This assembly of choux paste layers makes a giant éclair. Looks like a cake but goes together like pastry. A filling of whipped cream and pudding is a shortcut for “crème légère” (usually made with homemade pastry cream or custard). You may forego the white icing glaze and simply use the melted chocolate.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package instant vanilla pudding – prepared and chilled
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
water – as required
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Line 3 8-inch layer pans with a circle of parchment paper.
Pastry: in a medium saucepan, stir the milk, water, salt and sugar together over medium heat. Stir in butter and allow it to melt. Increase heat and bring mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in all the flour at once. Blend well with a wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a ball that leaves the sides of the pan. Beat vigorously for a minute or two before removing from the burner and turning out into a mixing bowl. Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
While stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, add the eggs one at a time until mixture is smooth and glossy. Spoon paste into a large pastry bag fitted with 1/2 inch plain tip and make a concentric circle in each pan. Brush paste with the whipped egg and water. You may also spread the choux paste with a flat metal spatula, or a butter knife.
Bake pastry bases for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 400 F. Bake for another 15 minutes. Cool very well.
Whip cream with confectioner’s sugar until fluffy. Fold cream into chilled pudding.
On a platter, lay out one choux paste base. Cover with half of cream filling. Top with another pastry base, and cover with the remainder of the filling. Chill for 2 or 3 hours.
For the topping, in a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar with water to make a thick, but spreadable glaze. Pour or spread this over top of cake. Allow to set. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and drizzle it generously over glazed cake.
To serve, cut into wedges with a serrated knife