FFwD: Vanilla Eclairs

I struggled with this recipe. I have made cream puffs before without any issue, but this time I tried the pastry three times without success and ended up going to another recipe for the cooking times. I realized when I had success before it was with a recipe from the Joy of Cooking. In their recipe it calls for a hotter oven for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature and bake for another 30 minutes, which is more than double the baking time in Around my French Table. I wish I had had more experience with pate a choux before this recipe and then I would have realized that they weren’t anywhere near done when I was taking them out of the oven and that’s why they were deflating 🙁

It seemed like there are others who had success with the recipe as printed, but the baking times did not work for me. At least now I feel like I have lots of pate a choux experience! I was really keeping my fingers crossed for the last batch because I had used all of our eggs. And voila – success! The picture is actually from batch two because I didn’t want to wait for batch three to cool down, but these are the only two that did not deflate. In my final round of baking last night all of the eclairs stayed puffy. Thank goodness!

The pastry cream came together easily. It thickened so quickly that I was afraid my eggs had curdled, but I whisked and whisked and it turned out just fine.

I think it’s going to take me a while to get over my eclair failures and want to make these again, but they were so good and now that I know the reason for my failures the recipe may be calling my name sooner than I think.
*What is French Fridays with Dorie? An online cooking group dedicated to working our way through Dorie Greenspan’s newest book, Around My French Table. We try a new recipe each week and post about it on Fridays. If you’re interested you can pick up a copy of the book and follow along with us here.

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  1. Good for you to keep baking these until you found success. Definitely hotter oven and longer baking time. Your photo does look really good.

  2. Mine were flat, too. These look great, though!

  3. Christina, I think you may be right about the cooking time and temperature. If I didn’t leave mine in the oven to dry afterwards, they would surely have deflated too. Still, these two eclairs look perfect to me!

  4. I know I changed up the baking times as well, but can’t remember what I did….

    Your picture looks lovely & I am sure they were just absolutely tasty. Way to perservere!

  5. Way to stick with it on the dough! I didn’t like this recipe as much, as I’ve made profiteroles using more basic choux recipes with better results. I like how you actually piped the filling in from the sides! So fancy!

  6. That first picture is so professional looking..I like the filling piped inside.

  7. Oh no, I wonder what could it be? I just read about other ppl having the same issues. Kudos to you for trying another recipe and giving us that gorgeous shot of your éclairs 🙂

  8. Mine sank too! First time making eclairs and I didn’t know how to fix what was wrong. They were a little underdone, if I make these again, I might try another recipe. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, you’re not alone!

  9. Oh, how frustrating! You are a very good sport making these 3 times! Your end result looks fabulous…glad you did some recipe shopping 🙂

  10. I had the same issues with my dough. Oddly enough, my only other experience with pate a choux was from Dorie’s Baking so you would assume the 2 recipes would be similar. Guess not.

    Regardless of your problems, I think your eclairs look delicious! Fill anything with pastry cream and cover it in chocolate and I’m a fan! 🙂

  11. Sorry you had such a hard time with these. I agree that experience helps…I left mine in the oven longer than called for because they didn’t look done to me. I also made mini eclairs. I think if I had made larger I would have had to leave them in even longer. Your photos are lovely and your eclairs look wonderful!

  12. I admire your tenacity! The last time I too remember the recipe started with a hotter oven.

  13. Your eclairs look so professional. I had trouble with the baking times, but didn’t have enough time to make another batch. From what I’ve been reading on FFwD blogs, I really needed to bake them longer. Nice job!

  14. I thought mine deflated because I cooked them with the Cream Puff dough recipe times instead of the Eclair recipe’s… but second (half) batch worked out for me. I love that you piped the pastry cream from one of the ends instead of slicing the eclair.

  15. Good for you for not giving up, Christina! I wonder if it was humid when you were making these? I was reading on another post that the humidity affects the pate a choux and you need to adjust. Your perseverance certainly paid off because your eclairs look wonderful!

  16. So impressive that you kept with this! I just pushed on through, wimpy dough or not! Yours look wonderful.

  17. I think this is how you make a recipe really your own, by trying it until you truly understand it and you’re satisfied with the results. I need to try this again, as well, because my piping skills leave something to be desired.