1/2 cup water
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
Chocolate Sauce for dipping:
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Vanilla Pastry Cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the flour and stir quickly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a nice dough that comes away from the saucepan . Remove from the heat.
Transfer the dough to another bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with an electric hand mixer to incorporate each one before adding the next. Mix it until it's nice and smooth.
Use immediately, while it's hot! Place the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a plain, round 1 inch tip.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pipe out about 10-12 oblong shapes about 3 to 3 and 1/2 inches long. Smooth the points and tops by wetting your fingers and rubbing over the eclairs to shape them.
Bake in your preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake about 35 more minutes or until golden brown and puffed. They should feel light and hollow when done baking.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
Slice the tops off and allow to cool. This will allow the steam to release so that they do not deflate or become soggy inside.
Cool completely for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, make the chocolate sauce by bringing the heavy whipping cream up to a simmer.
Pour over chopped chocolate and let it sit for a couple of minutes to soften. Whisk the mixture until smooth.
Sometimes (especially in the colder months) the chocolate needs more "help" to melt. Pop the mixture in the microwave 7 seconds at a time, whisking each time until it's completely smooth and melted. Careful not to overheat it. Chocolate burns easily!! :o
Allow the chocolate sauce to cool and thicken on the counter for about one hour.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a big star tip with pastry cream.
Fill the eclairs generously. Dip the tops in the chocolate sauce.
Allow the chocolate to set if you can resist :)
This dessert tastes best the day it is prepared.