Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gluten Free Eclairs

I've always thought of myself as a pretty laid back, easy going person. However, parenthood and gluten free baking have altered that sense of calm and patience in my life. Prior to my daughter being born, when my wife and I realized that we were having girl, I thought to myself, "No problem, I can play princess and girly games, no big deal." Three plus years later, my patience for playing with My Little Ponies lasts for a good solid two minutes before I am bored to death and seeking an escape. The same is true for baking. I scoff when a recipe tells me to cool completely before moving on to the next step. Isn't that the point of baking, to eat something that is HOT and fresh out of the oven? My laid back former self evaporates more and more the deeper I dive into gluten free cuisine. It's as if I'm being told that I can't do something and I'm out to disprove it. Every recipe for baked goods tells me; "You can't do it, it's not meant to be gluten free." I dig in and say; "Yes, I can." This leads me to today's little victory over gluten, Eclairs.
from the book: Ultimate Cake by Barbara Maher, modified to be gluten free
Creme Patissiere:
This is the custard-like filling (make at least 2 hours in advance)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (275 ml) milk (I used 1%)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp superfine sugar
1-1/2 tbsp gf flour mix
1-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp heavy cream
2/3 cup (90ml) heavy cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Choux Pastry:
This is the Eclair pastry
1 cup (125g) gf flour mix
pinch of salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
7 tbsp (100g) unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups (312.5ml) water
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, pierce bottom of each pastry and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Cool on a rack.
4 ounces (125g) semisweet chocolate (melted)
Start by making the Creme Patissiere. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy. Sift the gf flour and cornstarch over the egg yolk mixture, beat together until smooth. In a small pan, bring the milk to a boil. Pour the boiling milk over the egg yolk mixture and mix carefully for about 30 seconds. Pour the milk, egg mix back into the sauce pan and return to a boil, stirring vigorously. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring, until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and 3 tbsp of heavy cream.

Pour into a bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface. Let the custard cool for about ten minutes and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Prior to filling the Eclairs, whip the remaining cream (2/3 cup) and 2 tbsp of sugar together until the cream has soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the creme patissiere custard until smooth.

Now on to the Eclair dough, or Choux Pastry. In a small bowl, sift together the gf flour, salt, and sugar, set aside. In another bowl, lightly beat 4 eggs, set aside. Place the butter and water in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring the water and butter to a rolling boil, remove from the heat and add the flour mix. Return to the heat and beat rapidly into a smooth, glossy paste that rolls cleanly off the side of the pan (pictured above).

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and mix until fairly smooth. The dough may have a few small lumps.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a cooking sheet by spraying with nonstick cooking spray, then run the baking sheet under cold water. Drain off excess water but the pan should be slightly wet. Place the batter in a pastry bag with a plain round tip. Here is a great video about making a pastry bag with parchment paper. This is what I used. I just cut a large opening in my parchment pastry bag and didn't use a tip. Pipe batter on to the baking sheet in rounds or elongated Eclair shapes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, mine baked for 16 minutes. Next, pierce the bottom of each pastry with a toothpick and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes.

Finally, melt the chocolate either in the microwave or double boiler. Slice the pastry in half and pipe in the Creme Patissiere. Top with melted chocolate. Eat and toast another victory over gluten. And, in the wise words of my daughter taking her first bite, "Daddy, these are good for people....[long pause]......, but not for birds." Enjoy!!!


  1. Now to make these dairy free. Hmmm... Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream? Possibly...

  2. These are incredible. I think I say that every time I'm at your blog. I'm going to make these.

    I also have the same determination to make great gluten-free, sugar-free food. It's like a rebellion wells up inside of me and I have no choice but to get it right. :)

  3. They're lovely. Thanks for the recipe and the good treat!

  4. You've sold me, I'm going to have to give these a try. Thanks for posting this delicious recipe!

  5. OMD!!!! I can't wait to try these!!! They look amazing!!! Today I adapted a splenda recipe for Zucchini Loaf - these look a lot more delicious!!

  6. They really do look amazing! I wish I could come to your house and have some. Right now. Great job, and thanks for the recipe.

  7. I've been keeping these unread in my google reader for quite some time now. They look so amazing, and I don't want to forget about them =D!

  8. Oh man...that looks soooo yummy!