These Earl grey eclairs are a delicious tea time treat! Perfect choux pastry shells, filled with a creamy diplomat cream made with earl grey custard.
Earl grey eclairs or profiteroles are an easy and elegant pastry to make at home!
While I know a thing or two about tea, I wasn’t always a fan of earl grey tea. But I’ve come to appreciate the flowery, fruity flavor of this wonderful tea.
These earl grey eclairs, which can also be made into profiteroles, are a delectable dessert. The flavors are incredibly, almost sneakily, well balanced.
There are 3 components to make these earl grey eclairs or profiteroles,
- Choux pastry
- Earl grey custard and diplomat cream
- Vanilla glaze
Making the choux pastry for earl grey eclairs
Choux pastry may seem intimidating at first, but it’s honestly very easy to make. You just need to know what to look for in the dough. This way you can avoid all the common pitfalls with eclairs or profiteroles.
So fear not, I have shared this very detailed post on how to make choux pastry, including troubleshooting choux pastry problems!
If you’re making earl grey eclairs (instead of profiteroles), then take a look at my perfect classic eclairs post as well. Here I share tips on how to get perfect eclairs.
But for an easier option, you can make earl grey profiteroles instead.
A common misconception is that eclairs and profiteroles remain crispy for a long time. This is not true. With the moisture in the air, the crisp shell get soft with time, and even faster when filled.
That’s also why I prefer to make eclairs with bread flour, because you get a thicker, more sturdy shell that will withstand the filling better.
Key points to remember when making eclairs
The amount of eggs added will vary. So in terms of the eggs, go by consistency, NOT by weight.
Use bread flour for eclairs. But you can use either AP flour or bread flour for profiteroles.
Use a French star tip for the best shaped eclairs.
When piping, eclairs should be piped at a 45 degree angle, while profiteroles should be piped straight (to prevent lopsided profiteroles).
Check out my perfect chocolate profiteroles post for more tips as well.
Making the earl grey custard and diplomat cream
Earl grey custard was a simple choice for me. Earl grey and milk are a perfect combo, and I knew earl grey eclairs were going to taste as amazing as they sound!
To make the earl grey custard, you first need to make the tea infused custard / pastry cream.
I use a good quality loose earl grey tea to make the infused milk for the eclairs. The tea and milk are boiled together and then left to be infused, in order to get the most earl grey flavor. Since the pastry cream is mixed with whipped cream, it’s crucial that the earl grey pastry cream has a lovely, robust flavor.
Next, a very thick custard is made with the infused milk. It’s important that the custard is thick, so that the final diplomat cream will have the right consistency.
Chill the custard overnight. As the earl grey pastry cream chills overnight, it’ll become very thick and “set”. The next day, whisk the pastry cream to make it smooth, and then fold in some stabilized whipped cream to create the earl grey diplomat cream for your eclairs or profiteroles. I only add a little whipped cream, because I want the filling to be slightly thicker and richer than a diplomat cream.
It’s also important to note that the filling should not be too sweet. This is because the glaze is VERY sweet. This way the eclairs will have the perfect balance of sweetness when combined with the earl grey filling AND the glaze.
Making the glaze for the eclairs
This glaze for the earl grey eclairs is a basic vanilla fondant glaze. The same type of glaze that could be used to glaze petit fours.
The glaze is very simple to make, only requiring a handful of ingredients,
- Corn syrup
- Confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
- Vanilla (vanilla beans, extract, or bean paste)
- Salt (optional, but just a pinch to balance the sweetness a little)
Because this glaze is “cooked” over the stove, it’s best used when slightly warm. The more it cools down, the thicker it becomes. If it’s too hot, the glaze will be too thin. If too cold, the glaze will be too thick.
Can I add other flavors to the glaze?
Yes! Earl grey tea pairs very well with the following flavors,
- Bergamot orange
So you can infuse the water of the glaze with lavender, or add lemon or orange extract to the glaze.
How to make the earl grey eclairs (or earl grey profiteroles)
The first step is to make the earl grey pastry cream / custard. Once the custard is made, it must be chilled in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
You can also make the glaze and refrigerate it until needed. The glaze will form a “skin” as it cools, so make sure to cover the entire surface properly (with plastic wrap that’s touching the whole surface) to prevent this.
The choux pastry dough can also be made a day ahead. Store the dough in an air-tight container, making sure it’s not exposed to any air. Cover the whole surface of the dough with plastic wrap (touching the surface), OR place the dough in a large uncut pastry bag, then twist and close the end to keep the air out.
Pipe the choux pastry into eclairs – about 4 – 5 inch long, using a 1/2 inch French star piping tip. Alternatively, pipe circular mounds of the dough to make profiteroles. Then bake.
While the pastries are baking / cooling, make the earl grey diplomat cream for the eclairs. Whisk the pastry cream until smooth. Whip the whipped cream with gelatin to make stabilized whipped cream, and fold it into the pastry cream.
Fill the eclair shells (or choux puff shells) with the earl grey diplomat cream.
Gently warm the glaze in a saucepan (about 90 – 100 F), and dip the eclairs to get a smooth glaze on top. Before the vanilla glaze sets, sprinkle any garnishes. I used blue cornflower blossoms in these pictures, but you could use lavender, or candied lemon peels, or leave it as is.
How to store them for later
Unfortunately, you cannot make eclairs and profiteroles in advance, because the pastries get too soft and soggy the longer you keep them.
Eclairs and profiteroles are best eaten on the day they are made (sooner the better). This is why I prefer to use bread flour, as it forms a thicker shell that is more resilient.
However, each of the components can be made in advance if you prefer.
Earl grey custard – Can be made up to 3 days in advance. However, I prefer to add the stabilized whipped cream just before I’m ready to fill the cases. I don’t freeze the custard, as it can weep when it thaws.
Choux pastry (eclairs or profiteroles) – You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 1 day. I haven’t tried freezing the dough, but I have had other readers pipe the dough and freeze it. But it must be stored in a way that prevents freezer burn.
Baked eclair shells or profiterole puffs (unfilled) – Can also be stored in the freezer. Make sure they are in an air-tight container. They do get soggy as they thaw out though. Just let them become crisp again in a hot oven for a few minutes.
Vanilla fondant glaze – Since this is so simple to make, I don’t usually make this ahead of time. But it is possible. Just store the glaze in an air-tight container for up to 5 days, and reheat it (gently) before using.
Why I love this recipe
I love tea and I love choux pastry desserts, so these eclairs are a delicious way to combine them! The earl grey flavor is strong, without being bitter or overpowering, and I love that the filling isn’t overly sweet either.
The balance of flavors you get with the glaze and the filling gives these earl grey eclairs the perfect sweetness in my opinion.
It does take some practice to pipe perfect eclairs, but with my detailed guide, you have everything you need to know to perfect eclairs as well as this recipe. Alternatively, you can make earl grey profiteroles that are even easier.
And here’s another secret… the earl grey custard and diplomat cream are super delicious on their own as an earl grey pudding!
You’re welcome! 😀
Earl Grey Eclairs
Earl grey custard
- 592 mL milk 2 ½ cups (whole milk or 2 % milk; you may possibly need a little more than this)
- 2 tbsp loose leaf earl grey tea
- 2 egg yolks
- 45 g cornstarch about 5 ½ tbsp
- 100 g white sugar ½ cup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 43 g unsalted butter 3 tbsp
Stabilized whipped cream
- 1 tsp powdered gelatin
- 30 mL water at room temperature 2 tbsp
- 240 mL heavy whipping cream 1 cup (chilled)
- 30 g confectioner’s sugar ¼ cup (optional, for a sweeter pastry cream)
- 7 mL vanilla extract 1 ½ tbsp
Choux pastry for eclairs (or profiteroles)
- 236 mL water 1 cup
- 113 g unsalted butter 1 stick
- ½ tsp fine sea salt scant ½ tsp
- 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
- 142 g bread flour about 1 ⅛ cup (measured by spoon and level method)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
- 226 g large eggs about 4 large eggs
- 120 ml water ½ cup
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- Pinch of salt
- 450 g confectioner’s sugar about 4 cups (spoon and leveled)
- Dried blue cornflowers optional
Earl grey custard (first day)
- Place the tea and milk in a saucepan. Heat the milk over medium heat while stirring, until the milk comes to a simmer.
- Turn off the heat, and allow the tea to seep for about 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
- Strain the tea leaves out from the milk, and measure out 2 cups of the infused milk. If there isn’t enough for 2 cups, top up (with extra milk) until you have 2 cups of earl grey tea infused milk.
- In a separate jug or bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cornstarch.
- Reheat the infused milk over medium – high heat. When the milk is steaming, remove the pot from the heat.
- Temper the egg mixture with some of the hot milk mixture, until the egg mixture is warm. Then pour the warm egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk. Make sure to whisk in order to prevent the eggs from cooking in the hot liquid.
- Cook the custard base over medium heat, while whisking frequently. Make sure to reach the edges and bottom of the pot to prevent the custard from catching and burning.
- Check to see if the custard has come to a boil in between stirring. When the custard has thickened and it comes to a boil (big bubbles appearing at the surface), turn off the stove and remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Whisk the custard, and add the butter. Whisk until the butter mixes well with the custard.
- Transfer the custard into a bowl or tray. If you prefer, you can pass the custard through a sieve first.
- Cover the custard with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the whole surface of the custard, so that it prevents a skin from forming on top.
- Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, and transfer it to the fridge to chill. This can take a few hours depending on the size of the container. Preferably chill overnight.
Earl grey diplomat cream (second day)
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, place the water and evenly sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to let the gelatin bloom.
- While the gelatin is blooming, place the heavy whipping cream in a bowl. Add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla, and mix to combine.
- Have your hand mixer ready to whisk the cream.
- When the gelatin has bloomed, microwave the gelatin to melt the mixture (but not boil it!). Microwave in 10 second intervals to prevent the gelatin from boiling.
- Add about 1 tbsp of the cream, while stirring, to temper the gelatin mixture.
- Whisk the heavy cream on high speed with your hand mixer.
- While whisking, pour the gelatin mixture into the cream mixture in one go.
- To make sure the gelatin doesn’t form clumps – pour the gelatin mixture directly into the cream, without touching the whisk, but not too far from the whisk either. The cream should be moving very quickly where the gelatin makes contact with it, so that the gelatin instantly mixes into the cream.
- Whisk the cream until you have mid peaks (stiffer than soft peaks, but not too stiff). Then set aside.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the earl grey custard. Whisk the mixture to make it smooth (and not lumpy).
- Fold the whipped cream into the custard. The more you add, the softer the mixture will be. You can add just ½ the cream if you prefer, or add all of it, depending on the desired consistency.
- The earl grey diplomat cream is now ready.
Choux pastry for eclairs
- The dough can be made on the first day, and baked on the second day. See recipe notes for storage instructions.
- Place the confectioner's sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
- Place the water, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepan.
- Stir well and heat over medium high heat until the water comes to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Add the confectioner's sugar into the water and whisk to get a smooth mixture.
- Make sure to keep the fondant glaze at about 90 – 100°F (slightly warm) when you’re ready to dip the eclairs. The more it cools down, the thicker it becomes.
- Once the eclairs are baked and cooled, use a small French star tip or round tip to create 2 or 3 holes on the base of each eclair case. This is to help fill the eclair case with your filling. You can also use a bismarck tip instead.
- Fill a piping bag (that is attached with a small round tip or a bismarck tip) with the diplomat cream.
- Fill the eclair cases with the filling. Wipe off any excess filling that flows out of the case.
- When all the eclair cases have been filled, they are ready to be dipped in the glaze.
- Dip the top of the eclairs in the glaze, and let the excess drip down (or use a finger to wipe off the excess glaze while holding the eclair upside down).
- Place the glazed eclairs on a wire rack (glazed side up).
- Optional – sprinkle the tops with blue cornflowers before the glaze sets.
- The glaze will harden and thicken slightly with time.
- The early grey eclairs can be served and enjoyed immediately (preferably within a few hours).
Tips & Tricks
Storing unbaked choux pastry doughStore the dough in an air-tight container, making sure it’s not exposed to any air. Cover the whole surface of the dough with plastic wrap (touching the surface), OR place the dough in a large uncut pastry bag, then twist and close the end to keep the air out.
Earl grey diplomat creamThis recipe will make enough for more than 20 eclairs. Exact number depending on how big or small your eclairs are, and also how much cream you add and how much you use to fill each eclair shell. Extra diplomat cream can be served as pudding if you like. It’s delicious on its own!
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”