Gluten-Free Eclairs Are a Delectable TreatJan 01, 2023 12:00AM ● By Tiffany Hinton
YIELD: approximately 12 eclairs
Pastry Flour Blend for 1 cup
⅓ cup white rice flour
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp plus 3 tsp brown rice flour
3 Tbsp tapioca starch
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp gluten-free dry milk powder
1 tsp potato starch
1½ tsp xanthan gum
½ cup almond milk
½ cup water
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½ cup unsalted butter (Note: do not use vegan butter.)
1 cup gluten-free pastry flour blend
5 large eggs
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chopped
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
½ cup canned coconut milk
French Cream (see recipe)
Preheat oven to 425° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat.
Make the Pastry Shells
In a heavy saucepan, combine the almond milk, water, salt, sugar and butter and place over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture come to a full boil.
Transfer the contents of the bowl to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip, adding only as much to the bag as you are comfortable working with. Pipe out fingers about 5 inches and 1 inch wide, spacing them about 2 inches apart. If you end up with a bulge or a tail at the end of piping, you can smooth it over with a damp fingertip. (When piping choux paste, every little bump and mistake is exaggerated when the pastries are baked. This is a forgiving dough to work with. You can scoop up your mistake and add it back into your piping bag and try again. You can also smooth out any tiny bumps with a wet finger.)
Bake until puffed and starting to show some color, about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F and continue to bake until shells feel light and are hollow inside, about 12 minutes longer. They should be nicely browned all over. Remove from the oven and using a metal skewer or wooden chop stick, poke a small hole in each end to allow for steam to escape. This keeps the shells from collapsing. Let cool on wire racks. They should be used as soon as they are cool enough to fill. You can also wrap them up airtight and freeze for 3 weeks.
When ready to fill them, recrisp them directly from the freezer in a 450° F oven for about 10 minutes and then let cool before filling.
Make the Glaze
To make the glaze, combine the chocolate and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl. Bring the canned coconut milk to just under a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the coconut milk over the chocolate.
Let the mixture sit for about 2 minutes without stirring until the chocolate melts, and then stir gently with a rubber spatula (to incorporate as little air as possible) until smooth and shiny.
Fill and Glaze
To fill and glaze the eclairs, stir the cold French Cream pastry cream until smooth and then spoon the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip for filling. It is easier to start with a hole in each end of the shell and to fill from both ends if necessary. Sometimes pockets inside the shell prevent the pastry cream from filling the entire shell form a single hole. Fill the shells until they feel heavy. To glaze the eclairs, dip the top of each filled eclair into the glaze, shaking gently to allow the excess to drip off, and then place upright on a wire rack and allow the glaze to set.
French Cream Recipe
2 cups canned coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
3 Tbsp cornstarch
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter (Note: do not use vegan butter)
Have a bowl ready for cooling the pastry cream with a fine-mesh sieve resting in the rim.
Pour the coconut milk into a heavy saucepan. Add salt and vanilla, place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally and making sure that the milk solids are not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.
When the coconut milk is ready, slowly ladle about one-third of the hot coconut milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the hot coconut milk and continue to whisk over medium heat until the cream is as thick as lightly whipped cream, about 2 minutes. In order for the cornstarch to cook and thicken properly, the mixture must come just to boiling point. You want to see a few bubbles slowly rise. However, if you allow the cream to boil vigorously it will curdle.
Remove from heat and immediately pour through the sieve into the bowl (if you let the cream stay in the pot it will continue to cook). Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to release the heat and prevent a skim from forming on the top.
Cut the butter into 1 Tbsp pieces. When the pastry cream is ready (it should be about 140° F), whisk the butter into the pastry cream 1 Tbsp at a time, always whisking until smooth before adding the next Tbsp.
To cool the cream, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the top of the cream (this will prevent a skin from forming on the surface). Be careful whisking the cream once it is cold. Over mixing will break down the starch and thin the cream. Pastry cream will keep when well covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Recipes courtesy of Tiffany Hinton, founder of Cultivating Guts. Connect online at @iamtiffanyhinton and listen to her podcast, Cultivating Guts, on Spotify or iTunes.