I never feel more like a professional pastry chef than when I’m making pate a choux.
Also known as eclair paste, pate a choux is one of the first recipes you typically learn how to make and perfect in baking and pastry school.
There’s something lovely and almost sacred about preparing eclair paste, as if you’re walking on hallowed ground the moment you start measuring the flour.
I believe it’s because preparing pate a choux is a time-honored pastry tradition.
You’re travelling on the same beaten path as many bakers, chefs, and home cooks have followed for years and years.
Every time you make the batter, cook it in the pot, mix in the eggs, shape little mounds on a sheet pan, and bake them until they’re puffy and golden brown, you’re experiencing the same precise steps as all those proud bakers who have made it so many times before you.
And all unite in the enjoyment of the same final result: a thin, crispy crust and a hollow interior that is an absolutely ideal home for a smooth filling of your expert choosing.
If you’re interested in learning more, and want to try this recipe at home for the first time, I recommend you read the basics of making pate a choux in our recipe for classic cream puffs.
Once you study the technique and gain confidence with the steps, you can then build from that foundation and try alternative recipes, like these einkorn flour cream puffs.
The easy batter, made with one of my favorite ancient grains, comes together quickly and bakes flawlessly. The golden domes with their hollow interiors are the best match for a thick vanilla pudding filling, and a chocolate glaze on top.
There is just something about that light and airy dough mixed with thick, vanilla-infused pudding and melted dark chocolate – sweet perfection!
I would say I’m disappointed that I spent so much of my life prior to baking school not knowing the beautiful process of baking eclair paste completely from scratch, but I’ve made up for lost time since then.
And now, I want to give you the same delicious opportunity. Follow my recipe below, and witness this revered culinary tradition, with a small twist, in your own home kitchen!
Combine your passion for ancient grains with classic French pastry and make our recipe for einkorn flour cream puffs filled with vanilla pudding.
For the Cream Puffs:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose einkorn flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 recipe homemade vanilla pudding
- 4 ounces 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
For the Cream Puffs:
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
- While they are heating, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
- Once the butter has melted completely, reduce the heat to low and add the flour mixture. With a sturdy wooden spoon, vigorously stir until the batter forms a pasty, gluey dough, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the batter to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On medium speed, mix the dough for 5 minutes to slightly cool it.
- With the mixer still running on medium speed, add one egg at a time. Wait until the egg is completely mixed in before adding another. Mix in the vanilla until completely incorporated. The mixture should now be smooth, glossy, and slightly thick.
- Use a small cookie dough scooper to create 12 mounds of dough about 1 1/2 inches wide and distribute them onto one of the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each mound. Repeat with the other baking sheet and the rest of the dough.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and puffed. Let the shells cool completely on the baking sheets before filling.
- Once the puffs have completely cooled, use a sharp petty knife to carefully cut around the middle of each cream puff horizontally, stopping about 75% of the way through. The pastry should still remain intact, with enough of an opening for the pudding.
- Use a small spoon to carefully place about a tablespoon of pudding inside each partially cut pastry. For a more controlled process, you can transfer the pudding to a piping bag fitted with a small circular tip and pipe the filling into each pastry.
- To melt the chocolate, place the finely chopped chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval with a spatula, until completely melted. If your chocolate has seized, don’t panic! Follow our advice on how to quickly save it.
- Drizzle or spread the melted chocolate over the top of each pastry. Serve immediately.
- Category: Pastry
- Method: Baking/Stovetop
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: einkorn flour, cream puff, vanilla pudding, chocolate, eclair paste
No Leftovers, No Problems!
Because of the thin, delicate structure of this dessert, eclair puffs are best enjoyed the day they are made, ideally as soon as you fill them.
Any liquidy filling like a pudding, pastry cream, or whipped cream will immediately begin to saturate the interior, causing it to become soggy over a short period of time.
Leftovers are a cause for concern – you run the risk of serving soft, soggy pastries. That’s why you and your excited guests need to enjoy these quickly.
And will anyone complain about that small demand? I doubt it.
If you do want to plan ahead, you can choose to make the base and filling separately, no more than 2 days in advance. When you are ready to serve, proceed with filling with the pudding and finishing with the melted chocolate.
What is your favorite way to use pate a choux? Cream puffs, eclairs, or savory gougeres? Do you have any personal tips or tricks for perfecting this classic recipe? I would love to know! Leave a comment below.
For more sweet recipes you are sure to love, make some of my favorites the next time you are determined to present a gorgeous dessert:
Photos by Shanna Mallon, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on March 3, 2014 by Shanna Mallon. Last updated on March 19, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best cheesesteaks, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.