Makes 12 éclairs
The shape of a baked éclair depends upon the shape it is given before baking. It is easiest to make a nice, round éclair using a pastry bag, but you can also drop the batter from a spoon. Use a table knife dipped in water to smooth out any tails or peaks on the surface of the éclair before it goes into the oven. To be sure that your éclairs are all about the same size, use a pencil to trace templates onto the sheets of parchment paper before you place them, pencil-marked side down, onto baking sheets.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour all at once, and stir well. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the pan, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and beat at medium speed until cooled to body temperature. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Beat in the egg white.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a plain round tip. Pipe the dough into 5-inch-long cylinders on the parchment-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Bake the éclairs until they are puffed and light golden brown, 20 minutes. There may be beads of moisture on the sides. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F and continue to bake until the éclairs look dry, 20 minutes more. Transfer the éclairs to wire racks and let cool completely before filling.
- Pierce a hole in both ends of each cooked éclair using a skewer or chopstick. Fit a pastry bag with a 1/8-inch plain tip. Fill the pastry bag with the diplomat cream and pipe into the éclair from each end.
- Dip the top of each éclair in the warm glaze, removing any excess with a small metal spatula, and transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet. Refrigerate until the glaze firms, then serve.
Note: An alternative method for filling the éclairs is to slice them in half horizontally and pipe the diplomat cream in a spiral over the base of the éclair using a plain pastry tip. Dip the top of the pastry in warm glaze, removing any excess with a small metal spatula, and place it on top of the cream. Chill to firm the glaze as directed above.
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