Mocha Éclairs with Espresso Crème Anglaise

Mocha Éclairs with Espresso Cream Anglaise Sauce

Pierre Hermé’s chocolate éclairs were the August Daring Bakers’ challenge. The rules were to follow exactly the pâte à choux recipe and make at least one of the two chocolate components from the original recipe – rather the chocolate pastry cream for filling or chocolate glaze. As for the filling, I didn’t change it drastically. I just turned it into the mocha variation by infusing milk with French-roast coffee beans flavor. It was absolutely marvelous. I used a different recipe for the chocolate glaze (to be honest, I just recycled what had left from the previous challenge (it was about time :))

As for the pâte à choux… I was surprised to see that the recipe called for an exact number of eggs (5 – no more, no less…). Usually there’s a ratio given and a baker is advised to use the eggs judgmentally. The dough consistency is of particular importance here – thick but pliable, and not at all runny. I tried to be a rules follower – I broke all 5 eggs in a measuring cup, lightly whisked them and added them to the dough gradually. I ended up with a leftover about one egg-worth. With all my due respect to the maestro, the stated baking time, as well as the oven temperature, were not sufficient for successful baking and needed some adjustments. I started at the higher temperature and even baked longer than was suggested. You can see my step-by step photos below. I posted the pictures of the just baked éclairs as well as completely cooled ones. I didn’t have any problems with deflating of the éclairs or their eggy taste.

I filled them using a Bismarck tip. It allows to pack the éclairs generously with the pastry cream and makes the eating less messy and therefore more pleasureful.

To summarize… sure the éclairs were fabulous. The filling was smooth and creamy, and very much coffee-chocolaty. My big thanks to Meeta and Tony, this month DB hosts, for choosing a wonderful dessert appreciated by everyone.

Adapted from “Chocolate Desserts” by Pierre Hermé

Mocha Éclairs with Espresso Cream Anglaise Sauce Inside

Makes 20-24 éclairs

For the pâte à choux:

  • ½ cup (125g) whole milk
  • ½ cup (125g) water
  • 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

For the chocolate-coffee pastry cream:

  • Heaped ½ cup French roast espresso beans, very coarsely ground
  • 2 cups (500g) whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
  • 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona Guanaja, finely chopped
  • 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 12 tbsp (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 5 tsp water

For the espresso crème Anglaise: I used some of the espresso ice cream base by Kate Zuckerman, before it’d been processed in the ice cream machine, of course. I’m posting the recipe later, or you can follow this recipe for making the crème Anglaise omitting the honey (half batch will be enough for serving the éclairs) and infuse the cream with coarsely ground espresso beans (about 1/3 cup of the beans will suffice).

Make the pâte à choux, form and bake the éclairs:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.

Place an oven rack in the lower part of the oven. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place a pan with hot tap water onto the bottom of your oven (Pyrex pie pan works well).

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil.

Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.

Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough on medium speed for a minute to cool the dough slightly. Break the eggs into a liquid measuring cup or a bowl, lightly whisk with a fork. Add the eggs gradually, in 4-5 additions beating well after each portion has been added to incorporate it into the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first portion, the dough will separate, once again- do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon. You might have some eggs left over. Use your judgment, the dough doesn’t have to be too liquidy and runny.

The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used. Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

You can pipe the dough and then freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 1 ½ cm plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in 3 1/2 – 4 inches long fingers.
Leave about a 2 inch (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to let them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

Put one baking sheet into another to isolate the pastry bottoms from strong heat and slide the baking sheet into the oven; place another baking sheet with piped éclairs immediately into the freezer (if your oven is not big enough to accommodate both baking sheets at once). Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, until the éclairs are well puffed and golden brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F. Open the oven door and take the water-filled pan out of the oven. Rotate the sheet from front to back. Poke every pastry with a wooden skewer or a knife tip to allow the moisture to escape and leave the baking sheet in the oven for another 5 minutes, until the éclairs are well browned, firm and crisp to the touch. Turn the oven off, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep it ajar. Let the éclairs stay in the oven for 5 more minutes.

Just baked eclaires

Cool completely on a rack. The unfilled éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Cooled eclaires

Bake the frozen éclairs as described earlier without defrosting, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.

Make the chocolate-coffee pastry cream, fill the éclairs:

Mocha coffee pastry cream

In a small saucepan, bring the milk and coffee beans to a boil. Off the heat, cover and let steam for an hour. Strain through a double layer of cheesecloth into a bowl.

Prepare an ice bath.

Wash the saucepan or use another one; return the coffee-infused milk into the clean saucepan. Reheat the milk once again to the boiling point. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl and whisk together.

Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously and continuously until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat). Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in the ice-water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so it remains smooth.

Once the cream has reached the temperature of 140F remove from the ice-water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice-water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge. In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

The pastry cream can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

To fill the éclairs, transfer the pasty cream into a piping bag fitted with Bismarck tip. Insert the tip into the hole made earlier during the baking and squeeze the bag. You should feel when the éclair shell is full – it will get heavy and expand. Repeat with the rest of the éclairs.

Make the chocolate glaze, glaze the éclairs:

Place all the ingredients in a small heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently until the chocolate is almost completely melted; do not overheat. Remove the glaze from the water bath and set aside to finish melting, stirring once or twice until perfectly smooth. If necessary, before using, cool the glaze to 88-90 F. It will be optimally shiny if you use it at that temperature. Place a sheet of parchment paper or foil under the rack. Dip the top of each éclair into the glaze and place the glazed éclair onto the rack for the glaze to set.

Glazed eclairs

Any excess glaze may be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen.

The éclairs are best served soon after they have been filled.

Glazed eclaers again

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98 Responses to “Mocha Éclairs with Espresso Crème Anglaise”

  1. Oh wow your eclairs turned out perfectly. Love the espresso cream.

  2. These look beautiful and delicious! I absolutely love your photography and creative recipes.

    And thanks for commenting on “my baby’s” most recent post. She’s a handful – but so worth it!

  3. the original mass in your hands and is a work of arte.Lo else is brilliant, simple and espectacular.Me also delighted to discover that I have set the cappuccino filling, but is so far from splendid.xoxo

  4. Marvelous creation. These eclairs you’ve made are pretty and standardized. And the glazes are superbly smooth and evenly spread. Similar to the ones which are professionally made. Gorgeous shots taken too!

  5. Absolutely beautiful! Great work!

  6. They turned out absolutely perfect…as if I had a doubt…not :)
    That glaze is just perfect for the eclairs, good recycling!!

  7. Hi Vera,

    I am seeing Eclairs everywhere today…:) Ur version is so beautiful and love ur photography.
    Good Work…!!!

  8. They look absolutely fantastic, but, hey, coming from you this is no surprise ! ;-))

  9. So perfect looking and very pretty! Great flavoring! Well done!



  10. I am impress,
    Those are gorgeous eclaires, so perfect!

  11. Your eclairs are amazing.

  12. Good job with the hot water pan!! It aids with the rising of the pate a choux, and I think it was one of the things not mentioned in the recipe. I also found the baking time too short, and increased my baking time accordingly. I love that you used your own recipe for the glaze; that corn syrup made it so shiny and smooth!! Great photos too!! I love how evenly you have piped the pate a choux..they are all the same size and length! But what piping tip created those ridges on your eclairs?

  13. absolutely beautiful vera!

  14. now that is perfection. your pictures are stunning.
    xx fanny

  15. Vera, your eclairs are perfect! The photos are stunning as well! I really love the combo of chocolate and coffee.

  16. Your eclairs are perfect. I wouldn’t expect anything else here.:)
    I used a mocha pastry cream too, just a different one. I used one egg less but still had and “eggy” small and taste to my choux.

  17. What an awesome post and absolutely perfect photographs. Oh, not to mention your eclairs LOOK PERFECT! I also love the mocha cream!

  18. The best looking eclairs! I am soon turning into a complete fan!! WOW!!

  19. Vera – I have never seen a more gorgeous looking eclair. wow! they puffed up incredibly well. seeing your – makes me want to make them all over again!

  20. Wow, only one word for you: Perfection!
    Lovely pictures and I’m sure the coffee made them even more special!

  21. I absolutely love anything mocha-flavored. Those look amazingly good!

  22. Amazing Vera! You made the most beautiful eclairs!

  23. Gorgeous shots you have! The shots are clean and the babies are awesome! The eclairs are lovely and all standardized. Love the small details. ;)

  24. Wow, how elegant and pristine they look… Absolutely flawless!

  25. Vera,
    Your éclairs are beautiful!! I loved making these. I have a fondness for choux dough!

  26. Hello Vera ^_^ I love the stripey tops from your piping. And such perfect-looking creations too!

  27. Your pastry cream looks fantastic!

  28. They are gorgeous Vera!

  29. I think that the word `perfect` would simply describe these pictures! so lovely!

  30. Your shells look absolutely perfect!

  31. The mocha filling my have been heavenly! Your photos look like they could be in Gourmet Magazine!!! Thanks for your comment on my Eclairs! They were divine!

  32. they look amazing! I love how you didn’t split them to fill- perfect idea.

  33. Wow, this éclair is absolutely perfect. So beautifully glazed and I love the idea of the mocha pastry cream!

  34. Absolutely perfect!!

    Your éclairs are gorgeous!!

  35. Your eclairs are amazingly uniform and they look perfectly hollow. Perfection!

  36. Those are very very pretty.

  37. Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

  38. Your eclairs are beyond perfect!

    Thanks for the heads up about posting. I thought I scheduled it, but must have made a mistake in my haste. I saw your comment and scheduled accordingly…I’ll blame lack of sleep for that:)

  39. Love your pictures. The coffee pastry cream is certainly something up my alley!

  40. Your photos are perfect. Hands down. Mocha élcairs? Genius! I love your blog!

  41. Yours are so ridiculously perfect; I can’t get over your glazing job.

  42. the glaze looks fantastic! Mocha is one f my favorites

  43. They are too beautiful to say a word. I’m speechless.
    You are a gifted person, a talented artist, that’s for sure.

  44. I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude to everyone who has left the comment! Thank you very much for your kindness, I’m truly and deeply touched!

  45. Please… Give me just a bite… Oh my, what a good looking éclairs, and coffee and chocolate is one of my favorites. I can’t stop looking at those perfect tubes, mines didn’t look so perfect at all.

    Congrats, I’m your fan.

  46. i’ve seen a lot of eclairs lately (about 134,972,834), but these are honestly the most perfect i’ve come across. they’re hands-down superior to any i’ve seen in a bakery too. you are truly gifted. :)

  47. It’s just like the real herme with the ridged puffs. Perfect!

  48. They look just perfect! And I love the mocha pastry cream, should have made that instead of the chocolate.

  49. Wow you eclairs look absolutely fabulous.

  50. gorgeous.
    What else ?

  51. This is perfection in every sense. Picture perfect eclairs!

  52. Yours look just perfect! I love your tips on glazing them and filling them. Nice job!

  53. Wow… stunning! Your eclairs are pastry shop worthy!

  54. Although usually eclairs are not at all perfect. yours are really perfect in every detail and the filling looks really smooth creamy and chocolate. I m dying to have one of them. hmmmmmmmmmmmm Great photos and they re really helpful

  55. Just delicious!!!

  56. wow…those are awesome, how perfect…I don’t think I have ever made them look so perfect. Fantastic job, and the Mocha sounds wonderful for pastry cream!

  57. These are my favourite. Absolute perfection, my friend. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you. xo

  58. Such beautiful results! I wish I had the knowledge you did BEFORE I made these b/c I would have liked to know I should bake them longer than instructed. oh, well! Now I know!

  59. they taste dilicious!

  60. Wow, your eclairs are so gorgeous!! And what a shiny and smooth glaze! Your eclairs can totally compete with the ones we have here in france. And i’ll sure appreciate yours more especially because of the Mocha!
    Also I totally agree with you about the pâte à choux recipe: 4 large eggs or just a little bit more would have been enough and the baking time was definitly too short.
    What about changing the name of your blog..? Baking perfection would be… perfect!

  61. Your eclairs look so decadent and beautiful.

  62. Hollow pastries, hollow pastries everywhere I look…ahhhhh. Yours are beautiful, evenly piped, hollow, and perfect glaze. Lovely.

  63. Vera, those look so perfect, and I love every single photo ! :)

  64. Wow! These look perfect! Great job! My stomach is growling now!

    We’d like to invite you to participate in our September apple and peach recipe contest. All competitors will be eligible to win one of three prizes :)! Please email me,, if you’re interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details:

    Thanks :),
    KI Blogger

  65. Vera, what a terrific job! Can I have one please?

  66. These are stunning pictures. And I agree, I baked mine much longer and at higher temperature so that they did not deflate. Perhaps Pierre has a secret trick to two for getting his recipe to work, but as a mortal I needed a higher oven!

  67. A beautiful work of art! The Eclairs look so delicious.

  68. Picture perfect! Such a beautiful eclair!

  69. Again, I have to say I am in awe of your talent! Beautiful. I’m not much of an eclairs fan, but I love your decision to give them a chocolatey filling! They are so cute and flawless….lovely job :).

  70. What lovely eclairs. I love the looks of them and I am sure the taste is even better!

  71. Once again, thank you, thank you very much for commenting on my blog! I read and greatly appreciate every single comment! You all make it worthy!

  72. I don’t know how your blog escaped my compulsive blog hopping habit, but I’m glad I discovered it. Your eclairs are stunning (as everyone else agrees), and I love the ridges. How did you achieve that using just a plain nozzle, I wonder?

  73. Dee, thank you so much for your words! It wasn’t just a plain nozzle :) It was a large star tip with rather small notches.

  74. Well if that isn’t hands down the most perfect looking eclair then I don’t know what is. Even my husband who is looking over my shoulder commented on how amazing they look. Amazing!!!!

  75. Your pictures are amazing! The eclairs look perfect.

  76. There is a bakery down the street from my house that makes eclairs. I keep telling myself if I walk there, rather than drive, then I can have two.

  77. Really picture perfect. I’m so impressed at how perfect they are.

  78. wow, they look absolutely perfect! great combination of flavors.

    P.S. my mom has the same name as you :)

  79. Very cute eclairs! I wish I could have one right now.

  80. Your eclairs are the most perfect I’ve seen!

  81. Pea and Pear, thank you so much for your kind words!

    Deborah, thank you very much!

    Culinary Cory, you certainly can :)

    Giz, thank you very much!

    Olga, thanks a lot! And my best friend’s name is Olga, too :)

    Hillary, thanks for stopping by and for the complement!

    Holly, thank you very much!

  82. I thought about making mocha ones as well but settled on chocolate orange instead!

  83. Your eclairs are perfect and I love mocha and expresso. Beautiful work.

  84. Dana, chocolate and orange are great together :)

    Pam, thank you very much!

  85. wow!
    yours looks so pretty..

    i was wondering which kind of tip did you use for the pate a choux?

  86. Tania, I used an open star tip, a little bit over 1 cm.

  87. For Heaven’s sake…those look absolutely delicious!!!

  88. Just a quick question – what did you do with the creme anglaise? Did you make that and then mix it with the chocolate-coffee pastry cream ?

  89. I love your work – it’s truly perfection! However, I tried your baking method for the pate a choux and it was rather disappointed – the pan filled with hot water, reducing the oven temperature from 400F to 375F after 18 minutes of baking time, turn the oven off, leave oven door ajar, leave the baked eclairs in the oven for another 5 minutes… All of these tips sound like a Great idea to produce that wonderfully shapped, hollow, golden delicious pate a choux, but they did not! Mine didn’t puff up at all, it felt flat!

  90. These are perfect, beautiful, delicious and … Thank you so much for all of things

  91. this is the most perfect one, I try many kind of recipes during years, and this is the best. I realy like it..

  92. hi,

    i tried the recipe but halved the ingredients as i did not want to make 24 eclairs. However, the dough was little runny and i added little more flour and sugar. But, the eclairs did not rise. They fell flat. tasted good but you cannot fill them. What could have gone wrong?

  93. Yeshi, you can’t just add some flour or sugar to get the right consistency of pâte à choux. You have to add the eggs gradually and maybe not all of them to the batter. Sorry, I couldn’t reply earlier.

  94. Thank you so much for this beautiful and helpful post! I followed the recipe and froze the piped eclairs, and much to my delight, they baked perfectly straight out of the freezer. I love finding new ways to make fancy recipes a little bit easier. Thanks a million!

  95. Sarah, you are very welcome! I’m so glad everything worked well. Thank you for your feedback!

  96. wow…these came out perfectly…how to get them to rise evenly?

  97. Hi, your eclairs look so pretty and delicious~ I’ve made eclairs about 5-6times but they never looked so pretty like yours.
    would like to know how you creat the lines on top. I used a fork to make some lines but when they puffed off in the oven, they weren’t straight like yours.
    Do you suggest to make some lines before baking ? Or , is it not necessery to do that?

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and nice pastry photos.

  98. Mine didn’t raise….. Wonder why. I’m not new at this…:-((

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