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The best éclairs

The best éclairs

Martha Collison's classic chocolate and vanilla cream combination can’t be beaten.

5 out of 5 stars(1) Rate this recipe
  • Makes12
  • CourseCake
  • Prepare30 mins
  • Cook35 mins
  • Total time1 hr 5 mins

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  • 75g butter, diced
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 55g plain flour
  • 55g strong white bread flour
  • 4 British Blacktail Large Free Range Eggs

For the filling

  • 450ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

For the topping

  • 100g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tsp golden syrup


  1. Place the butter, sugar, salt and 150ml water into a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and, when the butter has melted, add both flours and vigorously beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until a smooth ball of dough forms. Keep the pan on the heat and stir rapidly for 1 minute more to cook out the dough, then tip the dough into a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and leave for about 20 minutes, until it has stopped steaming.

  2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Crack the eggs into a measuring jug and beat well. Using an electric hand mixer (or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer), begin to add the egg to the dough in small increments. Beat well after each addition so the dough comes together before you add the next portion of egg. You won’t need to add all the egg – just enough that when you dip a spoon in, the paste drops off the spoon in a ‘v’ shape. Keep the leftover egg for glazing.

  3. Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle (see tips, right). Pipe 12x10cm éclairs onto the prepared tray, leaving plenty of room for them to expand, then brush with the remaining beaten egg with a pastry brush. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden, well risen and crisp.

  4. Pierce each bun 4-5 times along the edge, using a skewer to allow the steam to escape, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Turn the oven off, open the door to let out any moisture and allow the pastry to cool completely in the oven.

  5. Combine the cream, vanilla and icing sugar in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle, then set to one side in the fridge until ready to fill.

  6. Place the chocolate, butter and syrup into a heatproof bowl, then set over a small saucepan of boiling water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Stir until melted and smooth, then remove from the heat.

  7. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut each éclair in ½. Fill the bottom pieces of pastry with whipped cream and dip the top ½ into the chocolate glaze. Sandwich together and serve on the day of making – they can be filled and chilled 3-4 hours ahead.

Cook’s tip

Star nozzle
If you have one, try using a French or open star nozzle to pipe your éclairs. It will create ridges in the top of the pastry which helps it expand in a more even fashion.

Éclairs taste best (and remain crisp) on the day they are assembled. If you don’t want to eat 12 éclairs in one go, choux pastry freezes well. Slice in ½, then place into a freezer bag, unfilled. It defrosts in minutes in a low oven and can be filled to your liking.

Other flavours
Chocolate éclairs are my weakness, but stumble into any pâtisserie and you’ll find all sorts of flavours. Try mixing fondant icing sugar with coffee to make a gorgeous coffee icing, or mix with lemon juice for a zesty


Typical values per item when made using specific products in recipe


1,537kJ/ 372kcals



Saturated Fat












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Overall rating (5/5)

5 out of 5 stars1 rating