6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash (optional)
Powdered sugar, for dusting
1 cup cold heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
8 strawberries, halved
Preheat oven to 425°. Line sheet pans with parchment paper.
Bring butter, sugar, salt, and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Immediately remove from heat, and quickly stir in flour all at once. Return to heat and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes, or until dough is smooth and forms a ball.
Transfer dough to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until mixture is smooth and glossy. Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch or medium sized plain tip. Pipe dough onto prepared pans into 4-inch strips about 1 1/2-inches wide. Smooth out peaks and round tops with a moistened finger. Brush tops of dough with egg wash, if using.
Bake at 425° for 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375° and bake 30 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Turn oven off; let shells stand in closed oven 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks, and cool completely.
Shells can be made 1 day ahead and stored, unfilled, in an airtight container at room temperature.
In a small saucepan, sprinkle 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water; let stand 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Stir in diced strawberries, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries are softened, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Can be made up to a few days ahead.
In a large mixing bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Add cream cheese mixture to heavy cream and beat until incorporated. Can be made up to 1 day ahead.
Cut off the top third of the eclair shell. Pipe cheesecake filling into the bottom of the shell. Spoon strawberry filling on top of cheesecake filling, and put the top of the shell on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Pipe remaining filling on top of each eclair, and garnish with strawberry halves. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Eclairs are best served within a few hours of assembling.