Choux pastry, we meet again!
Today I’m showing you how to make homemade eclairs with peanut butter mousse filling. Eclairs are traditionally made from choux pastry dough, pastry cream filling, and chocolate ganache on top. This delicious preparation is called eclair au chocolat in French and it’s likely the way you’ve eaten eclairs from a bakery. But why stop there? You can fill eclairs with just about anything including my favorite… peanut butter mousse. Literally a peanut butter cup in eclair form!!!
Bathing suit season is over, so let’s embrace this.
HOW TO MAKE ECLAIRS
Let’s watch the eclairs video tutorial first:
Today’s eclairs have 3 components:
- choux pastry
- peanut butter mousse filling
- chocolate ganache
I just posted the choux pastry dough recipe this week. Let’s quickly review it before moving onto the peanut butter mousse filling and chocolate ganache.
As you notice in the video tutorial, we’re using the same 7 ingredient choux pastry dough I taught you how to make earlier this week. Literally the same process– cook the first 6 ingredients on the stove, then transfer to a mixer and mix in 4 beaten eggs. Some readers have already tried the choux pastry noting that it’s worlds easier than they ever imagined!! So don’t be nervous about this French pastry!!
The difference today, however, is that we’re piping the pastry into log shapes to make eclairs instead of mound shapes to make cream puffs. To shape the eclairs, use a piping bag (reusable or disposable) fitted with any large round tip. I like using Ateco #809 piping tip. You could also use a zipped-top bag and cut off the corner for easy piping. Pipe 4-inch logs. Using a water moistened finger, smooth down any peaks/ends and lightly brush each log with egg wash.
In the photo above, notice how the parchment paper is wet? That’s a very important step. Why? Think of cheesecake. We bake cheesecakes in a water bath. Cheesecake, like choux pastry, is egg-heavy. Eggs need a moist and humid environment in the oven to (1) properly rise and (2) avoid drying out and burning.
Water moistened parchment paper = perfectly puffed up pastries with a deliciously light center and crisp exterior. Pastry perfection.
Two more components before we can assemble our eclairs. The great news is that both can be prepped ahead of time. Wouldn’t it be terrible for our diets, I mean awesome, to always have peanut butter mousse and chocolate ganache at the ready?
PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE
After the eclair shells bake and cool, fill with peanut butter mousse. First, whip some heavy cream. Set that aside, then mix cream cheese, peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract together. Then, fold in the whipped cream.
This stuff is pure gold. It’s light and fluffy, rich and decadent. The whipped cream = light and fluffy. The cream cheese peanut butter = rich and decadent.
It’s sweet, so I suggest giving it a taste test and adding a pinch of salt if desired.
You need 2 ingredients to make chocolate ganache: heavy cream and chocolate.
Heavy cream is also used to make the peanut butter mousse, so this is convenient! Just buy a pint of it: 1 cup for the peanut butter mousse, 1 cup for the ganache. Pick up two 4 ounce bars of chocolate from the baking aisle and combine it with the warm cream. That’s it, ganache topping is done.
You can use milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or bittersweet chocolate. As long as you stick to 1 cup of heavy cream and 8 ounces of real chocolate, you’ve got ganache!
Eclair assembly line, let’s go!
Using a toothpick, prick a hole in 1 end of the eclair shell. Transfer the peanut butter mousse to a piping bag (reusable or disposable) fitted with a small-ish round or open star piping tip. I suggest Wilton piping round tip 12, which is wide enough for the mousse to pipe out, but you can still nudge it inside the eclair. Don’t have a piping tip for this? Don’t worry about it. Slice the eclair in half horizontally. Sandwich mousse inside. Easy.
Finally, let each filled eclair take a nice dip in the chocolate ganache topping.
If eclairs have been on your baking bucket list, now’s the time. No excuses. If you stick with a quality choux recipe and method, there’s a million ways to successfully make eclairs at home.
Alternate Eclair Flavors!
- Lemon: fill with lemon curd, top with lemon glaze
- Blackberry: fill with blackberry cream cheese filling, top with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar
- Maple: fill with whipped cream (use 2 Tbsp maple syrup instead of confectioners’ sugar), top with maple glaze
- Salted Caramel: fill with whipped cream, top with salted caramel
- Pumpkin: fill with pumpkin cream cheese filling, top with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or the brown butter icing from this peach Bundt cake
- Raspberry: fill with raspberry jam, top with vanilla icing or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar
- Nutella: Swap peanut butter for Nutella in the mousse recipe below
- Mocha: fill with mocha whipped cream, top with chocolate ganache. For mocha whipped cream, add 1 teaspoon espresso powder to homemade whipped cream.
Which will you try first?!Print
Homemade Eclairs with Peanut Butter Mousse Filling
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- Yield: 16 eclairs
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
Using a simple homemade choux pastry (pâte à choux), you can create delicious French pastries like these chocolate peanut butter eclairs!
- 1 batch choux pastry
- egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk or water
Peanut Butter Mousse
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- 8 ounces (224g) full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (130g) creamy peanut butter*
- salt, to taste
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- two 4-ounce semi-sweet chocolate bars (226g), finely chopped
- Prepare the choux pastry dough recipe through step 4. You can use the choux pastry dough immediately for the eclairs or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly brush the parchment with water, which creates a humid environment for the pastry shells allowing them to puff up without drying out or burning.
- Transfer choux pastry dough to a piping bag (reusable or disposable) fitted with a Ateco #809 piping tip. Pipe 4-inch logs 3 inches apart. Watch the video in the blog post above for a visual. You can also use a zipped-top bag and cut off the corner for easy piping. Using a water moistened finger, smooth down any peaks or ends, then lightly brush each log with egg wash.
- Bake for 20 minutes then, keeping the pastries in the oven, reduce oven to 350°F (177°C) and continue to bake for 10-15 more minutes until golden brown. Do not open the oven as the pastries cook, as cool air will prevent them from properly puffing up. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before filling.
- Make the peanut butter mousse: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Temporarily transfer to another mixing bowl. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and peanut butter then beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream until combined. Taste. Stir in a pinch of salt, if desired. Transfer mousse to a piping bag (reusable or disposable) fitted with a small-ish round or open star piping tip. I suggest Wilton piping round tip 12, which is wide enough for the mousse to pipe out, but you can still nudge it inside the eclair. Set aside as you make the ganache.
- Make the chocolate ganache: Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil– that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. Slowly stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted.
- Assemble the eclairs: Use a toothpick to prick a hole in 1 end of each eclair shell. The peanut butter mousse piping tip is larger than this hole, but you should still be able to nudge the piping tip inside. Carefully pipe mousse into each eclair shell, stopping when it feels full. Pipe the mousse from both ends of the eclair if you notice it’s not reaching the other end. (Don’t have a piping tip for this? Slice the eclair in half horizontally, then sandwich peanut butter mousse inside.) Dip the top of each into chocolate ganache and place on a serving plate or cooling rack until ready to serve. Chocolate ganache topping sets in about an hour at room temperature or in about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Cover and store leftover filled pastries in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Cover and store unfilled pastries at room temperature for 1 day, in the refrigerator for 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before filling and serving.
- Make Ahead Instructions: See choux pastry recipe for how to prepare the dough ahead of time. Peanut butter mousse can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before using. Chocolate ganache can also be prepared, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before using. Microwave the refrigerated ganache for a few seconds until it’s thin enough for dipping/coating.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Mixing Bowl | Glass Mixing Bowls | Glass Measuring Cup | Wooden Spatula | Saucepan | Baking Sheet | Wilton #12 Piping Tip | Ateco #809 Piping Tip | Reusable Piping Bags or Disposable Piping Bags | Pastry Brush
- Peanut Butter: I don’t suggest using a natural style peanut butter for the mousse as it would separate.
Keywords: Homemade Eclairs with Peanut Butter Mousse Filling
Homemade eclairs, and anything made with choux pastry, count as participation in the September Baking Challenge! Keep the entries coming, I love seeing your French pastry creations. 🙂
Reader Comments & Reviews
I am making eclairs right now. I think I piped them too close because some of them are slightly touching. do u think that it’s going to break apart after its done baking?
Hi Huda, If they are stuck together you can use a sharp knife to cut them apart before taking them off the baking sheet.
Sally, another great recipe!! My taste-testing neighbors LOVED these, and so did I! I can’t believe I made choux pastry, and I certainly can’t believe I made eclairs!!! For other first timers, this did take me a while for a couple reasons. I didn’t know how the pastry portion would turn out if I baked more than one pan at a time, so I had to do 3 batches (I got 21 out of my dough rather than 16). So that was three batches in the oven. I am also kind of inept with the piping bag, so the “nudge the piping tip” into the eclair took a little more work. I ended up making a hole with the tooth pick about the same size as the piping tip, and for some I had to pipe mousse in the other end because it didn’t feel like it was making it all the way through to the other end. Regardless, these were totally worth the effort, and I feel like they will go much faster next time. And there will be a next time!
Made the peanut butter mousse for a chocolate cake I had baked! Don’t be dumb like me – make sure to really blend the cream cheese up or you’ll have little lumps in the mousse. Still delicious, just a little more textured hahaha
I made these when it was a baking challenge. Very clear instructions. Though I think I made my eclairs on the small size. The cream puffs turned out better. I made the peanut butter mousse – not sure if I liked it or not. If I was brave enough to make these again, I would consider a different filling option.
I managed to make these successfully. They are fantastic. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us all. Would never have thought I could have done it if it weren’t for you. Thanks again.
The pastry came out tasting great but mine had holes on the bottom. The filling came out the holes so it was a little difficult to fill them. Any idea what I did wrong to cause this? It’s a great recipe!
I only have Half & Half on hand, would that work for the ganache?
Unfortunately no. The ganache won’t set up. I recommend sticking with heavy cream.
Do you think the peanut butter mousse would work as a cake filling between layers?
Yes – YUM! Or if you are looking for something a little thicker you can also use my Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting.
Made these today. I’ve been wanting to try Choux pastry for a while. As with all of your recipes, the instructions are easy to follow and meticulous. They were fabulous and my family rated them “a keeper.” Thank you!
WOW – made these on the weekend. Because why not try something completely intimidating while you are isolated lol? I will say, no one can take a complicated French pastry and make it accessible like Sally. The choux pastry is spot on – light, delicious, gorgeous. For filling I went with the pastry cream (linked from the Boston Cream Pie recipe), and it was TO DIE FOR. Prob one of the best eclairs I have ever had.
One thing: I found it to be way too much ganache. I only used about half and generously dipped all 16 eclairs (“leftover ganache” turned into “quarantine fondue”, so technically not too much after all…?) Just as an FYI for anyone who doesn’t have quite enough chocolate in the pantry, it’s all good.
For the pastry cream, I did a batch and a half from the Boston Cream Pie recipe, which very generously filled (ok, maybe a little overfilled) all 16 eclairs and tasted completely divine.
Altogether, homemade eclairs take a lot of steps, but it is a showstopping, absolutely delicious dessert – for when someone in your life needs that little something extra (or when desserts become pandemic currency).
Thanks again Sally for another huge dessert win xoxo
I followed the baking instructions and even put a little slit in the side and put them back in the turned off oven to dry. But when I sliced them to fill with the cream they were wet inside. Any idea what happened? Thank you.
Hi Stephanie! It sounds like they are a little under-baked if they’re wet inside. A little moist is great, but they shouldn’t be raw. This is an easy fix if/when you decide to try them again!
I’d like to make these in a smaller size (I’m thinking of piping through a 1.5cm opening, about the length of a credit card). How should I adjust the baking times at the two temperatures?
When you effortlessly make such great pastries, I worship the water you walk on.
I was so pleased with this recipe! I watched the video and read the recipe through a couple of times…followed it all to a tee and they turned out great! Thanks Sally. Everything I make of yours always turns out just as you say.
I want to make eclairs and fill them with something lemon. Do you think it would be ok if I folded the lemon curd into whipped cream? I think if it works, it will be light and fluffy but still have a lemon flavor. Do you think that would work?
Yes, that sounds delicious! You can also make a slightly thicker filling using whipped cream, lemon curd, and cream cheese like the filling layer in this recipe: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/lemon-berry-trifle
My eclairs didn’t puff up. What can I do differently? I never opened the oven while baking.
Hi Kaycee! It could be a variety of things. Make sure that you’re following the recipe closely. Cook the choux on the stove precisely following step 2. Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes before adding the eggs. It could be that too much egg was added to your dough in the first place. Beat the 4 eggs together in a bowl, then add a little less than what’s in the bowl. Your mixture could simply be too moist. Does that make sense?
Can you double the recipe? Or just make one batch at a time?
For best taste and texture, I recommend just 1 batch at a time.
Easy and delicious! I filled mine with pastry cream for a more traditional version, although I am itching to try this PB mousse. I just wanted to comment that the recipe for ganache yielded twice what I needed. Next time I will halve it because I have a lot of ganache left over.
My husband and I tried this recipe yesterday (we’re teaching ourselves to bake things we’ve never tried before) and they taste wonderful. However, we got no “puff” out of them. I piped with a 1/2″ tip and we followed the recipe exactly but they came out of the oven only a teeny bit larger than they went in. Basically, we now have a batch of tasty breadsticks.
Where could we have gone wrong?
Hi Sally, this recipe looks delicious. I would like to try mini eclairs and cream puffs. Any idea on what size of piping tip to use? I love your recipes and have tried several in the last year.
Minis would be super cute. You can try something like a Witon #12 or Wilton #1A, which is the same tip I use to make cream puffs.
I have made other choux recipes before for chouqettes and gougeres (no egg wash) but this was first time trying eclairs and found the egg wash doesn’t work for me in this recipe.
Maybe I’m too heavy handed and they came out a bit flat! I found a tip elsewhere instead of leaving the egg wash off and having pale eclairs you can dust icing sugar over them instead and it caramelises in the oven. Worked a treat!!! So if anyone struggled with that give icing sugar a go!
BEST ECLAIRS EVERRRRR!!!!
So glad this was a challenge. I made mine tonight. Super easy. The filling is delish – but I had almost double what was needed. Same with ganache. Guess I may need to make another batch of pastry to use those up! 🙂
Thanks for another winner, Sally!
I made these today, very delicious. Lots of work, but yummy. The mousse was amazing on it’s own, but I felt like it got a bit lost in the final product. Lots of yummy flavors, but the chocolate took most of the credit.
It was my first time, and it was fun, but lots of work to pipe the filling into the eclair. Mostly bc I am a novice, and it was hard to judge how much filling was going inside, so I asked my husband to hold the eclair. That helped. Messy but fun to see him enjoying the oopsies when the mousse came squeezing out unexpectedly.
Hi Sandra! I like them on the moister side and I find they deflate even more when doing that step, but feel free to do what you prefer!