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How To Store Eclairs To Prevent Sogginess

There’s nothing quite like a fresh homemade eclair. But as I’m sure you’ll agree, making eclairs is no small feat.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could make them last that little bit longer?!

Spoiler alert: you can!

In this article, I outline how far in advance you can make your eclairs, as well as some tips to help you keep them fresh for as long as possible.

So, how do you store eclairs? It’s best to store the eclair shells and filling separately to prevent the eclair from becoming soggy. The shells keep at room temperature for 1-2 days or up to 6 weeks in the freezer. The cream will last 2 days in the fridge but generally doesn’t freeze well.

How to store eclairs

The best way to store eclairs is to keep the filling and the shells separately. The problem with storing filled eclairs is that the moisture from the filling can soak into the shell, leaving it soggy. 

If you already have filled eclairs that need storing, don’t panic. I go through the solution later on in the article.

How to store eclair shells

Eclair shells can be baked in advance and then kept at room temperature or in the freezer. The shells will last 1-2 days at room temperature and up to 6 weeks in the freezer.

Eclair shells will last up to 2 days at room temperature and 6 weeks in the freezer

To store your eclair shells at room temperature:

  • Wait for the shells to cool completely before storing them. Any condensation will ruin the pastry’s texture.
  • Cut open the shells and remove any soggy bits of pastry from the inside.
  • Place the shells in an air-tight container lined with paper towels. The paper towel will absorb any moisture that makes its way into the container.
  • Minimize air contact with the shells by choosing a small container or wrapping the shells loosely in wax paper. If the shells are exposed to lots of air you risk them drying out.

If you notice that the shells have become soft during storage, you can revive them in the oven. Bake the shells uncovered at 300 degrees for around 5 minutes. This will remove any moisture and crisp them up.

Skip to the can you freeze eclairs section for more information on freezing the shells.

How to store eclair filling (pastry cream)

Traditionally eclairs are filled with pastry cream (cream patisserie). Pastry cream is made with dairy and therefore needs to be refrigerated. 

To store eclair filling:

  • Place the pastry cream in a bowl or other airtight container and then cover the surface with a layer of plastic wrap. This will prevent any skin from forming on the cream.
  • Place the filling in the refrigerator.

You can store pastry cream in the refrigerator for up to 3 days without it going bad. Remember to check the ingredients’ expiration dates to ensure they don’t expire before you plan on consuming the filling.

Pastry cream can be refrigerated for up to 3 days

For example, if you use milk that expires the next day then the cream will also expire the next day.

Keeping pasty cream for longer than a few days is difficult because most pastry creams don’t freeze well. This is because they use cornstarch which can’t be frozen. However, if you use flour instead of cornstarch in your recipe then you can freeze the filling. I explain more about this later in the article.

How to Store Filled Eclairs

Eclairs are best eaten within a few hours of being filled. Normally, I would fill them a maximum of 4 hours before I’m going to serve them due to the risk of them going soggy.

But if you’re really stuck and need to store the eclairs, you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. They will go a little soggy, but sadly there isn’t much you can do about that. 

Place the eclairs in an airtight container and separate the layers with wax paper to stop the icing from sticking together.

Can you freeze eclairs?

Yes, you can freeze eclairs as long as the filling has been made with flour and not cornstarch. If you want to keep your eclairs for more than a few days, freezing is the best option. 

However, freezing filled eclairs can cause the choux pastry to go a little soft. If you want to keep the pastry crisp, it’s best to store the filling and the shells separately.

How to freeze eclair shells

If you’ve prepared several eclair shells ahead of time but do not plan to fill them at first, you can effectively freeze them for stuffing and eating later. Follow these steps to freeze unfilled eclair shells.

  • Wait for the shells to cool completely before storing them.
  • Wrap each shell in wax paper and then place them in an air-tight container. The wax paper will help prevent freezer burn.
  • Label the container with the storage date so you can effectively track how long the shells have been in the freezer. Clear labeling helps you from forgetting and ensures you use them in time.

Empty eclair shells will last for 1-2 months in the freezer.

For the airtight container, you can choose from a Ziploc freezer bag, plastic storage container, or even an old bakery box if you have one! If you’re using a freezer bag, make sure you squeeze as much excess air out as possible. 

How to defrost eclair shells

Unfilled eclair shells are easy to defrost. Simply remove the eclair shells from their container and leave them to thaw at room temperature for one hour.

If the shells have gone a little soggy, you can get rid of the moisture by heating them in the oven for a few minutes.

After thawing, you can fill them then serve them.

How to freeze eclair filling (pastry cream)

Freezing pastry cream is tricky and best avoided if you can. Ideally, you would make the eclair filling a maximum of a day or two in advance, and then you can keep it in the refrigerator. 

Pastry creams are difficult to freeze because they often split as you thaw them, and this can be impossible to rectify. This is due to the cornstarch in the mixture, the texture of cornstarch completely changes after freezing.

However, if you substitute the cornstarch in your recipe for normal flour then you can freeze pastry cream.

Follow these steps to freeze eclair filling made with flour:

  1. Put the pastry cream in a freezer-proof bag and squeeze all the air out. If there’s any air in the bag, you risk ice crystals forming. Ice crystals can upset the delicate balance of the filling and mean it’s more likely to split.
  2. Label the bag with the date so you can track how long the pastry cream has been in the freezer.

Once frozen, the cream should last for up to a month, but I would always encourage you to eat it as soon as possible. The longer the cream is in the freezer, the more chance there is of it developing an unpleasant texture.

To thaw the cream, take it out the day before using it and let it defrost in the refrigerator. Do not attempt to thaw the pastry cream at room temperature. 

If you find the cream has split you can try re-emulsifying it.

How to freeze filled eclairs

While definitely not ideal, you can freeze filled eclairs providing the filling uses flour as the thickening agent rather than cornstarch. If the filling has been made with cornstarch, then, unfortunately, you can’t freeze the eclairs.

To freeze filled eclairs:

  1. Flash freeze the eclairs. Lay them out on a lined baking tray and put them in the freezer for an hour or so until they’re fully frozen. This will stop the eclairs from sticking together in the freezer.
  2. Transfer the frozen eclairs to a freezer-proof bag and squeeze all the air out of the bag. If you have a straw handy, you can use this to suck all the air out. 
  3. Label the bag with the date so you know how long the eclairs have been frozen.

The eclairs will last 4-5 days in the freezer. After that, the quality will start to deteriorate. To thaw the eclairs, take them out of the freezer and defrost them in the refrigerator. They should thaw pretty quickly. 

The pastry will be a bit softer than if the eclairs were fresh. But if the only other alternative is to throw them away, freezing is definitely better.

How to store eclair dough

Eclairs are made using choux pastry. The best way to store choux pastry dough is in the freezer. I don’t recommend refrigerating the dough.

Choux pastry has a distinctive airy texture, provided by the air that’s trapped within the dough.

If you were to keep the dough in the fridge, the dough’s weight could cause the trapped air bubbles to collapse, leaving a dense batter behind. Then when you bake the refrigerated dough, it might not rise as much as you expect. 

If you lack freezer space, the best thing to do is bake the dough and then store the resulting shells unfilled until you need them.

To freeze choux pastry dough:

  1. Pipe the dough onto a baking tray in the final shape you want (the eclair shape in this case).
  2. Flash freeze the shaped dough by placing the baking tray into the freezer for around an hour. The sooner you freeze the dough, the less time it has to lose the air bubbles.
  3. Once the piped dough is frozen, you can transfer the shapes into a freezer bag. Squeeze as much excess air out as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  4. Label the container so you know how long the eclair dough has been frozen.

The dough will last up to 3 months in the freezer. You can cook the pastry straight from frozen so there’s no need to thaw it.

If you want to store the raw dough in the fridge, I would recommend storing it for no longer than a day and following the below instructions:

  • Cover the dough’s surface with butter and then lay a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper over it. The wrap will prevent a skin from forming on the dough, and the butter stops the dough from sticking to the plastic wrap.

Do Eclairs Go Bad?

Yes, eclairs can go bad. The filling is dairy-based, and dairy shouldn’t be kept out of the fridge for too long. Pathogens can grow rapidly in dairy-based food if left at room temperature for more than two hours.

If the eclair has been kept in the fridge but you’re not sure if it’s still okay to eat, look at the texture of the cream and smell it. If it looks and smells normal, then you can taste a bit. If it tastes fine the eclair is probably still good, but if you’re still not sure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw the eclair out.

How To Store Eclairs

The best way to store eclairs is to keep the filling and the shells separately. The problem with storing filled eclairs is that the moisture from the filling can soak into the shell, leaving it soggy. 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 1 person
Calories 204 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion eclair shells
  • 1 portion eclair filling

Instructions
 

How to store eclair shells

  • Eclair shells can be baked in advance and then kept at room temperature or in the freezer.
  • The shells will last 1-2 days at room temperature and up to 6 weeks in the freezer.
  • To store your eclair shells at room temperature, wait for the shells to cool completely before storing them. Any condensation will ruin the pastry’s texture.
  • Cut open the shells and remove any soggy bits of pastry from the inside.
  • Place the shells in an air-tight container lined with paper towels. The paper towel will absorb any moisture that makes its way into the container.
  • Minimize air contact with the shells by choosing a small container or wrapping the shells loosely in wax paper. If the shells are exposed to lots of air you risk them drying out.

How to store eclair filling (pastry cream)

  • Traditionally eclairs are filled with pastry cream (cream patisserie). Pastry cream is made with dairy and therefore needs to be refrigerated.
  • To store eclair filling, place the pastry cream in a bowl or other airtight container and then cover the surface with a layer of plastic wrap. This will prevent any skin from forming on the cream.
  • Place the filling in the refrigerator. You can store pastry cream in the refrigerator for up to 3 days without it going bad.

How to Store Filled Eclairs

  • Eclairs are best eaten within a few hours of being filled. Normally, I would fill them a maximum of 4 hours before I’m going to serve them due to the risk of them going soggy.
  • Place the eclairs in an airtight container.
  • Separate the layers with wax paper to stop them from sticking together.
  • The eclairs will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Be warned, filled eclairs will go a bit soggy but are still perfectly edible.

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcal
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