Mini Bite Éclairs, Gluten Free

One bite éclairs defy self-control. Go ahead. I dare you to eat just one or two. Put out a tray of these and watch them disappear. Like any good tiddly-bit, they are a miniature of good pastry stuff – a little pâte à choux filled with pastry cream (pudding) and topped with bittersweet chocolate gananche. Want one yet? They’re actually easy to make. Mix up the choux dough.  Pipe it. Bake and cool.

Make the quick vanilla pastry pudding and chill. Pipe it into the baked, mini éclair shells until it puffs up like a little blimp and looks like it might bust open. Then prepare a bit of ganache (two ingredients) and dip the tops. Chill again. And that’s all.

If you are going to a barbecue or invited to a summer soiree this would be one of those things to bring that would make you instantly popular. The trick to making these éclairs this tiny is to count while piping the choux. Give it a one-two-slurp (forward and then flick the wrist back to get the batter to stop spitting out) and that’s your éclair. It looks tiddly-bit until it bakes and then almost doubles in size. Little itty-bitty is what you want when piping. It may seem silly to pipe a one inch rope, but that little rope bakes into a nice little mini-bite.

Pâte à choux in some form is a regular around here. Click here for a tutorial on making pâte à choux. Click here for banana custard éclairs. Click here for cream puffs, the éclair cousin.

And then go make some Mini Bite Éclairs. Everyone will be glad you did.


Mini Bite Éclairs
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Éclairs are a most favorite treat around here. They are easy to make once you have the method down, and all it takes is a little practice. GF choux dough is indistinguishable from regular choux dough, especially if you use superfine flours. This recipe uses a vanilla pudding for the filling, but you can use whatever pudding or pastry cream you like. Top with simple chocolate ganache and it's an Éclair Mini Bite party. Makes about 50 Éclair Mini Bites.
Ingredients
Éclair Pastry
  • 150 grams GF AP flour (76 grams superfine brown rice flour, 32 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (1¼ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 75 grams unsalted butter (1/3 cup)
  • 210 grams whole milk (1 cup)
  • 227 grams egg, room temperature (4 extra-large whole eggs)
Vanilla Pastry Pudding
  • 735 grams whole milk (3 cups) (we use lactose free milk)
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 3 extra-large egg yolks
Chocolate Ganache
  • 120 grams heavy cream (1/2 cup)
  • 212 grams mixed semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips (1¼ cups)
Topping
  • 4 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles
Instructions
Éclair Pastry
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside. Prepare a piping bag with a ½ inch plain tip or use a two tablespoon scoop.
  2. In a small bowl mix flour with salt and sugar. In a deep sauce pan melt butter with milk and bring to a low simmer. With a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture all at once. The dough will almost immediately form a ball. Turn the flame down and stir as well as you can for about two minutes. Mostly you will be slapping the dough ball around the bottom of the pan but keep going. At two minutes remove the dough ball and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside for two minutes while you get the eggs ready.
  3. Crack eggs into a bowl. With the mixer running on medium low, add eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully worked into the dough before adding the next. It takes time so be patient. Really patient. It takes a lot of time. Make sure that last egg is really well incorporated. Remove from stand and using a spatula, fold the dough to make sure the egg is really mixed in well. Place dough in piping bag or get scoop ready. Pipe little bitty 1 inch sized ropes on the parchment. They will look ridiculously small, but they puff up a lot. Keep going. You will get a lot on each sheet.
  4. Sprinkle water like the pans are in the rain forest and place in the oven. Time it for 10 minutes and then turn the temperature to 350. Give it about another 10-12 minutes and when they look toasty brown, remove them from the oven. Don't open the oven at all during the baking because it might make the puffs fall. After you remove the pans, poke each one with a toothpick to release the steam and place on a rack to cool completely before filling.
Vanilla Pastry Pudding
  1. (This makes more than you will need for this recipe, but it won't go to waste if you make a berry tart or serve pudding for dessert)
Vanilla Pastry Pudding
  1. Whisk yolks until smooth. Add cornstarch and ½ cup milk to yolks and whisk to combine. Set aside for two minutes.
  2. Whisk the egg mixture and strain into medium saucepan. Add remaining milk and sugar to the saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and just starts to simmer/boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla bean paste, stir. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.
  3. Using a long filling tip, pipe vanilla pudding into each mini éclair. It won't take much to fill each one. The other option is to slice off a cap from each éclair and spoon in filling. Replace cap.
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Heat cream in microwave safe container until simmering, about 35-40 seconds. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Pour simmering cream over chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Stir gently to combine. For piped éclairs, dip top side into chocolate letting excess drip back into the bowl. Place on cooling rack right side up to set. If you've cut off the tops and filled the éclairs, use a small spoon and drizzle chocolate over the top of each éclair while it sits on a rack.
Topping
  1. While the chocolate is still soft, drop sprinkles on top. Let set completely in refrigerator. Serve slightly chilled.

Comments

  1. I am looking at these wishing I could reach right in and pick one off that plate! Wonderful recipe!

  2. Lovely!!! But, they’re making me hungry 🙂 Congrats on the link from All Gluten Free Desserts!

  3. I just failed pretty miserably on the first batch of these 🙁 Double-checked all my measurements, sprinkled water on the parchment and everything, but they came out flat as a pancake- no puff at all. How thick is the dough supposed to be before you pipe it? I think mine was a little bit closer to what I’d call a batter than a dough. Any pointers?? I was hoping to make these (and possibly the croissants- that was supposed to be tomorrow’s project, but now I’m not feeling so confident) for my best friend’s wedding shower next weekend…

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      choux is dough, not batter so if it was thin, then something wasn’t right. be sure to look over your ingredients and compare them to the recipe – the flour makes a big difference and some AP GF flour mixes produce thin batter rather than dough. Was there anything that you used that was different than on the list? If you can give me a list of what you used (type and brand) I can probably help. The dough, once piped should hold it’s own and not spread. Hope that helps and if you can give me more specific info: ingredient differences, even slight – what the dough looked like as you did each step, if your oven is running hot or colder than the temp, etc. I can probably help more specifically.

      • I used the flour ratios that you list in the recipe, by weight, and I believe they were all Bob’s Red Mill brand. Organic Valley whole milk, and I went by weight with the eggs since I didn’t have extra large, only large. Anything for which you offered weight measurements, I went with those over volume. Other than that, I didn’t mess with it at all! I’ve tried another recipe 2 other times since my first post (glutenfreeforalltv’s), and they puffed a bit better, but still never dried out or crisped up sufficiently, even when I left them in the oven for a while with the door propped open when were done baking. I’ve made pate a choux with delicious success before my gf days (although that was years ago)…now I’m starting to lose heart a bit. Croissant dough is currently about to move to the freezer, so I’m really hoping it comes out at least edible 🙂 *fingers crossed* I’ve made those well pre-gf also after living in Paris, and of all the gf blogs the have attempted them, yours definitely look the most on-point with texture! (Bravo, btw! 🙂

      • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

        I can tell you right away that Bob’s flours are dicey – the are my least favorite because of how they absorb liquids. Or I should say, how they don’t absorb liquids. I think the Authentic flours work best because of how they are so finely ground. Next I’d use King Arthur or even C4C before I’d ever use Bob’s (any of Bob’s). WHen making the first part of the choux, heating it up, make sure to go a little longer with coarser flours even though the bottom of the pan will form a film. You really want the particles to actually absorb the liquids. Next, take your time with egg inclusion and wait a big longer than you think is necessary before adding another egg. I am pretty certain the problem is with the flours and not anything else you are doing. I think you might even run across that same issue with the croissants. The flour really matters. How it is milled really makes a huge difference and all my recipes are based on the type of milling that Authentic provides. Also, the outcome is better because there is not grit. Bob’s flours, especially are gritty – King Arthur is a little better and C4C has so much starch you can’t tell there is any rice flour in there. Since you’ve done these pre GF with regular flour then you are familiar with how they should look/feel at each point in the prep. The only difference you should expect (both recipes) is that the GF version is a bit more fragile when handling, where the gluten versions can stretch like crazy before breaking (if they ever do) the GF can only be stretched a bit and you have to get a good feel for when that is about to happen (with practice) and then relax the dough so it doesn’t break. Don’t lose heart – you’re doing well with this – it just takes time and practice and finding the flour mix that works for you. Again, I highly recommend mixing your own using the Authentic Brands Flours (also, Bob’s tapioca often has a metallic smell which remains after baking and Authentic’s does not nor do other tapioca flours). Experiment with different flours and find the one that works for you. Also, GF choux will puff, it will crisp up and dry out sufficiently. Hope that helps and if you need anything else, just ask.

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