At a recent trip to Paris, I fell in love with éclairs all over again. These delicate treats offered in Parisian patisseries were far from the chocolate-coated cream filled ones I’ve had in the past. These were next-level, and filled with all kinds of creative ingredients and topped with incredible glazes. They were a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth!
It may come as a surprise, but making choux pastry couldn’t be easier. Yes, it requires a bit of muscle to constantly mix the batter but these éclairs, featuring banana pastry cream and chocolate topping, are worth the effort.
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
Banana Cream Filling
2 cups whole milk, separated
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar, separated
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 brown bananas, mashed (about ¾ cup)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 Tbsp butter
11/4 cup icing sugar
3 Tbsp hot water
Banana chips to top (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium sized pot combine the water, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the flour. Continue to mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Cook the flour mixture, while continually stirring, for 1 minute.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time. The mixture may look like it won’t mix together once you’ve added an egg, but keep on mixing and it should become glossy. Once you’ve added all the eggs, put the mixture into a piping bag fitting with a 1-inch round tip.
4. Pipe 3-inch lines, spaced 1-inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Place the baking sheets on the top and bottom thirds of the oven for 25 minutes, switching the sheets half way through cooking.
5. After 25 minutes, turn the oven off and leave the éclairs in the oven to cool completely. This ensures the éclairs are perfectly crisp on the outside. You can crack the door of the oven slightly to let out some of the heat.
6. While the éclairs are cooling make the banana pastry cream filling. In a medium sized bowl combine 1 cup milk, cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar and set aside.
7. In a medium pot combine 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Whisk 1/4 cup of the warm milk mixture into the cold milk mixture. Continue to whisk in the remaining warm mixture, 1/4 cup at a time. Add the egg yolks and whisk until yolks are broken up and the mixture looks smooth. Once the mixture has been combined put it all back into the pot and add the vanilla. On medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly. If the mixture looks like it has curdled, continue whisking until it becomes smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas. Let cool.
8. Put the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip. Poke a hole in the bottom of the éclairs with a small knife and fill each éclair.