Who doesn’t love an eclair to eat as a decadent sweet treat? After all, this super delicious French pastry is made from choux dough, filled with either custard, pastry cream, or whipped cream, and most times topped with a simple chocolate glaze. They are then referred to as chocolate eclairs.
Guests feel special when you provide them with such a lavish sweet treat. But how long do eclairs last and stay fresh?
Bought eclairs can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days but no longer. You can refrigerate them for 2 or 3 days and keep unfilled eclair shells for several weeks in the freezer.
Do Eclairs Need To Be Refrigerated?
Dairy products must be refrigerated.
The sweet treat can quickly spoil. But why? What’s in the eclair that makes it vulnerable to quick spoilage? Why should the eclair be refrigerated?
Your eclair will certainly need to be refrigerated quickly once you have filled it with cream. Cream is a dairy product.
But the choux pastry, too, needs to be refrigerated because apart from the other ingredients used to make the dough, it also requires some dairy products such as butter, milk, and eggs.
Choux pastry is actually the base for many pastries, such as cream puffs and eclairs. The texture of the dough isn’t as dense as other doughs, and it can be molded into various shapes.
Choux pastry should also be refrigerated so it can be safely stored in an airtight container.
Freezing choux pastry
Baked choux pastry that is as yet unfilled can be stored at room temperature for a day. But once filled with cream or custard, the eclair shells must be refrigerated.
To freeze choux pastry dough, you can shape the dough as you want onto a baking tray. When the dough is frozen, you can move the shapes into a labeled freezer bag.
The dough will last up to 3 months in the freezer. If you want to use the dough soon, you can store it in your regular fridge for a day or two.
Eclairs are at their best when served within a few hours of preparation, but if you prepare them ahead of time, they can still be delicious the next day. Just make sure to always refrigerate them in a sealed or covered container.
Improper storage leads to mold growth.
Improper éclair storage can result in bacteria and mold growth, as well as food waste. When perishable foods, such as eclairs filled with cream, are kept at room temperature for too long, they can enter the danger zone.
Bacteria always grow quickly at room temperature, and by consuming the eclairs, you become vulnerable to a foodborne illness.
A foodborne illness is caused by consuming contaminated foods and common symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, aches and pains, fatigue, and even fever.
Cold storage certainly works to slow down the spread of bacteria, but you need to be careful because even with refrigeration, food can still spoil.
Food spoilage is caused by oxygen, moisture, and bacteria, and eclairs certainly will need to be kept in proper containers and then refrigerated to slow the rate of spoiling.
Eclairs are such delicious foods, but unfortunately, without proper storage, their delicious taste begins to deteriorate.
Pathogens grow quickly in dairy-based food.
Certain foods have to be refrigerated to avoid pathogen growth. If these foods aren’t refrigerated, pathogens can grow, and the food becomes dangerous to eat.
For food safety, perishable items should never be out of a fridge for longer than two hours. This is especially true for milk and milk products, eggs, fish, and poultry.
Eclairs can go bad because it’s essentially the dairy-based filling that is the problem. Anything dairy should not be kept out of the fridge for an extended period of time.
If you don’t have a fridge, you need to know that pathogens can grow quickly in dairy-based food left at room temperature for more than just a few hours.
Eclairs need to be eaten soon after purchase.
If, for some reason, your pastry treat has been out of the fridge for more than 2 hours, and you’re thinking of consuming it, proceed with caution.
An eclair should be consumed within a few hours of purchase. If you aren’t going to eat your eclair soon, store it in the refrigerator immediately.
Éclairs can be made at home. Some people who bake their own eclairs become concerned about how to store them and avoid sogginess.
It is best to refrigerate the shells and the filling of the eclairs separately. The shells can be kept in the freezer for several months. The cream or filling will last a few days in the fridge.
So, if you have guests coming over and you want to have unfilled eclair shells on hand, place the desired number of eclairs in an airtight container and keep them in your regular fridge for a day or two ready to use as you need.
The smell of your eclair will reveal its edibility.
If your unfilled or filled eclair shells have been kept in the fridge, but you’re not sure whether they are alright to eat, the next best thing is to look at the custard or cream in the middle and smell it.
If it smells fresh then the eclair is still good, but if there is any kind of abnormal odor to it or the texture has changed, it would be better to throw the eclair out.
If you have bought ready-made eclairs or have opted to make your own, following proper refrigeration rules will ensure they are always tasty, crisp and a hit with everyone who loves these decadently delicious French treats..