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Salted Caramel Eclairs

Salted Caramel Eclairs! Crisp pastry shells filled with luscious salted caramel pastry cream and topped with a glaze of salted caramelized sugar.

In a professional pastry kitchen we don’t reinvent the wheel for every single dish. We have a repertoire of what I call “essential recipes”. 

Pate a Choux and Pastry Cream are two of the most important “essential recipes”. The same batter and the same cream filling can be adapted and used in a million different pastries. Ok, maybe not a million, but certainly dozens…

Salted Caramel Eclairs are adapted from the same two recipes used to create classic Cream Puffs and Chocolate Eclairs.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Salted Caramel Eclairs filled with salted caramel pastry cream:

3 photos showing sugar melting and then caramelizing
Melt the sugar in a heavy pot and cook until it becomes a light amber color. Turn off the heat immediately.
pouring milk into caramelized sugar and then melting the caramel into the milk
Pour all the milk at once into the caramel (watch for the steam!). Cook over low heat until the caramel melts into the milk.
pouring caramel sauce into eggs then a bowl of caramel pastry cream.
Pour the hot caramel milk into the eggs then return the mix to the pot. Cook until the pastry cream thickens. Cover and chill completely.
a tray of unbaked eclairs and poking a hole into a baked eclair for filling.
Pipe the eclairs and sprinkle with powdered sugar before baking. Poke a hole on both ends of each eclair for filing.
a pastry tip for filling eclairs
You can use a “bismark” pastry tip for filling the eclairs.
Folding cream into caramel pastry cream
Fold the whipped cream into the chilled custard.
Make the caramel glaze and dip the top of each eclair, being CAREFUL NOT TO TOUCH THE CARAMEL. Let the excess drip. NOTE: If you’re nervous about dipping the eclairs in hot caramel you can skip this step and sprinkle the eclairs with powdered sugar instead.

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Salted Caramel Eclairs

Salted Caramel Eclairs! Crisp pastry shells filled with luscious salted caramel cream and topped with a glaze of caramelized sugar.
Prep Time30 mins
Bake Time20 mins
Drying Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
24 eclairs

Ingredients

Salted Caramel Pastry Cream

  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 4 oz granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 8 oz whole milk (1 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Assembly

  • 8 oz heavy cream (1 cup)
  • 1 oz powdered sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 12 oz granulated sugar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

Instructions

Make the Eclairs

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two 1/2 sheet pans with parchment paper or silpat. If using parchment paper, put a dab of batter in each corner to glue the paper to the sheet.
  • Use a piping bag fitted with a 1/2" star tip to pipe 4" long eclairs. Use a sifter to lightly sprinkle the tops of the eclairs with powdered sugar.
    1 recipe Pate a Choux, Powdered sugar for topping
  • Bake until well puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the eclairs from the oven and turn off the heat.
  • Use a skewer or paring knife to form a small hole in both ends of each eclair. Return the tray to the still warm (but turned off) oven and allow the eclairs to dry for 30 minutes.
  • Cool to room temperature before filling (see note).

Salted Caramel Pastry Cream

  • In a large bowl whisk together the egg, yolks and cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
    1 egg, 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Place the granulated sugar into a heavy saucepan over medium heat. When the outside edges of the sugar begin to melt use a wooden spoon to stir the melted sugar toward the center. Continue stirring the sugar until it's completely melted.
    4 oz granulated sugar
  • Watch carefully. When the sugar becomes amber brown turn off the heat.
  • Add the milk all at once. Keep your face away from the steam that will rise from the pot. Turn the heat back on to low. Add the salt and stir until the caramel is melted into the milk.
    8 oz whole milk, 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • Whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture, then return the custard to the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to boil.
  • Immediately strain the pastry cream back into the bowl. Add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter is melted. Chill the pastry cream until cold.
    1 oz unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Assembly

  • Whip the cream with the powdered sugar. Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream in two batches. Scoop the pastry cream into a pastry bag fitted with a small, plain tip. Pipe the filling into the eclairs from both ends to make sure each eclair is completely filled. Refigerate the eclairs while you make the glaze.
    8 oz heavy cream, 1 oz powdered sugar
  • Place the granulated sugar, lemon juice and salt into a heavy saucepan over medium heat. When the outside edges of the sugar begin to melt use a wooden spoon to stir the melted sugar toward the center. Continue stirring the sugar until it's completely melted.
    1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon table salt, 12 oz granulated sugar
  • Watch carefully. When sugar becomes light brown turn off the heat. It will continue to brown after being removed from the stove.
  • VERY CAREFULLY, dip the top of each eclair into the hot caramel and allow the excess to drip back into the pot. NOTE: If you're nervous about dipping the eclairs in hot caramel you can skip this step and sprinkle the eclairs with powdered sugar instead.
    Do not let your fingers touch the caramel!
  • Chill the eclairs until serving.

Equipment

My Book
KA Stand Mixer
Half Sheet Pans
Parchment Sheets
Disposable Decorating Bags
Bismark Pastry Tip

Notes

The unfilled eclairs can be packed into freezer bags (don’t overcrowd or crush) and frozen for up to a month. To use, line the frozen eclairs on a sheet pan and heat in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes until crisp. Cool and fill.

Nutrition

Serving: 1eclairs | Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
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