brush  over the top of the cream puffs and éclairs.  Let dry for 20 minutes.  (If you don't let them rest, the won't look properly glazed).
  10. Bake at 370ºF for 35 minutes.
  11. Shut off the oven, open the door part-way to let out the moisture, and then let them cool in the oven for one hour.  If you take them out immediately then they may soften or collapse.
  12. Whip the pint of whipping cream until it forms into whipped cream.  Add powdered sugar to taste and mix well.  Load into your pastry bag with a long Bavarian tip.
  13. For the cream puffs: with a small paring knife, cut a hole in the bottom of each cream puff.  Place the tip through the hole and fill.
  14. For éclairs: cut two small holes, one on each end.  Place the tip through each hole, filling with sweetened whipped cream.
  15. Sift powdered sugar on top.

You could fill them with other things, too, such as jam or ice cream.  You could also top with a chocolate glaze if you wanted.

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