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Chocolate and Hazelnut Eclairs

One of my favorite things about French Patisserie’s displays is Eclairs. In recent years, the eclairs are having a huge comeback and are seen everywhere!  They are colorful, super-creative, and always have a warm place in my heart.

The endless decoration options and stunning creative ideas for making them more beautiful, make me stop near every store with pretty eclairs in the display window.

Just like macarons, eclairs come in countless different shapes, colors and flavors – that’s why I like it so much. Even though modern pastry chefs try to make un-seen desserts all the time, I kinda like (and prefer) the classics.

This is why I made these chocolate and hazelnut eclairs that are made of crunchy choux pastry filled with dark chocolate ganache, shiny chocolate sheets on top, dark chocolate truffles and halved hazelnuts for decoration. It’s an impressive and delicious dessert which is really hard to resist.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Eclairs

Photo: Natalie Levin



Chocolate and Hazelnut Eclairs

10 medium eclairs

For the dough:
125 ml. (1/2 cup) milk
Pinch of salt
30 grams (3 tbsp.) sugar
50 grams butter
70 grams (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
2 beaten eggs

For chocolate ganache filling:
200 grams dark chocolate
250 ml. (1 cup) whipping cream
125 ml. (1/2 cup) cold whipping cream

For chocolate sheets:
85 grams dark chocolate, chopped
5 grams cocoa butter
40 grams dark chocolate, finely chopped

For decoration:
Roasted hazelnuts, halved

Preparation:

  1. Make the eclairs: preheat oven to 190c degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan put milk, salt, sugar and butter and heat to a strong boil.
  3. Add flour and stir while cooking, until it turns into a lump of dough.
  4. Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until it cools down a little.
  5. Add the eggs gradually while beating until dough is elastic and smooth. Check the readiness of dough by creating a “trail” with a wooden spoon in the center of the dough – if the track remains stable, add some eggs, and if it closes a bit – the dough is ready. It is important not to add too many eggs to the dough or it may become too soft and ruined.
  6. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a serrated 2 cm piping tip. On a baking tray lined with baking paper pipe 4-5 cm long eclairs. It’s important to leave some space between the eclairs.
  7. Baking: bake for 12 minutes at first. Than reduce oven temperature to 180c degrees and continue to bake for 7-10 minutes, or until golden.
  8. Cool completely before filling.
  9. Make 2 small holes at the bottom of each eclair.
  10. Whipped chocolate ganache: chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.
  11. In a small pot, heat 250 ml. of cream to a boiling point.
  12. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate, wait about a minute and whisk until you get a uniform, shiny ganache.
  13. Remove about 1/2 cup of ganache and keep in a separate box for decoration. This will be the piped truffles on top of the chocolate sheets.
  14. Cool the ganache for about 1-2 hours in the refrigerator until it is completely cold.
  15. Transfer the cold ganache to a mixer bowl with a whipping attachment, add in the remaining 125 ml. of cold whipping cream and whip until you get a very uniform and stable cream.
  16. Transfer the cream into a piping bag that is fitted with a 1 cm round piping tip and fill the eclairs generously through the holed in their bottoms.
  17. Chocolate sheets: in a small bowl, place chopped dark chocolate and cocoa butter and melt together until it reaches 50c degrees. It is recommended to do this in microwave pulses and mix between each operation.
  18. When the chocolate reaches the desired temperature, add in the finely chopped chocolate and mix well with a spatula until the chocolate cools slightly and reaches a temperature of about 32c degrees.
  19. Transfer the chocolate to a pan lined with baking paper, and flatten with a palate knife to a large square, about 2-3 mm thick.
  20. Cool the chocolate sheet for about 5 minutes in the freezer.
  21. When the chocolate sheet is cold but not completely firm, quickly cut it into 2*9 cm rectangles and return to the freezer for another 1/2 hour until the chocolate is completely hardened.
  22. Assemble the eclairs: drizzle generous amount of whipped chocolate ganache on top of each éclair.
  23. Gently place a dark chocolate sheet and squeeze slightly to stick to ganache.
  24. Transfer the saved (not whipped) chocolate ganache into a piping bag that is fitted with a small serrated piping bag and drizzle a small long strip on top of the chocolate sheet.
  25. Arrange halves of hazelnuts and serve.

Notes:

  • Keep the eclairs in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in a sealed box.
  • Instead of hazelnuts, you can use any other nut you like – according to your taste.

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