I did a recipe for gluten-free chocolate eclairs in 2011 but I never felt like it was very presentable because I made a few mistakes. So this is one of the posts I decided to update.
In the end, the joke’s on me because I still messed up the fondant topping. I’ve tried to do this so many times and failed, I’m waving the white banner on the fondant. Never mind. The recipe base is true, and the pâte à choux (puff pastry) works perfectly with gluten-free flour.
As for the fondant, well … either you’re an expert and can manage without me, or you’ll do the melted chocolate topping like I did and call it a day! Either way, the recipe base is a good one and it comes from a top French patissier named Christophe Felder.
I made the pastry cream, which is called Crème Patissière, a day in advance. If you do that, take it out at least an hour before you want to fill the eclairs so it has time to soften.
Heat 50 cl whole milk (2 1/8 cups) in a saucepan over low heat. Make sure it’s whole milk – that’s important.
Mix 6 egg yolks and 120 g sugar 2/3 cup
Add 50 gr corn starch 1/3 cup
And whisk them together gently (no electric beater)
Chop up 200 grams of dark chocolate.
And pour the hot milk slowly over the chocolate pieces.
Give it a stir and let the chocolate melt.
Put 50 g butter (3.5 Tablespoons) in a saucepan
To that, add first the yolk-starch-sugar mix, and immediately afterwards the hot milk-chocolate mixture. 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. I put it in a ziploc bag and folded it over to remove the air as it cooled, then zipped out all the air when it was ready and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
For the puff pastry part, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C ) and cover your baking sheets with parchment paper.
I used some pictures from my last post, so this will not show the same amount of ingredients as I’m listing.
Put 1.5 cup (165 grams) of butter in a saucepan along with 1.5 teaspoons sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 375 ml water – about 1.5 cups. Let that melt. (This doesn’t show the water).
Then add 2 1/4 cups (210 g) of flour. I used a regular gluten free mix – the Dove brand from the UK, which is my favorite. You want to pour the flour very slowly as you whisk the entire time to avoid lumps.
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 9 small eggs, one at a time, also while stirring vigorously. It’s your pre-éclair-eating-frenzy workout.
Honestly, if you decide to make a smaller batch, you will save yourself an arm workout because those 9 eggs one at a time are killer. This is what the puff pastry looks like when the eggs are incorporated.
Now put the warm mix into a pastry bag with an 8mm tip with teeth. You can use a tip with more teeth than what I have, but they should not curve inwards to form a star.
Form your eclairs on the baking sheet. I could have made mine longer. As it is, they are somewhere in between normal size eclairs and medium ones.
When you put them in the oven, set the timer for 13 minutes and don’t open the oven until it goes off. After that time, you can turn the tray if you want to make sure it heats evenly (I need to do that) and add another 7 minutes.
When they’ve cooled, slice them length-wise
and pipe the pastry cream in the middle.
and then squeeze the eclair together gently to spread the cream.
For the fondant, I asked my French chef friend Didier Quémener (he’s here on twitter – follow him for mouth-watering content) where I went wrong, and he pointed me to Raymond Blanc‘s recipe at BBC Food, saying that was a good explanation.
I had pretty much followed the same method, but perhaps I added too much water because that’s what my Patisserie book told me to do. But if you want the proper result, use the BBC explanation for the fondant.
Otherwise, you can do what a different friend of mine does (I ran into her when I picked my kids up from school today), and melt some chocolate then spoon that on top of the eclair. Duh. That has got to be the simplest thing ever!
So I did that, and only afterwards realised that my chocolate had bits of hazelnuts in it, making it lumpy. So I didn’t have a fool-proof gluten-free chocolate eclair recipe this time around either.
But I’d say I came pretty close!
- 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:
- 375 ml water (1.5 cups)
- 1.5 t sugar
- ¾ t salt
- ¾ c (165 gr) buttr
- 2¼ c (165 gr) flour, gluten free or regular
- 9 small eggs
- Chocolate Glaze:
- Either melted milk chocolate, about 300 grams
- Ready-made Fondant
- a teaspoon cocoa
- some water
- Pastry Cream:
- Heat milk.
- Whisk eggs, sugar and corn starch.
- Chop chocolate.
- Pour warm milk over chocolate and let it melt.
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
- Add all the ingredients - melted chocolate and egg mix - whisk over high heat until it becomes a cream.
- Let it cool.
- Puff Pastry:
- Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and line baking sheet with wax paper.
- Melt water, butter, sugar and salt together.
- Whisk in the flour until all the moisture is absorbed.
- Remove from heat and add eggs one by one, stirring.
- Put the dough in a pastry bag with 8 mm tip and create "éclairs."
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Cut in half and pipe the pastry cream in the middle.
- Chocolate Glaze:
- Melt chocolate and spoon over the top.
- Or follow the BBC recipe for fondant. 🙂