This is seriously the Best Eclairs Recipe ever! The pastry and frosting are made completely from scratch and the filling is absolutely to-die-for! Making this recipe is a labor of love, but it results in a delicious, elegant dessert that is perfect for any special occasion! Make-ahead and freezer-friendly!
Mix together the French vanilla pudding and milk. Set aside in the refrigerator until it becomes thick (about 5 minutes).
Add the whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer and whip on high speed until firm peaks form and hold their shape.
Fold the pudding and whipped cream mixture together.
Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease three jelly roll pans and set aside.
Measure your water, salt and butter into a 4-quart saucepan. Heat water salt and butter to boiling. Continue to boil the mixture until the butter is melted.
Add the flour to the saucepan all at once and whip with wooden spoon. Mixture will form a ball in middle of the pan.
Cool for about 5 minutes stirring to cool faster.
Add eggs one at a time whipping with wooden spoon well after each. [Or transfer your mixture to a standing mixture and add eggs individually, beating well after each].
Check your batter, if it is not thick enough to hold a shape when piped, gradually add more flour until it reaches the desired consistency.
Put mixture into pastry bag and pipe out eclair shapes about 1 ½ to 2 inches long and 2 inches apart on your prepared baking sheets.
Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool completely before assembling the eclairs.
Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (60 seconds, then 30 second intervals until smooth), set aside.
Place softened butter in the bowl of your standing mixer.
Add chocolate vanilla and beat until combined.
Add salt and powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
Add milk and beat until the mixture reaches spreading consistency, wiping down the sides as you go. You may need to add more milk.
Set aside (but keep at room temperature).
Put filling in a large piping bag fitted with a small, round tip. Gently pipe the filling into one end of the pastry puff. Repeating for each puff until they are all filled.
Fill a large piping bag with your chocolate frosting and frost the eclairs in any way you’d like!
Refrigerate until serving.
I do not recommend any ingredient substitutions. The only changes that can be made are: using unsalted butter in both the puffs and frosting, or a different kind of chocolate in the frosting (e.g. semisweet or milk) for a sweeter taste.
Store these eclairs in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 1 month in an airtight container.
Simply remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving!