Truth be told, I never liked éclairs. I didn’t understand the appeal. All of the éclairs I had sampled were stale on the outside, soggy on the inside, and covered with bland chocolate glaze on the outside.
I didn’t have high hopes for my first batch of homemade éclairs. I made them for my husband who has always loved them. I never expected to take the first bite and happily think to myself, “Is this what an éclair is supposed to taste like?”
Apparently, I didn’t dislike the éclair. Instead, I disliked what happened to an éclair that was forced to linger in a pastry case. Now I know the secret and always fill and top them right before serving. The end result is everything an éclair wants to be: crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, and dressed with rich chocolate ganache.
After several modifications, this version is my family’s favorite. It uses my recipes for pastry cream and ganache from our favorite Boston Cream Pie. In fact, that may be why we all love it so much. While Boston Cream Pie takes the better part of a day to make, these éclairs do not.
Now that I have mastered freezing the pâte à choux before baking, I try to always keep them on hand. In less than thirty minutes, the taste of Boston Cream Pie can be on our farmhouse table. Then we can get on to the best part of the éclair: enjoying them together.