For some reason, choux has always intimidated me.  That and puff pastry.  I don’t know why – it’s not like its especially complicated, but it always seemed one of those mystical things.  I think it’s because you have to slightly cook the dough before you start adding the eggs.  All I can say is praise be to St. Laurence for KitchenAid standing mixers – it makes such quick work of adding the eggs that all I can do is wonder at the cooks who did all this by hand.

At any rate, I decided to make mine minis – petits eclairs, if you will.  There’s something about giant eclairs that’s overwhelming to me – it’s just … too … much.  Too much cream filling.  Too much cream puff pastry.  Not enough crunch or crispness.  But small, two-bite eclairs, now that’s a different thing all together.  The ratio of cream filling to pastry alters a bit so that you retain a little more of the integrity of the outside as well as the creaminess of the inside.

But, hey.  That’s just me.  Your mileage may vary.

As for the gorgeous, luscious vanilla pastry cream, all I can say is that I haven’t enjoyed licking the bowl that much since I was a child.  Deeeeeeelightful.

The assembly was a bit fiddly, but the end result was so very worth it!  Oh, and my fellow beekeepers-in-training loved them, as well – demolished two dozen eclairs in record time to RAVE reviews!

Thanks, Dorie, for such a great recipe – it’s encouraged me to face my culinary fears.