Chocolate Eclairs are an elegant dessert fit for a special occasion. Valentine's Day is coming up and I've been investigating possibilities for a special meal to share with my special Valentine. (Unless he has something better planned this year!) These chocolate eclairs would be delicious! Of course you don't have to reserve them just for Valentine's Day, or even for special occasions as they're pretty easy to make and even easier to eat!
Today I am filling these with some Bavarian Creme filling I purchased from Alison's Pantry, but if you were so inclined you could make your own cream filling from scratch, or use a box of instant vanilla pudding. I love the ease of the bavarian creme filling today. (and the flavor of it is amazing for a pre-made filling!)
You will want to make these ahead because the shells need some time to cool, but I prefer to fill them right not too long before eating.
I'll have to decide what the rest of the menu for Valentine's dinner is before I'm positive we'll finish with chocolate eclairs, but they're definitely in the running!
1 C. water
1/2 C. margarine or butter
1 C. flour
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. (My gas convection oven works best at 375) Heat water and margarine to a rolling boil in a medium sized saucepan. Stir in flour and stir well over low heat until the mixture clings together, about a minute. Remove from heat. Add eggs all at once and beat until smooth. Fill a large decorator bag with this warm mixture and squeeze 3-4 inch lengths out onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and set in a place they can cool. Leave on the cookie sheet until fully cooled.
Choose your filling.... you can use a store-bought filling, or if you'd like a recipe for a homemade cream filling, you might try the one I serve with my cream puffs and you can find that HERE. I like to use a decorator bag & a simple, larger, round tip (I used a size 12).
Just poke a hole into the shell with the tip & then squeeze the bag full of creme until you can see a slight amount of filling rising out of the hole.
Two to three holes down the length of the pastry shell will give a nice amount of filling in each eclair. OR if you'd rather, you can cut the top third off of the shell, lengthwise. Pull out any large filaments of dough and then spoon filling in before replacing the top. Spread with chocolate glaze.
Heat 1 square of unsweetened chocolate and 2 tsp. margarine or butter over low heat until melted. Stir in 1 C. powdered sugar and 2 T. of hot water. Mix until smooth. Spread on the top of filled eclairs. (If this cools it will thicken and be hard to spread - microwave for a few seconds, maybe 15 seconds and then stir and spread)
Refrigerate until ready to serve.