Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Éclairs
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been eating strawberries like it’s your job ever since spring arrived and the mediocre berries from California actually started tasting sweet and juicy. I went through a 3-pound flat of strawberries from Costco in a week. I’m a little worried for when Washington (a.k.a the best) strawberries are in season– I fear my skin might turn red from too much consumption.
All side effects will be worth it.
Needless to say, when Choclette decided this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge had to involve chocolate and strawberries, I was ecstatic. The berries were already waiting in my fridge. Ideas whirred through my head. Where would they land? Brownies? Pie? Cookies? Éclairs…? Oh yes. Strawberry-filled. Chocolate-covered. Éclairs.
If you weren’t reading my blog back in the early days, you may not have read my post for Maple-Glazed Éclairs and my love affair with these indulgent pastries. Let’s just say I’m smitten.
These éclairs were no exception. Take a bite, and lush strawberry pastry cream spills onto your tongue. Made with tangy buttermilk, this cream has that same tart-sweet combination that makes cream cheese frosting so addicting. It’s a beautiful combination of flavors with the fresh berries and rich, dark chocolate. This is a summer treat that will stand out. Move over strawberry shortcake!
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Éclairs
© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart
Yield: about 12 éclairs
Strawberry Buttermilk Pastry Cream
- 12 oz hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen, sliced or chopped
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp vanilla
- To make the compote, combine the strawberries and 2 Tbsp sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking apart the strawberry pieces as they soften (I find a whisk works really well for this). Continue to cook until the strawberries are completely broken down and the sauce thickens. Let cool.
- For the pastry cream, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl until completely smooth.
- Meanwhile, heat the buttermilk over medium heat until it just begins to simmer (Buttermilk can separate when heated, so it’s important to heat it gently and not let it come to a full boil. If it does separate a little, don’t worry about it. It won’t affect the flavor.)
- Slowly pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly so as not to curdle the eggs. Once all the milk is incorporated, return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick, whisking constantly.
- Immediately remove from the pan into a wide shallow dish (like a 9×13 baking dish). Whisk in the vanilla and the cooled strawberry compote.
- Cover with plastic wrap touching the entire surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until completely cooled.
Pâte à Choux (Éclair dough)
- 1/2 cup milk (any fat % is fine)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4-6 eggs
Directions: (For more detailed photos of this process, check out the aforementioned Maple-Glazed Éclair post.)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and, to make life easier when you go to pipe your éclairs, make a template and trace it on to your parchment paper. I make my éclairs about 1 inch wide by 4 inches long.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, gradually add the flour while whisking until the mixture comes together in a tight ball that resembles mashed potatoes.
- Remove the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (this process can also be done by hand with a large wooden spoon). Mix on medium speed to release the steam.
- Once the steaming has died down, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth. You are aiming for a consistency that’s very smooth but not too loose. It should be squeezable like toothpaste without being runny.
- Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe the dough to fill your pre-made template (or freehand it!), moving slowly to get nice, even éclairs. Leave at least 1 inch between each éclair as they puff up quite a bit when baked.
- Once all your dough is used up, dip a fork in water and run it down the length of each éclair to smooth out any lumps and create pretty ridges on the tops of your éclairs.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Rotate the pans 180 degrees, lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to cook another 10-12 minutes until dark golden brown and dry. Turn off the oven, crack the door and let the eclairs dry for 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, use a small star piping tip to carefully drill two holes on the bottom ends of each éclair (alternatively, you could use a serrated knife to slice each éclair in half lengthwise and fill them that way).
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip that will fit into the holes you made with the chilled pastry cream. Carefully fill each éclair with the cream, pointing the top towards the middle to fill completely until the éclair feels heavy. Set down on a clean tray and continue with the remaining éclairs. Keep cool until ready to glaze.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- Combine the chocolate, corn syrup and salt in a small heatproof bowl.
- Meanwhile, heat the cream in a small saucepan to a simmer.
- Poor the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1 minute. Gently stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add the vanilla.
- Let cool until barely warm and slightly thickened. Take a spoon and carefully pour the glaze down the length of each éclair. Clean up any drips with a clean fingertip. Continue with remaining éclairs. Allow the glaze to set and keep the éclairs chilled until ready to serve. They will last up to 4 days in the fridge, but are best served the same day as they will soften over time. Enjoy!