Mini Chocolate Eclairs with Vanilla Pastry Cream

Disclaimer- I was given a bottle of Nielsen-Massey's Tahitian Vanilla Bean Paste to test.  All opinions are honest and my own. 

Eclairs are my absolute favorite sweet treat.  Beautiful choux dough, delicious pastry cream, and decadent chocolate on top.   Sure, they take a little effort to put together, but it's absolutely worth it in the end.  When Nielsen-Massey offered me the opportunity to try their new Tahitian Vanilla Bean Paste, I immediately thought of eclairs.

I found a recipe for a mini version on the Nielsen-Massey website. It's very well laid out and easy to follow.  Instead of the vanilla bean and the vanilla extract it calls for, I used 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the Tahitian Vanilla Bean Paste instead.

two mini eclairs on a blue and white plate

Let me just tell you, the pastry cream almost didn't make it into the eclairs at all.  Between the amazing smell and the lovely flavor, I could have eaten the whole bowl with a spoon!  That wouldn't have made for such a great post though, so I carried on and made the dough while the pastry cream chilled in the fridge.

Choux dough makes for a great arm workout.  I've got a wooden spoon I keep around just for that.  It's so satisfying to watch it come together though! I like Nielsen-Massey's tip of snipping the dough with scissors. If you still get a bit of a bump or a tail, you can also dampen your finger and pat it down, or do it with the brush when you egg wash.

Make sure that your choux is completely cooked through and not eggy before piercing and cooling them.  Mine pretty much fell right in line with the recommended times in the recipe.  If yours are larger or smaller, be sure to break one open and test it to be sure it's done.

3 mini eclairs on a blue and white plate

These were a huge hit here.  So much so that I had to throw the guys out of the room while I filled them, they were eating them as fast as I was making them.   They hovered around, circling like sharks while I took my pictures, asking if I was done yet?

I sat and enjoyed mine while editing photos.  Give them a try, you won't be sorry you did! The pastry cream will also be amazing in two of my other favorite desserts, Boston Cream Pie and Boston Cream doughnuts.  Thank you so much to Nielsen-Massey for the opportunity to try yet another one of their amazing products!

Eclairs on a  blue and white plate, serving platter and bottle of vanilla

You also might like these recipes featuring Nielsen-Massey pastes and extracts:
Gram's Lemon Cupcakes
Chocolate Peppermint Pizzelle Fauxnoli
Mocha Filled Thumbprints

Mini Chocolate Eclairs with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Yield: 48


Pastry Cream
Choux Pastry
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (for egg wash)
  • 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
Chocolate Ganache


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and Tahitian Vanilla Bean Paste to a boil, whisking occasionally. Once it starts to boil, immediately remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes to infuse. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in cornstarch and continue to whisk vigorously until lumps are gone.
  2. Temper the eggs by whisking in about 1/4 cup of the vanilla milk into the egg mixture (measurement doesn’t need to be exact). Once the milk is fully incorporated, whisk in the remaining milk and set the saucepan aside. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly until cream begins to thicken and boil.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until completely melted. Pour mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap gently touches the top of the pastry cream. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Butter should have melted. Remove pan from heat and add flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes. It will form a ball and resemble mashed potatoes.
  6. Using a either a stand or hand mixer, beat on medium-low speed to let the heat out of the dough until the dough is just warm to the touch. With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time and fully mixing in each one before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed between each addition.
  7. Transfer the dough to a pastry piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip and pipe the dough in even 3-inch strips. Use clean kitchen shears to snip the dough near the tip when you’re done piping each segment to reduce “tails”. Make sure strips of dough are two inches apart. Beat together the egg yolk and the teaspoon of water and brush over the top of the dough.
  8. Bake for 8 minutes at 400°F, then turn down the oven temp to 350°F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. Exact baking time will depend on the size and shape of your pastries. Bake until the pastries are slightly puffed, golden-brown in color, and dry to the touch. They will detach easily from the parchment and feel hollow and light when you pick them up.
  9. Remove from the oven and “test” one of the pastries. If it still seems a bit soggy/eggy, lower the heat to 300°F and bake for another 5 minutes to help dry out the puffs. Poke an end of each pastry with a toothpick to release any lingering steam from the inside and help prevent them from getting soggy. Cool the pastries completely on a cooling rack and bake off the remaining dough.
  10. Add chocolate chips to a small glass bowl and set aside. Add heavy cream to a saucepan and bring to a light simmer, immediately remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Add in the chocolate extract and allow the mixture to sit for 3 to 4 minutes before whisking into a rich chocolate ganache.
  11. Remove the pastry cream from the fridge and whip using a whisk, stand mixer, or hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a Bismarck tip. Use a paring knife to slit one end of each of the pastries and insert the piping tip into the pastry to fill it with cream, pulling the tip out as you fill.
  12. Gently dip the tops of the eclairs into the ganache and place on parchment paper to let the ganache set. Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge until ready to consume.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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authorHello, my name is Cherine, but you can call me "Chicho" :) I am Lebanese and I live in Paris. Welcome to my internet kitchen, grab a cup of coffee, a macaron and get comfy! This blog is my recipe journal. It's where I write about the recipes that intersect my everyday life. Often the recipes are from my cookbook collection, my magazines, my favorite blogs... sometimes not, they might come from my mother, a friend, a neighbour... or I might write about a recipe I invented myself.
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