30 September 2010

faux chocolate eclair

I have a favorite cookbook. It is a compilation of recipes given to me by family and friends at my bridal shower.  I am currently working my way through making every recipe in the book, and this one was submitted by both my mother-in-law and my Aunt Ann.  If two rather different people from rather different parts of the country both submitted it, then I guess I gotta try it!

B saw the title, and immediately said, "My mom's never made an eclair in her life!" But then when I started getting the ingredients out, he questioned, "Oh, you're using graham crackers? I know that one." I guess he thought I was gonna make a REAL eclair, like this:

I have re-titled this to "faux chocolate eclair," just for his overly-literal engineer brain.
But anyway, here are the ingredients:

The first step is to put a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of your dish. Both recipes said to use a 9x13, but I decided to halve the recipe since I wasn't making this for an army/church potluck/hoard of teenage boys. An 8x8 would be fine for just me and B, although I did have to get slightly creative with my graham crackers.

Rounded corners make my life more difficult
The next step is to make the filling.  Both recipes called for instant pudding, but my MIL's said FRENCH Vanilla.  I'm in no position to go against the mother of my husband, so French Vanilla it is. Combine the pudding mix and milk to well, make pudding (sorta), then add the Cool Whip in.

If anything, the Cool Whip helped it from staying that mucky yellow color.  The next step is to make the chocolate topping.  My aunt's recipe just said to use a tub of prepared chocolate frosting.  My MIL's recipe was only slightly more difficult, so I went with that.  Because I'm still not about to ruffle the feathers of the grandmother of my future children.  Powedered sugar, white corn syrup, cocoa, vanilla, milk, melted butter.  It's kinda like making a runny chocolate frosting.

Then you get to assemble.  Half of the filling over the crackers, then another layer of crackers, then the other half of the filling, then more crackers.  Yep, 3 layers of graham crackers, 2 layers of filling, then the chocolate topping.  And now for the annoying part: cover and refrigerate!

We only let it chill an hour because we wanted dessert.  But the topping hadn't hardened, and B called me out on it.  My aunt's recipe says to make this 8 hours before serving it, and she's probably right.  We ate some the night I made it, then put it back in the fridge.  Last night we ate more after dinner, and it was perfect.  Topping was hard and the graham crackers were soft.  And you know what?  It really DID taste like an eclair!  Just one you need a spoon to eat.

I wanted to do an awesome cross-section picture, but rounded corners make it just look like mush.
The full recipe now (not halved):

1 box graham crackers
2 pkgs instant french vanilla pudding
3 cups cold milk
1 8oz container Cool Whip
4 Tblsp. melted butter
3 Tblsp. cocoa
2 Tblsp. white corn syrup
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 Tblsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Line bottom of 9x13 pan with graham crackers
2. Prepare filling: beat pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Then stir in Cool Whip.
3. Pour half the filling over graham crackers. Top with another layer of graham crackers. Pour on remaining filling. Top with 3rd layer of graham crackers.
4. Make chocolate topping by stirring all ingredients together. [OR (per my aunt) use a tub of chocolate frosting. Microwave it about one minute and stir.] Pour over the top of graham crackers.
5. Cover and refrigerate, preferably at least 8 hours.


  1. My grandmom used to make that, but she called it eclair cake or something crazy... I think she maybe made it in a pie instead of a dish and it was eclair pie? Yummy though!

  2. When I got married my MIL presented me with a "fill-in" cookbook, and the first page was the infamous meatball recipe, given only to those women who had rings on that special finger. The funniest thing is, is the recipe is written in with a mistake, and I just have to memorize the correct version as to prevent anyone from sneaking a look at the recipe. Its fun to add new special recipe's to my cookbook. Have fun trying out all your new recipes!