Chocolate and tonka bean éclairs

Chocolate and tonka bean éclairs

Lamingtons & lemon tart
Patricia Niven

Tonka beans are extremely fragrant and I believe toxic in large doses. Don’t be put off by this, though. In small quantities they are harmless and they provide an amazing aromatic flavour that takes these éclairs to the next level. If you can’t find tonka beans at specialist food stores or online, then replace them with the seeds from a vanilla bean.


Quantity Ingredient

Baked chocolate eclairs

Quantity Ingredient
200ml cold water
95g unsalted butter
large pinch salt
large pinch sugar
15g skim milk powder
80g plain flour, sifted
30g dutch cocoa powder, sifted
4 eggs

Chocolate custard cream

Quantity Ingredient
3 egg yolks
15g caster sugar
110ml full-cream milk
110ml thickened cream
120g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Tonka-infused white chocolate cream

Quantity Ingredient
555ml thickened cream
1/2 tonka bean, (or vanilla bean if you can't find tonka)
270g white chocolate, melted


Quantity Ingredient
dark chocolate glaze
dutch cocoa powder for dusting


  1. To make the éclairs, put the water, butter, salt and sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil ensuring the butter has melted. While boiling, whisk in the milk powder to dissolve it.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and dump in the flour and cocoa powder all in one go, then stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  3. Place the pan back over medium heat and continue to stir with the spatula. Cook the mixture for around 2 minutes until the dough starts to form a ball and leaves the side of the pan.
  4. Transfer the dough to a freestanding electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium–high speed for 20 seconds to release some of the steam and cool the dough slightly. Add the eggs, mixing well after each addition. The batter should be thick and glossy.
  5. Transfer the pastry to a shallow container and cover with plastic wrap. Cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour before transferring to a piping bag fitted with a large fluted or plain nozzle.
  6. Using a ruler as a guide, pipe the choux pastry into lengths of 26 cm on a tray lined with baking paper. Place the tray in the freezer to chill for a couple of hours.
  7. Once hard, remove the pastry from the freezer and transfer each piece of choux to a chopping board. Use a knife and a ruler to cut two 12 cm lengths from each piece. Discard any trim and store the éclairs back in the freezer. You can now pull out as many as you want to cook.
  8. Preheat the oven to 165°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  9. Place six éclairs on the prepared baking tray, spaced evenly apart and let the éclairs thaw.
  10. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Do not open the door while baking as this may cause a collapse in your pastry. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and bake for a further 20 minutes. Turn the oven off completely and leave the éclairs in the oven to dry out for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
  11. For the chocolate custard cream, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has paled.
  12. Place the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Pour the hot mixture over the eggs and sugar. Mix well and transfer to a clean saucepan over low heat.
  13. Cook the custard until it reaches a temperature of 82°C. Use a digital thermometer to accurately check the temperature.
  14. Put the chocolate in a bowl.
  15. Once the custard has reached temperature, pour it over the chocolate. Leave to sit for 20 seconds before mixing well to form a smooth shiny cream. Store in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour before use.
  16. To make the tonka-infused white chocolate cream, put 180 ml of the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and grate in the tonka bean using a microplane.
  17. Put the melted white chocolate in a bowl.
  18. Leave the cream to infuse for 1 hour before re-boiling and straining the cream through a fine sieve over the melted white chocolate. Let it sit for 30 seconds before stirring well with a spatula to combine.
  19. Stir in the remaining cold cream. Transfer the mixture to a covered container and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour before use.
  20. Whisk the cream to thick ribbons using an electric mixer or hand whisk. Be careful not to over-whip this cream as it can separate quickly.
  21. Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle.
  22. To assemble, remove the top one-third of each éclair using a sharp paring or serrated knife. Reserve the tops and scoop out any soft filling from the éclair bottoms to leave a clean cavity.
  23. Pipe or spoon the chocolate custard cream into each cavity until almost full.
  24. Pipe bulbs of the tonka cream along the éclairs on the chocolate custard cream.
  25. Dip the outside surface of the reserved éclair ‘lids’ through the dark chocolate glaze then use the lids to top the piped éclairs. Leave to set at room temperature. (See instructions on dipping éclairs in chocolate in the Sweet essentials chapter.)
  26. Lightly dust with cocoa powder and serve.
darren purchese
burch and purchese
sweet studio
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