Strawberry White Chocolate Eclairs – Homemade pate a choux is piped into strips, baked, and then stuffed with homemade strawberry pastry cream. They’re finished with a dip into white chocolate and a sprinkle of strawberry dust.
Pâte á choux is a classic French pastry dough that sounds more complicated than it is. It’s just a mixture of water, butter, flour, and eggs – that’s it! It’s the base for cream puffs, éclairs, and gougéres so once you’ve mastered this dough, you can make a whole catalog of pastries.
I first made pâte á choux for these white chocolate cream puffs. They’re fun to make because you get to pipe the dough into little circles, bake them, and then pipe the filling into each puff. You get tons of piping practice, that’s for sure!
I had so much fun making those cream puffs that I decided to step up my game and make éclairs. I didn’t just want to make the classic éclairs because, well, classic just isn’t my style. Instead, I took them to a whole other level by making them into Strawberry White Chocolate Eclairs.
Check them out!
How to make these éclairs
Don’t get intimidated by how beautiful éclairs look – I promise they’re super simple to make! The only special tools you need are piping bags and two round piping tips: a large one and a small one. You don’t even need a fancy mixer! But let me break it down a little further so you can see for yourself.
When it comes to the ingredients, they’re pretty basic. The only true wildcard in the recipe are the freeze-dried strawberries. I found some in the produce section of my grocery store. But you should also look by the dried fruit section. They’re pretty common nowadays so you shouldn’t have an issue locating them.
These éclairs are made by first making the pastry cream. Pastry cream is just a fancy name for a thick, custardy pudding. The mixture is made from milk, cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolks that are heated to thicken them up.
Then, the vanilla extract and freeze dried strawberries are added and whisked in. To make the strawberries easy to mix in, I turned them into a powder by processing them in the food processor. The mixture is then chilled to set it and help it get even thicker.
While the pastry cream chills, it’s time to make the shells. The dough is made by heating the wet ingredients and then stirring in the flour until a dough ball forms. Then, the eggs are stirred into the dough one at a time.
Next, the dough is poured into a pastry bag with a large round tip. Piping out the dough ensures that the éclairs are even in size.
Then, the éclairs are baked until they are beautifully puffed and golden brown. It’s so important that you leave the oven door closed for the first 20 minutes of baking so that they don’t deflate. Once they’re ready, remove them from the oven to cool completely before filling with the chilled pastry cream.
The filling is add to the éclairs by piping it in. Piping the filling make the process quick and clean. You just stuff each end of the éclairs with the piping bag and fill. The alternative method for filling involves slicing the tops off the éclairs and then spooning in the filling. This process takes a little longer so I prefer piping.
Finally, the white chocolate ganache is made and each éclair is dipped in it and dusted with the leftover strawberry powder.
Tips & Tricks
I have a few more tips that will give you the confidence to attack this recipe on your own:
- When making the pastry cream, make sure you keep an eye on it – it will thicken pretty quickly so you’ll want to remove it from heat as soon at it does.
- When piping the dough, pipe them slowly to ensure they are an even thickness.
- Make sure you use white chocolate bars or melting chocolate for this recipe. White chocolate chips will not melt the way you need them to so avoid them at all costs.
- The éclair shells have to be cooked all the way so they don’t deflate after they come out of the oven. Therefore, make sure they are golden brown on top and aren’t foaming on top when you remove them from the oven – that’s how you’ll know they’re done.
Strawberry White Chocolate Eclairs
For the strawberry pastry cream:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar divided
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, cut into pats
- 2 ounces freeze dried strawberries
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- red food coloring optional
For the eclairs:
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter unsalted, cut into pats
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 4 large eggs
- egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water)
- 10 ounces white melting chocolate
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
To make the strawberry pastry cream:
- Start your eclairs by making the pastry cream first so it has time to chill in the fridge. In a medium saucepan, add milk and place over medium heat until steaming but not boiling. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks by whisking together.
- Once milk is warm, ladle in a little milk into egg yolk mixture and stir together vigorously to combine. Ladle in a little more and repeat until all of milk is in the egg yolk mixture. Pour mixture back into saucepan and place over medium heat. and whisk frequently.
- Once it reaches a boil, turn off heat and whisk quickly to help it thicken. Add butter and whisk until melted. Place into medium bowl and add vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Place freeze dried strawberries in food processor. Process until they have turned into a dust or powder. Measure 1/3 cup and add to pastry cream. Save the rest of the strawberry powder for later. Whisk to combine. If you'd like, add a couple drops of red food coloring to make the filling more pink. Cut a piece of plastic wrap and place directly onto pastry cream to help prevent a film from forming on top. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2-3 hours.
To make the eclairs and assemble:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat butter, sugar, salt, and water together over medium-high heat until it boils. Immediately add all of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir over heat until a firm forms on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and transfer dough to a medium bowl to cool down for 3 minutes.
- Once slightly cooled, add 1 egg to dough and stir vigorously until combined into dough. Repeat with rest of eggs, one at a time.
- Transfer mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a large piping tip. Slowly pipe 4-inch logs onto prepared baking sheets. Make sure to space out about 2 inches apart. Dip your finger into water and smooth out the ends of each log of dough.
- Gently brush each log with egg wash. Bake eclairs for 30 minutes until they've risen and turn golden brown on top. They should not be foaming on top. If they are, continue baking. Once finished, remove from oven. Poke each eclair with a sharp knife to allow steam to vent. Let them cool completely before filling.
- Once the eclairs are cooled and the pastry creme is chilled, it's time to assemble! Place pastry cream in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Using a pairing knife, punch a slit into each end of the eclair. Stuff each slit with the tip of the pastry cream bag and squeeze the pastry cream into the puff until you feel that it's full. Repeat with the rest of the eclairs.
- Once all eclairs are filled, heat the heavy cream in the microwave until scalded, about 30 seconds. Add the 10 ounces of melting white chocolate to a small bowl and pour in heavy cream. Do not stir. Let chocolate sit for 10 minutes and then stir until smooth. Dip the tops of each eclair into melted white chocolate and place onto a plate. Sprinkle remaining strawberry powder onto the tops of each eclair. Serve immediately or within 24 hours.
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