Everyone loves éclairs, especially homemade ones. These Sinister Spiders are actually fabulous homemade éclairs piped into the shape of spiders. Choux paste, which is the official name for the easy pastry dough that makes the éclair shells, is soft and sticky, so it can be put in a decorating bag and piped into shapes. Once baked, the spiders are bathed in chocolate and sprinkled with black sanding sugar to make them look black. Finally, just before serving, the spiders are filled with an easy pastry cream.
Unfortunately, the shells cannot be made ahead; they must be freshly baked and crisp. Freezing changes the texture and makes for soggy, soft éclair shells (like they serve in grocery store bakeries), so these must be made the day of serving. They can be made early in the day, however, and loosely covered as long as they are not stored in a humid environment. Although the mini Sinister Spiders are a little more work, they are easier to eat and are better for a BOO-ffet. The larger Sinister Spiders are perfect for a single dessert. Leftovers, which are doubtful, should be stored in the refrigerator, and although they will still be good, they will soften significantly.
About 18 large spiders or 36 mini spiders
2 cups water
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3 oz. package instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream
Black sanding sugar
Cinnamon red hots, or red frosting for eyes
- Preheat oven to 400°; line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
- Bring the water and butter to a boil; boil until the butter is melted.
- Turn the heat to medium; add the flour and salt at one time, and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball.
- Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until any liquid has evaporated and there is a thin film on the bottom of the pan.
- Remove from the heat and dump the mixture into a mixing bowl.
- Mix with a mixer at low speed for a minute or two to cool it down; with the mixture running, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to a decorating bag with a plain tip 1/4" wide. Pipe 18 1 1/2" balls (about 1/2" high) onto the baking sheets (bodies), and small balls for heads.
- Change the tip on the decorating bag to a smaller plain tip; pipe 4 legs on each side of the larger balls.
- With a wet finger, smooth out any points on the bodies and heads.
- Bake in the preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Don't be tempted to pull them out of the oven before they are brown, since they will fall if not browned thoroughly.
- Let the spiders cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pudding according to package directions.
- When the pudding has set, fold in the whipped cream; refrigerate until ready to fill the spiders.
- Place the chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwaveable bowl; microwave 3 minutes.
- Let the mixture stand 5 minutes; whisk until smooth.
- Dip the tops of the spiders into the ganache mixture, and use a knife, if necessary, to smooth it out on both the body, head, and legs (optional) of the spider.
- Sprinkle with black sanding sugar; press two red hot cinnamon candies in the head for eyes, or pipe two red dots with frosting.
- Fill a decorating bag with a long tip with the pudding mixture; make a hole in the back of each spider and fill with filling.
- Refrigerate until serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 395 Calories from Fat 270
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 69% Protein 7% Carb. 25%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 30 g
Saturated Fat 18 g
Cholesterol 162 mg
Sodium 221 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 1 g
Protein 7 g
Vitamin A 19% Vitamin C 1% Calcium 0% Iron 6%