Recreate the window display of a French pâtisserie with these classic, elegant pistachio éclairs. Light, buttery choux pastry is filled with pistachio pastry cream that's just bursting with pistachio flavour from our 100% pistachio paste.
When it comes to decorating these pistachio éclairs little is more - a shiny layer of pale green fondant icing, a pistachio resting on one end and a little edible silver leaf. We've included an easy little recipe for fondant but if you're short on time you can buy some in the shops and dilute it with the simple syrup in this recipe.
How long do éclairs last?
Éclairs are best eaten on the day they are made. This is because they are filled with a cream, which is at its best (and freshest) as soon as it’s made. Once the cream is added to the pastry, they will start to soften. In order to get crisp pastry, you should eat the éclairs as soon as they’re ready!
How to prevent éclairs going soggy
Once you’ve baked your choux pastry, it’s important to dry it out – this is what prevents éclairs from turning soggy. Once the baking time is up, turn the oven off and leave them in the oven until completely cooled.
Once they are cooled, store them in an airtight container and only fill them when you’re ready to eat them.
How can you avoid your éclairs going flat?
When it comes to volume, it’s all about the oven. You need to make sure the oven temperature is correct – if your éclairs have previously come out flat, it could be that the oven temperature is too low.
When baking, don’t open the oven door for the first ten minutes. The cold air can cause the éclairs to collapse.
How do you fill éclairs?
We’ve explained step-by-step how to fill éclairs in the recipe below, but it’s important you have the right equipment. Using a piping bag with round nozzles will ensure even distribution of the cream through the pastry.
To fill the pastry, make holes in the base, and at either end of the éclair. This allows the cream to be piped easily, without ruining the overall appearance.
For the choux pastry Serves: 10
- 65ml water
- 65ml milk
- 50g butter, in cubes, plus a little extra for greasing
- 2g salt
- 4g sugar
- 75g plain flour, sifted
- 110g eggs, around 2 large eggs
For the pistachio pastry cream
- 250ml whole milk
- 70g caster sugar
- 20g corn flour (or custard powder)
- 2 large egg yolks (around 40g yolk)
- 40g unsalted butter, in cubes
- 30g pistachio paste
For the pistachio fondant icing
- 500g caster sugar
- 100g water
- Natural green food colour
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g water
How to make the choux pastry éclairs
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Grease two baking trays with butter.
- Heat the water, milk, butter, salt and caster sugar in a pan until the butter has melted.
- Away from the heat immediately tip in the flour and, using a wooden spoon, beat to combine.
- Move the pan back over a low heat, and stir the mixture (known as a ‘panade’) until it comes away easily from the sides of the pan.
- Remove from the heat, tip into a bowl and stir for 2-3 minutes until the mixture cools enough to add the egg.
- Add half the eggs in one go and beat vigorously to combine. Then slowly add the remaining egg, little by little – you may not need to use all of it! Keep checking the consistency. The mixture is ready when it looks very silky, and will drop from a spoon held at an angle above the mixture – ‘dropping consistency’ . It shouldn’t be runny.
- Place the nozzle in the piping bag and fill with the mixture. Pipe 13cm lengths on the baking parchment.
- Use a pastry brush dipped in any remaining egg to gently pat the surface of the choux pastry. Try to make the shape more regular without flattening it too much.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 200°C. Be sure not to open the oven for the first ten minutes as the éclairs may deflate.
- Note: The éclairs can be frozen raw directly on the baking trays, after they are piped. When the piped mixture is firm, feel free to bunch them in closer together or store in a box to make more room in the freezer. Simply add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time from frozen.
How to make the pistachio cream
- Place the milk and roughly half the sugar in a pan and bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile mix together the remaining sugar with the corn flour or custard powder. Add the egg yolk and mix with a whisk to make a thick paste.
- Pour a small amount of the boiling milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add it to the rest of the milk and return to the hob over a medium heat, whisking constantly. When it starts to boil reduce the heat whilst continuing to whisk for a minute in order to pasteurise the cream.
- Remove from the heat and add the cubes of butter along with the pistachio paste.
- Pour it onto a baking tray or plate covered in cling film. Cover with another layer of cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Use a small round 8mm nozzle to make three small holes in the underside of the éclairs, two near the ends and one in the middle.
- Place the same nozzle in a piping bag and fill with the pistachio pastry cream.
- Hold the éclairs in one hand and use your dominant hand to pipe the cream into the éclairs through each of the three holes.
- Scrape away any excess that comes out of the holes and refrigerate whilst you prepare the fondant icing.
How to make the fondant icing
- Begin by preparing a simple syrup using 100g water and 100g caster sugar. Bring the water and sugar to the boil in a pan. Set to one side and allow to cool.
- Place a bowl of cold tap water in the sink.
- For the fondant, bring the 500g caster sugar and 100g water to the boil in a pan.
- Using a thermapen thermometer, heat the syrup to 115°C.
- Cool the fondant syrup to 75°C by carefully placing the bottom of the pan in the bowl of cold water you have prepared in the sink. This will take a few minutes.
- Pour the fondant syrup into a stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat hard for around 10 minutes until the fondant is white and solidified.
- Using a spoon beat the fondant vigorously whilst heating it over a very low heat. The fondant should not exceed 35°C or it will not shine so it should not feel warm when you dip your finger in it.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of the simple syrup and a tiny pinch of green food colour, and stir vigorously until the fondant is smooth and shiny. The fondant should not be too liquid or it will run everywhere when you try to ice the éclairs. Ice the éclairs by holding them horizontally with the fingertips of both hands and lowering them into the fondant. Shake up and down to remove excess fondant and then set aside.
- Finally, arrange two or three slivered pistachios at one end of each éclair.
- Use a small pastry brush to place a little edible silver leaf on top of the pistachios.
- Refrigerate the éclairs until ready to serve, preferably the same day.
Note: Fondant will keep in the fridge for up to a year if wrapped tightly in cling film, so it can be reused again and again.