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chocolate eclairs with chocolate cremeux piped in wave pattern

How to make Triple Chocolate Eclairs

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Picture this, chocolate éclairs topped with chocolate craquelin and filled with chocolate crémeux. I got your attention didn’t I? I did not mistakenly mention the word “chocolate” three times in a sentence! This éclair really is a chocolate lover’s dream.

chocolate crémeux piped on top of a chocolate éclair in a wave pattern

We covered all the basic components in the previous posts. We learned how to make choux pastry and the craquelin in the previous baking calendar. And recently we saw how to make chocolate crémeux.

The only difference now is that we will be adding some cocoa powder to give our éclairs a full chocolate profile. So you’ve got this! And if you don’t, no worries. You can always go back to the previous calendars to get more comfortable with the basics.

Making Chocolate Craquelin

The craquelin needs to be refrigerated so that it is easy to handle. Ideally, you could prepare it the night before. But if you don’t manage, just prepare it first and refrigerate or freeze it, depending on how quick you are in making choux pastry.

  • Prepare a piece of parchment paper to put the dough in.
  • In a small bowl, mix the softened butter, cocoa powder, flour, sugar and salt using your fingertips until a smooth dough forms. It will look dry initially but keep mixing until it comes together and is easily gathered into a ball.
  • Place the dough towards one side of the parchment paper and cover with the other side of the paper.
  • Roll it to a thickness of about 2mm.
  • If the craquelin dough isn’t too soft at this point, cut rectangles that you will later place over your éclairs. I just eyeball it but mine always end up slightly wider than I would like. Aim for a length of about 12cm and a thickness of about 2cm. I like cutting shapes at this point so that I can quickly peel them off once the dough is cold. If the dough is too soft, refrigerate it a little and then cut the shapes.
  • Cover once more with the parchment paper and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or freeze it for 15 minutes.

Issues you might encounter

This dough is very easy to handle if it is cool enough. So you should be able to easily peel off the craquelin rectangles from the paper. Remove first one side of the parchment paper and then gently peel off the other side to release the craquelin. If you aren’t quick enough though or your kitchen is very warm, it will get soft again.

I would suggest splitting the dough into two balls before rolling. This way you can keep a part of the craquelin in the fridge while you are working with the rest. If you do not wish to do so or have trouble working with such small quantities, you could simply freeze the craquelin when it gets too soft. It will slow down the process a little since you will have to wait at least 10 minutes for it to be firm enough. But use whatever technique you are most comfortable with.

chocolate crémeux piped on top of a chocolate éclair in a wave pattern

Making Chocolate Eclairs

For lots of tips and troubleshooting help, be sure to read how to make choux pastry, and how to make éclairs.

Making the chocolate panade

  • Sift the cocoa powder and flour together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a pan. Add the water, sugar and salt. Set to low heat, stirring every now and then.
  • Once the butter has melted fully, increase the heat to medium-high.
  • When the first bubbles appear, remove from the heat and add in one go the sifted flour and cocoa mixture.

  • Keep stirring until the dough (panade) looks completely homogeneous and smooth. You should not see any traces of flour.
  • Return to the heat and keep mixing on medium-high heat until a film forms at the bottom of the pot and the dough collects into a ball.

  • Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium sized bowl.
  • Take a moment to breathe in the amazing cocoa smell!
  • You can either let the dough cool slightly on its own and do some dish-washing! Or you could stir it with a wooden spoon and even flatten the dough on the edges of the bowl to speed up the cooling process.

Adding the eggs

  • When there is no steam coming out anymore and the dough feels just slightly warm, start adding the eggs slowly. Combine fully before adding more eggs. The choux pastry will look curdled but will come together when you keep mixing.
  • Keep adding more eggs until the choux pastry looks smooth and glossy and slowly falls back from the spoon leaving a V-shape (see bottom right picture).

If you need more information on the right consistency of choux pastry, you can read this post. If you are still confused, just think about this for chocolate choux pastry: if it looks so good that you just want to eat it with a spoon, it’s probably ready!

The choux pastry shouldn’t be too runny. It should only come out of the piping bag when you press. It should not leak.

Piping Chocolate Eclairs

sifted cocoa powder on top of chocolate eclairs
  • Fill your piping bag fitted with a French star tip and remove the air bubbles. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can read more about it here.
  • Pipe the chocolate éclairs (about 12cm) and top with a cold craquelin.

If you really want to try this recipe but piping éclairs still scares you, don’t worry about it! You can pipe choux or any shape you want really.

Bake in a preheated oven and let the éclairs cool down completely to room temperature before filling them with the chocolate crémeux.

stack of three chocolate eclairs topped with craquelin

Assembling The Chocolate Eclairs

We learned yesterday how to make chocolate crémeux. Hopefully you haven’t eaten it with a spoon already! We are now ready to pipe it into the chocolate éclairs!

chocolate cremeux in small glass bowl

Cutting the chocolate éclairs

  • The first thing you need to do is carefully cut your éclairs somewhere in the middle. If you are not comfortable doing this step, then you can simply pipe the crémeux on top without cutting the éclair. It will be just as delicious. My éclairs were actually too dry because I had to hide them in a turned off oven. My youngest goes insane if he sees them! So some of the éclairs were cracking and I just piped the crémeux on top. The only issue with this is that it is slightly harder to hold them when you’re eating them.
  • Take the crémeux out of the fridge. It will be quite thick initially but once it warms up a little it will be very easy to pipe.

Piping chocolate crémeux

  • Pipe using whatever piping tip you’d like. The piping tip pictured here is Wilton 2B. I had never used it before and I thought I would really struggle with it but it was actually easy and so much fun! I will definitely start using this tip more often.

chocolate éclairs with chocolate crémeux piped in wave pattern

All that’s left to do now is to eat! I mean you could refrigerate them for later technically. But in reality, that’s probably not going to happen! If you do save them for later though, I would recommend letting them sit at room temperature for a few minutes to get the “melt in your mouth” texture of the crémeux.

And if you have salted caramel sauce lying around, try drizzling some on top and please let me know how tasty it is! We ate all the éclairs before I had a chance to try out a caramel twist and now I can’t stop thinking about it!

In case you missed it, head over to the crème Anglaise baking calendar to see what we’ll be learning this month.

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Triple Chocolate Eclairs

0 from 0 votes
Course: DessertCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
Yield

6

éclairs
Prep time

40

minutes
Cook time

45

minutes

The perfect éclairs for chocolate lovers: chocolate choux pastry, topped with chocolate craquelin and filled with chocolate crémeux.

Ingredients

  • For the chocolate crémeux
  • 105 g whole milk

  • 105 g heavy cream (at least 35% fat content)

  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

  • 30 g granulated sugar

  • 130 g dark chocolate (65%)

  • For the chocolate craquelin
  • 20 g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

  • 25 g brown sugar (or granulated sugar)

  • 20 g all-purpose flour

  • 5 g unsweetened cocoa powder

  • pinch of salt

  • For the chocolate choux pastry
  • 125 g water (or 63 g water and 62 g milk)

  • 50 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1 teaspoon sugar (4 g)

  • 1/3 teaspoon salt (2 g)

  • 65 g all-purpose flour

  • 10 g unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 100 to 125 g eggs, slightly beaten with a fork, at room temperature

Directions

  • Making the chocolate crémeux
  • Place the chopped pieces of chocolate in a tall container or a narrow bowl.
  • Making the crème Anglaise: Boil the milk and the heavy cream in a small pot over medium-high heat until the first bubbles appear.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a small bowl just until combined.
  • Slowly add the hot liquids (milk and heavy cream) to the egg mixture, whilst stirring constantly.
  • Return to medium-low heat and using a spatula, keep stirring until the cream thickens slightly and coats the spatula. An instant-read thermometer should register about 82°C (180°F). Make sure it does not exceed 85°C (185°F).
  • Strain the crème Anglaise over the chopped chocolate.
  • Let the cream-chocolate mixture rest for a few minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender or a spatula, vigorously stir the mixture until the crémeux looks completely smooth and shiny.
  • Transfer the crémeux to a wide container to cool it down quickly. Press cling film or a piece of parchment paper over the surface to prevent a film from forming.
  • Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight so that it thickens properly.
  • Making the chocolate craquelin
  • Combine the softened butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder and salt in a small bowl and mix with your fingertips until the dough becomes smooth and can easily be shaped into a ball.
  • Place the craquelin inside a folded piece of parchment paper and roll to a thickness of about 2 mm.
  • If the dough isn’t too soft, cut out 12 x 2 cm ( 4 3/4 x 3/4 inches) rectangles that you will use to top your éclairs. If it is, refrigerate it a little and then cut the shapes. Cover once more with the parchment paper and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or freeze it for 15 minutes.
  • Making the chocolate choux pastry
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (338°F), convection setting (or 190°C/374°F conventional setting). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Sift the cocoa powder and flour together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat the water (and milk if using) with the butter, salt and sugar in a small pot over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally to make sure the sugar and salt have dissolved. Once the butter melts completely, increase the heat to medium-high and continue heating until the first bubbles appear.
  • Making the panade: Remove from the heat and add the sifted flour and cocoa powder all at once. Stir to combine fully. Once there are no longer traces of flour, return the dough to the heat.
  • Keep stirring the dough for about 3 minutes or until it no longer sticks to the pot and a film forms in the bottom of the pot (this won’t be visible in non-stick pots).
  • Cooling the panade: Transfer the dough to a medium bowl or to the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix for a few minutes on the lowest setting or by hand using a wooden spoon. Steam will come out of the dough.
  • When the dough cools down to about 60°C (140°F), or when your bowl doesn’t feel extremely hot and there is no more steam coming out, start adding the eggs very slowly. Add a third to begin with and mix until fully incorporated. The dough will initially look curdled but will come together with mixing. Add the remaining eggs little by little until the dough looks smooth and glossy. If you hold the paddle or spoon up, the dough should hold onto it for a few seconds before falling back into the bowl. If it doesn’t fall, it’s too dry. Keep adding more egg.
  • Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a French star tip. Get rid of any air bubbles in the bag. Pipe éclairs (about 12cm, 4 3/4 inches) and top with chocolate craquelin rectangles.
  • Bake in the bottom third of your oven (level 2 out of 5 for example) for about 20 minutes or until they look puffy and set. Change the convection to a conventional setting (or reduce the temperature to 170°C/338°F in a conventional oven) and keep baking for about 20 more minutes. If desired, cut one pastry in half to check the inside. It should be dry or very slightly moist.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely at room temperature.
  • Assembling the éclairs
  • Cut your éclairs in half.
  • Fill a piping bag fitted with a 2B wilton tip (or any tip you’d like) with the cold crémeux.
  • Pipe inside the éclair shell (or on top if desired) and serve.

Notes

  • Choux pastry: The amount of eggs added to the choux pastry might vary from one time to another. It will depend on several things such as whether or not you used milk, how much water evaporated when melting the butter, how much you dried the panade, the type of flour used etc. The choux pastry is enough for about 11 éclairs. You can freeze the leftovers (see tip below).
  • Make-ahead tips: Unbaked éclairs can be piped on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour or until the piped pastry is frozen. Transfer the éclairs to a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to a month. To bake, simply thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Baked éclairs can be frozen as well. Once baked and cooled down, place the éclairs in a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to a month. Chocolate crémeux will keep in the refrigerator, well covered, for up to 3 days. The craquelin can be prepared, wrapped in parchment paper then placed in a zip-lock bag. It will last several weeks in the freezer and shouldn’t be thawed before using. Simply place a cold craquelin on the éclair just before baking.
  • The chocolate crémeux recipe is from chef Christophe Michalak found on lafaimdesbananes.

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