Nothing much makes me happier than an éclair or pâte à choux on my dessert plate. These éclairs filled with coconut caramel banana pudding (custard) topped with chocolate made me ridiculously giddy (although it could be the sugar). And they are easy enough to make at home without breaking a sweat. I swear.
The pâte à choux dough is piped into long fingers for éclairs. Once baked, you can slice off the top (think caps) or pipe the pudding filling right into the side. Finish with a drizzle or a generous flood of chocolate ganache on the top and you have a fabulous dessert.
One recipe will make about 8 éclairs, enough to feed a small village. That is, if you are so inclined to share. Sometimes around here we have to make a second batch because a few someones were taste-testing too enthusiastically.
You can actually fill these with any pudding or custard you wish, even the store-bought kind (Kozy Shack was GF last I looked). The éclairs can be made a day ahead and store them (without filling) in a covered container. To crisp the éclair shell if they feel slightly damp, pop them in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature again before filling. Store in the refrigerator once they’re filled. They will get soggy if stored overnight so serve them the same day.
You can make all the components ahead and assemble it in no time at all on serving day. A great do-ahead dessert. If you can wait that long.
|Chocolate Banana Custard Éclairs, Gluten-Free||
- 4.75 ounces gluten-free flour (1 oz. superfine brown rice flour, 1 oz. superfine white rice flour,1 oz. GF oat flour, 1.75 oz. of tapioca starch) (about 1¼ cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2.75 ounces or scant ⅓ cup of unsalted butter
- 8 oz. (1 cup) of whole milk
- 8 oz. or 4 large whole eggs, room temperature (important)
- or use your own favorite pudding or custard
- 6 oz. (about ¾ cup) heavy cream, heated to a simmer
- 16 oz. mixed bittersweet and semisweet chocolate chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
- Weigh out flours and mix with sugar and salt, whisk to mix, and set aside.If the eggs are cold, place in a large glass measuring cup or bowl with warm (not hot) water to come to room temperature – about 2 minutes. Don’t use cold eggs! Crack them into a small bowl and set aside. In a medium tall, heavy-bottom saucepan heat the milk and butter until it comes to a low boil. With a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture all at once and stir like crazy. Keep stirring until your arm feels like it is going to fall off. The mixture will go from oh-oh to phew – (ok-it’s-working) pretty quickly. It will smooth out into a smooshy ball and start to cook – there will be a filmy layer on the bottom. That’s ok, just don’t let it burn – turn down the heat. Cook for about a minute or two until it all comes together and the spoon leaves an impression in the dough when pressed. The color will (or should) still be boring beige. Keep stirring though your arm feels numb by now. Remove from the burner and set somewhere to cool for just two minutes. Place the dough ball in the bowl of stand mixer. On low to medium speed, mix in one egg at a time until fully incorporated. At first it will look like egg smear, but keep going. It will work itself in but it takes time. Keep doing that until the eggs are used up. Make sure that last one is really incorporated and give it one more stir.
- Using a ½ inch tip place the choux dough into a piping bag. If you don’t have tips or piping bags, a ziplock will do. Place the dough in the bag and cut a tiny slit in one corner- about ¼ inch. Less is more. You can always make the opening bigger. Pipe a tiny rope about 3 inches long and ½ and inch wide – they will puff up. Give them a little space in between. You will probably get them all on one parchment lined baking sheet but have a 2nd standing by because you don’t want to crowd them too much.
- Right before tossing the pans in the oven, using your fingers, rain a little water on them and baking sheet – just a few raindrops – don’t drown them – and place in the oven.Time for about 13 minutes. When the timer goes off don’t open the oven! Just pop the temperature down to 350 and continue baking for about 20-25 minutes more or until they are almost just too brown. That’s when you know they are done. Remove from the oven and place each eclair on a baking rack to cool. Poke a hole with a toothpick to let the steam escape while cooling. I do it on the top where it will be covered with chocolate later. Cool thoroughly.
- Heat the cream until it simmers. In a heat proof glass bowl or container weigh the chocolate. Pour the simmering cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a couple of minutes without stirring. Then stir very gently to incorporate the chocolate with the cream, but not to whip any air into it. Add the butter and stir in. Add the vanilla flavoring and stir. Let the mixture set until slightly cool but it still can pour. It usually is ready in about 20 minutes for me. It depends on the temperature in your kitchen. It can take longer. Be patient.
- You can pipe the filling into the éclairs through the sides or slice off some of the top (like a cap) and spoon in the filling. Replace the cap. Drizzle the chocolate on top until you are happy. Best eaten right after assembly, though you can put them together a few hours ahead and refrigerate. Bring to slight room temperature before serving. Giddy, right?