Reminiscent of the classic French pastry, this Eclair Pie is a beautiful, yet deliciously uncomplicated dessert. It starts off with a crisp pâte sablée pastry shell, filled with a stunning vanilla pastry cream, and finished off with a dark chocolate ganache topping. The decorative design is totally optional, however, it's pretty simple to achieve.
If there was ever a dessert to conjure up childhood memories, it would have to be the Eclair. They were always perfectly lined in the pastry case of your neighborhood bakery, practically begging to be bought and consumed on the spot. With a crisp choux pastry shell, a silky pastry cream, and, of course, that irresistible chocolate ganache finish, it's a treat loved by so many.
This pie is a play on all of those well-known flavors and textures. A sweet and crisp pie crust is filled with a luscious vanilla pastry cream and topped with a simple ganache for a beautiful presentation that tastes as good as it looks.
There are a few steps to make this pie, but all involve pretty simple techniques (no choux pastry making required) and are definitely worth the effort.
Overview of Ingredients
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe is listed below in greater detail.
- all-purpose flour
- almond flour
- powdered sugar
- unsalted butter
- whole milk
- vanilla extract or vanilla bean
- bittersweet chocolate
- heavy cream
- food processor
- 9″ tart pan
- pie weights (I prefer to use dried rice/beans for this, but you can also buy pie weights)
- rolling pin
- off-set spatula
- piping bag and toothpick (if you want to make the decorative design)
- baking essentials: pot, whisk, spatula, measuring cups, strainer
Tips for Making the Pastry
This tart requires a dedicated tart dough, also known as pâte sablée (pronounced pat sah-BLAY). It is sturdy crust, and it will hold up to a heavier tart filling, but delicate enough to have that light buttery crispness to it. It’s made in a food processor and comes together quickly.
For more information about working with this pastry, check out the Pâte Sablée recipe!
Here are a few quick tips:
- Let the dough rest. I never advise making pastry the same day you plan to bake it. It’s essential for the dough to hydrate properly, therefore the dough should rest at least overnight. If you absolutely need to, you can make the dough and bake it all in the same day, but you must let it rest at least 2 hours before you roll it out. Try to plan accordingly.
- Weigh your ingredients! An electronic kitchen scale is not a huge investment. You can get one for around $25. I can’t recommend this enough if you want to get good at baking, get a scale.
- This dough is stickier because of the sugar. You can either roll it on plastic wrap, which I find useful or roll it out as you normally would; however, you’ll need to use more flour than you typically would so it doesn’t stick. If there is an excess amount of flour on your dough after it has been rolled out, you can brush some of it off with a dry pastry brush.
- Bake this crust at a lower temperature. This pastry has a high sugar content and almond flour, so I recommend baking it at 375º to ensure it doesn’t burn. Cover the edges if they’re are browning too quickly.
The Easiest Pastry Cream
Pastry cream, also known as crème pâtissière, is essentially a thick custard. It is perfect for many different fine pastries but especially this dessert tart!
The recipe is made a bit different than traditional pastry cream. This recipe is made in one pot and doesn’t require any tempering of the eggs, which is a win in my book!
Also, this recipe is a bit thinner than traditional recipes, because I based it off my own personal preferences. With that being said, it still thickens up pretty well once chilled, and it’s just perfect in this Eclair Pie.
A few quick tips:
- Make sure to have a rubber spatula and a whisk handy. I use both to make sure the mixture cooks evenly. I swap between using them while I’m cooking the pastry cream, to make sure I’m getting all the mixture out of the crevices of the pot while whisking to ensure a consistent cook.
- Don’t walk away from the pot while you are cooking it. It takes no more than 10 minutes to cook. Also, it’s especially important to stir almost constantly in the beginning when you are cooking it to ensure no egg yolks get stuck to the bottom of the pot and scramble.
- Strain the cream to get rid of any small bits of cooked eggs you might have. It makes the final cream smoother.
- This cream will set pretty firm. Whisk it once it is chilled to achieve a smooth, silky consistency.
- Pastry cream is best used within two days after it has been made. As the days go on, the cream might release some moisture. This is fine to consume, just stir it back up.
For more detailed information about making it, check out this dedicated post all about working with pastry cream!
Tips for Working with Chocolate Ganache
A ganache is simply chocolate melted with some heavy cream. The viscosity can differ, depending on your ratio of cream to chocolate. Generally speaking, it is 1 part cream to 1 part chocolate. But for this recipe, I call for a bit more cream than chocolate because I wanted to ensure a really smooth and creamy top. All that means is that the chocolate will be thinner, and therefore, when you pour it on the pastry cream, it can naturally float out to the edges of the pie without needing any assistance from an off-set spatula. That means you'll have a totally smooth top, as you see in these photos!
To make the ganache, you simply heat the heavy cream and pour it over the chocolate. The heat from the cream melts the chocolate. Let it sit for 4-5 minutes before whisking. Once it's whisked, it will be thin, so let it sit for a few minutes to thicken up. Then, gently pour it on top of the pastry cream and tilt the pie to let the ganache sail out to the edges of the crust. It will still be thin after this and need to be chilled.
The recipe calls for chopped bittersweet chocolate, as that is always ideal to use when you are working with chocolate for the ganache. But good-quality chips are ok to use too. Try to avoid inexpensive chocolate chips with a lot of added ingredients because they sometimes contain too much stabilizer and will inhibit the chocolate from fully melting.
How to Assemble an Eclair Pie
So just to recap, there are three main steps to making this pie:
- Making, rolling out, and baking the pie crust (this can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Making and chilling the pastry cream (this can be done 1 day ahead)
- Making the ganache top and decorating the pie (this should be done right before assembling the pie)
Totally doable, and easy enough to break down into steps. This is a project, but a simple one! Once the first two steps are completed, to assemble transfer the pastry cream to the pastry shell. Smooth over the top and let it sit in the refrigerator.
Then, make the ganache and gently pour it over the pastry cream.
Want to Make that Pretty Swirl?
It's actually quite easy to make. Start by piping horizontal lines across the pie. Do your best to make them as straight as possible, with a similar amount of space between them.
Then, take a toothpick or a knife and run a vertical line through them. Alternate starting from the top and bottom to achieve that signature pastry look.
This should be done within minutes of setting the ganache on top of the pastry cream in order for it to work properly.
How to Serve and Store it
This pie is best served the day it is made.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but the pie may start to release a bit of liquid as time goes on.
Want to get that clean slice? Use a sharp knife that is heated up. To heat a knife, run it under hot water and dry it thoroughly before using.
More Chocolate Recipes:
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
- Chocolate Cream Pie
- Malted Milk Chocolate Pie
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pie
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Everyday Pie is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.