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How Kids Can Make Cheater Eclairs

Cheater Eclairs on Plate

Our idea for starting this blog came when we were making silly mistakes in our cooking. We think cooking is all about experimenting, and most of the fun is in the process of trying something new. Our Eclairs (Kind of) were a great example of this. Although those were still fun to eat, Dad likes to remind us that they were missing a very important part, the cream filling. So our next adventure was to redeem that mistake and see if we could make cheater Eclairs.

Cheater Eclairs on Plate

Finding an Easy Recipe

When we saw this recipe from Pampered Chef that we picked up at our local library book sale, we figured it looked much easier than preparing individual pastries. Last time we needed to shape all of that dough and bake it in a moist oven. It was stressful! Making this in a 9×13 baking dish seemed doable. (Plus, you can cut larger pieces this way!)

Easy Recipe for Eclairs

Is it Really a Crust?

In reading the directions, I did have to take my time and read it a few times. This did not seem like it was going to produce what you normally think of as a crust. After boiling the water and butter, I added the flour.

Am I making glue?

Seriously, I thought I could pull this off and use it to glue some things back together. It says to mix, “vigorously” for 1 minute and that was much harder than it sounded. It got so thick I had to use all my tiny muscles to stir it.

Finally, after letting it cool for 5 minutes, I added the eggs. Now this was really starting to look odd.

My sister and I laughed at how yucky this looked. But eventually, it did start to get smooth.

**We have to edit this post and insert a warning! We were so confident in our success with this recipe that we made it for a dinner party this weekend. And the crust just would not work! It turns out that we read our own instructions wrong and did not let it cool for at least 5 minutes BEFORE you add the eggs. This is a very important step! If you skip it, then your eggs get cooked in with the paste and it will never rise. We know, we did it twice!

Mistake with the crust

Okay, now that we have that oops explained, we can continue.

We spread it out over the bottom of our baking dish. Mom walked in and asked if we needed to oil the pan. We had no idea. But we certainly hoped not because it was too late! (We didn’t.)

kids making eclairs crust

After 20 minutes we pulled it out and expected to see a lot of puff as the recipe had implied, but it only had a few bumps in it. We pricked it with a fork anyway.

poking holes in cheater eclair pastry

It looked like our crust was already done, so we lowered the time back in the oven to just 2 minutes in case our new holes made any difference.

Filling for Cheater Eclairs

While our crust cooked, we moved on to our filling. We took a large bowl and poured in our instant pudding and cold milk. Again, my tired muscles! 2 minutes of whisking is longer than you think.

Filling for cheater Eclairs

Now you might be surprised to see us using whipped topping, as it is filled with ingredients that make our Mom cringe. But sometimes you have to just go with the recipe. It is meant to be a treat, right?

Who knew whipped topping was so hard to measure?

Cooling the Cheater Eclairs

We have to be honest and say one of the hardest parts of this recipe is finding a place in the refrigerator for this pan to cool! Well, that and having the patience to wait for an hour.

Spreading filling over eclair pastry

After we pulled it out, we began our experimenting with melting the chocolate and mixing it with the whipped topping.

Finished Cheater Eclairs

As this was right before dinner, we all only got to take one bite as a taste test until we ate some real food. But we were wowed. This tasted just like fancy Eclairs! The crust was very fluffy, but still had enough structure to hold the squares together. We will for sure be making this again, probably for a larger group so we don’t have to find space in the refrigerator to store the leftovers!

Finished Cheater Eclairs

How Kids Can make Cheater Eclairs

Yield: 15 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

These cream puff pastries are the perfect cheater Eclair!


For the Pastry Crust

  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Eggs

Filling and Topping

  • 2 Cups Cold Milk
  • 2 Packages (3.4 oz each) Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 1 Eight Ounce Container Frozen Whipped Topping, Thawed, Divided
  • 2 One Ounce Squares of Semi Sweet Chocolate for Baking, Chopped


    1. Preheat oven to 400° F. For crust, heat water and butter in saucepan over medium high heat until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil. Stir in flour all at once. Reduce heat to low and stir mixture vigorously about 1 minute or until mixture leaves sides of pan and forms a ball. Remove pan from heat; let stand for AT LEAST 5 minutes.

    2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until mixture is smooth. Spread mixture over bottom of 13x9 baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Surface will puff unevenly. Prick 10-12 times to release steam. Continue baking 5 minutes or until crust is golden brown (we only needed 2 more minutes.) Cool completely.

    3. For filling, pour milk into a large bowl. Add pudding mixes; whisk two minutes until thickened. Fold in two cups of the whipped topping. Spread mixture evenly over cooled crust. Refrigerate one hour.

    4. For topping, place chocolate and remaining whipped topping in small microwave safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered on high for 30-40 seconds; stir until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into small resealable plastic bag. Close bag. Cut dessert into 15 squares. Cut off very tip of one corner of the plastic bag with kitchen shears. Garnish with a drizzle of chocolate.

Did you experiment with this recipe?

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