Eclair au Chocolat (gluten free)

So guys, poser that I am, I tried to make the fondant patissier that most sane people buy in the store when they want to make patisserie.

It’s the thing that makes the white glaze on top of the vanilla éclair, and you flavor it with coffee or chocolate for the other “parfums.” It all looked so easy here.

Greased cookie sheet (a friend told me last night it should have been marble and that’s what went wrong).

250 g sugar (1 1/3 cup)

75 g water (1/3 cup), that you then boil with the sugar

A slotted spoon that you need to continually test the syrup to see if it’s done. If you can blow bubbles through the little holes (like soap bubbles) it’s ready. Alternatively you could use a candy thermometer like a normal person and get it to 112°C (233°F).

But look! Bubbles!

I leapt for joy.

Spread it on the cookie sheet and let it cool for 20 minutes, and then you’re supposed to do some fancy schmancy maneuvering with a putty knife to create this glorious white fluffy confection that you can roll into a ball and take pieces of to melt with water and form a glaze.

But I have too many pictures and instructions for this éclair recipe to go into much detail about what was not a success.

The first or the second time I tried it (sob).

So, moving along to the éclairs (and the makeshift glaze I made up to compensate). I got the recipe and know-how from this book:

Pastry lessons by Christophe Felder, offered to me by my lovely friend Renata who shares my passion for cooking.

I made both the unsuccessful fondant and the cream that you put inside the éclair a day in advance because I didn’t want to get overwhelmed. If you are trying this for the first time and are not in a hurry, it might be a good idea for you to do the same (with the cream – but skip the fondant unless you are a genius, in which case show me how to do it).

The cream is called Crème Patissière and I was annoyed that the book mentioned the butter but didn’t tell you when to incorporate it. Also, the recipe was for vanilla or coffee éclairs so I added my own touch with the chocolate.

50 cl whole milk (2 1/8 cups) that you set to heat in a saucepan over low heat. Make sure it’s whole milk – that’s important.

6 egg yolks

120 g sugar 2/3 cup

50 gr corn starch 1/3 cup

Whisk them together gently (no electric beater)

Then chop up 200 grams of dark chocolate.

Don’t forget about the milk!  eeeeee

Pour the milk slowly over the mix and stir.

The chocolate will melt from the hot milk.

Then put 50 g butter (3.5 Tablespoons) in a saucepan

and add the rest of the ingredients you’ve stirred together.

Whisk them vigorously while over high heat

until it thickens and becomes a pastry cream. Yay!

You need to cover it immediately so it doesn’t touch the air and I put it in a ziploc bag because I thought the plastic was stronger than saran wrap. I folded it over to remove the air as it cooled, and then zipped out all the air when it was ready and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Now it’s the next day and I’m ready to make the Pâte à Chou (which means dough shaped like cabbages, or what we know as cream puff pastries).

First make sure you take out the pastry cream from the refrigerator to get it to room temperature or it will be too hard to fill the éclairs with. Learn from my mistake because I was working with cold unyielding cream and I burst several holes in the pastry bag while working, sending large spirals of chocolate cream all over the work surface and myself.

Second, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C ).

Third, cover your baking sheet with wax paper.

Now, the recipe I used only makes enough for 6 large éclairs, and the pastry cream is enough for triple that. So I’m going to give you the double portion of the recipe (but the images will show you only the single portion). And you may want to add another third to the recipe to match the pastry cream amount. Confused yet?

Put 250 g (just over a cup) of water in a saucepan

1/2 cup (110 grams of butter), cut into pieces. Melt that together

along with 1 teaspoon sugar

and 1/2 teaspoon salt

then add 1 1/2 cups (140 g flour). I used a regular gluten free mix, and let me tell you – gluten free really works well with puff pastries. You don’t notice the difference in taste or texture (or perhaps the taste is even better, if I do say so myself).

Continue stirring quickly over the heat until the dough dries out. You can probably figure out when it doesn’t look moist anymore. Maybe a couple of minutes.

Remove the mixture from the heat and add 6 small eggs, one at a time, also while stirring vigorously. It’s your pre-éclair-eating-frenzy workout.

Now put the warm mix into a pastry bag. The directions say an 8 mm tip (does that mean anything to you?).

I clearly did not have the right tip because my éclairs looked like this.

But, you know, when they were done they were not so very bad. Plus they’re filled and covered with various chocolates so you can get away with a lot.  Looky here.

A mini baguette? A turd puff pastry? No! An éclair!

Oh, I almost forgot. Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes til they look nicely browned, like this.

Not perfect, but hey!

Now, here’s where I fudged a last minute chocolate glaze to make up for my disaster of a fondant. I didn’t find anything I was looking for online so I had to make up my own.

For one thing, you can’t use a ganache (just chocolate, cream and butter) because it’s not sweet enough. The pastry cream is not all that sweet, and the puff pastry is not sweet at all. I didn’t want to make a regular frosting because … ew, gross. On an éclair?

But honestly? If your drum has a different beat, dance to it (and then share it). I’m here to learn, not judge.

I melted 100 grams of dark chocolate and mixed it with a cup of heavy cream

and added a cup of confectioner’s sugar.

This was the consistency – see how it’s not at all homogenous? 

So I heated it up in a saucepan until it looked like this.

Just about right (or as good as it gets for now).

Now gird your loins. It’s time to assemble the éclairs.

Cut the éclairs lengthwise, without cutting all the way through.

Stir your pastry cream well, then fill a pastry bag with the (softened) cream and squeeze it into the middle of the éclairs.

Aye, aye – not the effect I was hoping for.

And then drizzle the chocolate glaze over the éclairs.

Emergency! Emergency! There’s a culinary massacre going on here.

You wanted to see my new kitchen? I’ll show you my kitchen. How do I get chocolate stains out of my new tee shirt? Pour boiling water over the stain then wash?

Where are my smelling salts?

But when the kitchen was cleaned and my outfit was changed, and Sir and I sat down to a civilized tea and crumpet (I mean black coffee and éclair), truly all was right in the world.

Because it tasted so (sooooooo) good.

Sir said it tasted better than any éclair he had ever eaten in his whole entire life, and although he might possibly have been trying to butter me up, it was accompanied by too many murmurs of satisfaction to have been completely contrived. (He also said this was worse than any blog post he had ever read in his whole entire life considering there was so very much ado about nothing.  But I’m not ready to hang up my chef’s hat just because of a little discouragement!).

And then, despite the fact that the glaze never hardened (and so the éclairs wouldn’t last longer than a day) I brought the batch to a bridal shower that night.

And there was not one single éclair left over.

Eclair au Chocolat (gluten free)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
From:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • Chocolate Pastry Cream:
  • 2⅛ c (50 cl) whole milk
  • 6 yolks
  • ⅓ c (50 gr) corn starch
  • ⅔ c (120 gr) sugar
  • 200 gr dark chocolate
  • 3.5 T (50 gr) butter
  • Puff Pastry:
  • 250 gr water (just over a cup)
  • 1 t sugar
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ c (110 gr) buttr
  • 1½ c (110 gr) flour, gluten free or regular
  • 6 small eggs
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 100 grams dark chocolate
  • 1 cup confectioner sugar
Instructions
  1. Pastry Cream:
  2. Heat milk.
  3. Whisk eggs, sugar and corn starch.
  4. Chop chocolate.
  5. Pour warm milk over chocolate and let it melt.
  6. Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
  7. Add all the ingredients - melted chocolate and egg mix - whisk over high heat until it becomes a cream.
  8. Let it cool.
  9. Puff Pastry:
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and line baking sheet with wax paper.
  11. Melt water, butter, sugar and salt together.
  12. Whisk in the flour until all the moisture is absorbed.
  13. Remove from heat and add eggs one by one, stirring.
  14. Put the dough in a pastry bag with 8 mm tip and create "éclairs."
  15. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  16. Cut in half and pipe the pastry cream in the middle.
  17. Chocolate Glaze:
  18. Melt chocolate and cream together.
  19. Add the confectioner sugar.
  20. Pour over the éclairs when ready.

 

I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in Desserts, Food, La Cuisine (The Kitchen), Tout le Reste (Everything else)
19 comments on “Eclair au Chocolat (gluten free)
  1. Kudos to you, that looks way more complicated than I’m willing to try. It does look delicious!

  2. Brittany says:

    Oh my gosh this looks delicious!! I don’t think I’ll be trying this one… :)

  3. Leanne says:

    Ok, you are truly my hero. Really. I hope Sir knows what a prize he has in you!!!! Love the pictures . . .ALL of them!!! And yes, I’m right there with your other fans here. This looks way too complicated for me, but I am totally into enjoying a lovely eclair whenever one presents itself!

  4. Love your new kitchen! I must say I would have given up and said they were just too hard to make. Great job!

    • ladyjennie says:

      I know, very sad. But I keep wanting to shout – it tasted great! It tasted great!

      And that was not my official kitchen picture; that was just to show the mess. (But thanks!) ;-)

  5. I think I gained five pounds reading this post.

    (Totally worth it.)

  6. And also, I may or may not have licked my computer screen.
    (shhhh.)

  7. marlisa says:

    Hi Jennie! I was delighted to find your site when friend from HS posted it on Facebook. I am a Holistic Rehabilitative Nutritionist and our whole family eats all organic and gluten free. My biggest disappointment in eating this way is that I have never been able to find a GF eclair—even though we just did a weekend in NYC that was a gastronomic delight and savored MANY–way too many–GF delights, not an eclair to be found! I can’t wait to try this! The 8 mm tip that you are wondering about should have been a smooth circular opening, 8 mm in diameter…I’ll post when I make them…maybe tomorrow for Labor Day if I get my daughter’s room finished tonight…P.S. she is 9 and wanted a Paris theme so we really should celebrate in style with some GF eclairs! Cheers!
    P.S. Your new kitchen is lovely, just almost have mine finished as well…need some tile and we’ll be all wrapped up!

    • ladyjennie says:

      Hi Marlisa, I’d love to see your éclairs. I’m sure they’ll be a stunning success. I used a Schar GF mix, which is the most widely found here. I truly think anything GF would work because the dough is not too runny and holds together well. The pastry chef said to use a 8mm tip “dentelée” which means “lacy.” There should be some edges on it to give the éclair a bumpy form (otherwise it might end up looking like a donut). ;-)

      Let us know how it goes!

  8. marlisa says:

    Which GF flour blend did you use?

  9. marlisa says:

    You may want to consider trying the glaze this way: make a simple syrup and combine 1/3 syrup to 2/3 ganache mixture, heating and whisking until glossy.
    Remove from heat and place over a bowl of ice water and continue to beat until room temp—you can do this on a mxier if you don’t have the patience of Job.
    Beating the chocolate until it is cool is what keeps it from getting cloudy and gives it that beautiful sheen…
    I will use Brown Rice Syrup inplace of the simple syrup and let you know how it goes!

    • ladyjennie says:

      Oops – dentelée means “with teeth.” Dentelle means “lacy.” I knew there was something off with my translation, but anyway – don’t use the smooth tip is what the guy says. Thanks for the tip about beating the chocolate until cool. I am determined to get the fondant down pat and have a few people I can ask. I have no expertise in pastry-making but I’m getting better slowly, and the one thing I can offer is translating the traditional recipes. I have others planned (opera, charlotte, succès, etc).

  10. Carole says:

    “A turd puff pastry?” Too funny!!
    I bow down before you, because I will never even attempt something that complicated.

    Your kitchen is gorgeous!

  11. marlisa says:

    Lady Jennie, you truly are an inspiration…with the translation and the spirit of forging ahead into the unknown world of pastry art—you are already a culinary hero :)
    I am so intrigued about the lacey tip…I have never seen an eclair with bumpy edges..but then again I have never been to France and had a real authentic one…my mom is a pastry chef and has taken several classes in NYC with actual French chef/authors and I know she would be able to give some insight…I’ll check in before the big baking day. This week escaped me, but it is still on my fun “to do’s”. All my other to-do’s precluded GF elcair baking, much to the disappointment to our Saturday guests we grabed a bite out instead—crazy week here!
    Maybe you can help me know what to do when I photograph the pictures, as I am semi-retarded when it comes to the computer…should I just email them to you to post as you wish?
    If you wanted to really try to conquer the fondant in a future adventure, you may want to locate a candy thermometer, and have it in the pot from the beginning.
    If the mixture cracks when cool, it got too hot from cooking too long. You would know exactly the temp, and how to time it if you used a candy thermometer. I think the idea of the blowing bubbles test seems way more ZEN-ilke and “one with the process” though, and I wish you the very best in becoming the Fondant Whisperer if your desire is to crack this recipe in old school style!

I'm Lady Jennie - Welcome to A Lady in France!

I think I was born in the wrong era. I am meant to live in the 19th century. In England. Born into an aristocratic family that is independently wealthy and doesn't need to marry off its daughters to save them from becoming spinster governesses. ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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