Daring Baker’s Challenge: Gluten-Free Coffee Peanut Butter or Vanilla Eclair Recipe


This month when I found out that the Daring Baker Challenge was a chocolate eclair, I couldn’t believe it. Just a few weeks ago I’d had a cream puff for the (second) time in my entire life, and had vowed to learn how to make one myself. Enter- the Daring Baker challenge, Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé. Unfortunately the recipe was not gluten-free as written, but with all that gorgeous milk and rich eggs, gluten really plays a secondary role. So, I subbed in my favorite flour mix by Rebecca Reilly and mixed up some mean eclairs, with no additions to the basic pastry recipe. I did modify the preparation a little bit, and kept it in the oven longer because when I took it out according to the first directions, it was underbaked and started to deflate. Luckily putting it back in the oven restored it to its former puffy glory and it achieved the desirable hollow state as well as a lovely golden glow. We were required to keep one chocolate element, so I kept the chocolate glaze, but for the filling I made a versatile vanilla cream and added espresso to half of it for a wonderful coffee-mocha eclair. The DH’s response? “Mmmmmm…. you know, I wouldn’t know this was gluten-free if you didn’t tell me.” Music to my ears. And it makes me all the happier that I froze half of the recipe for later…. Yet another resounding Daring Baker success that taught me how to make a new, super yummy treat. But what happened to this batch? I invited the previously mentioned JM, another v. cool GF girl, over and we had a GF beer tasting, eclairs, and homemade masala dosa. Eclectic enough for you? The eclairs were a hit with everyone concerned- and I’ve got another decadent gluten-free recipe in my repertoire. Feeling sad because you can’t have the offerings in your local bakery? Try this amazing recipe and feast on eclairs- I promise you’ll enjoy them! You can check out other Alternative Daring Bakers here.

Gluten Free Pate a Choux/ Gluten-free eclair recipe
Ingredients
Pierre Herms Cream Puff Dough with Gluten-free variation and modified instructions

(makes 20-24 clairs)

1/2 cup (125g) whole milk
1/2 cup (125g) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 cup (140g) Rebecca Reilly GF flour mix
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate glaze (see separate recipe)
Vanilla and/ or Espresso pastry cream (see separate recipe)

*Rebecca Reilly’s GF flour mix uses 2 cups brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, and 1/3 cup tapioca starch mixed together. Although you only use one cup in this recipe, I keep it on hand- it’s great for many different things.

Directions
1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, its supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the clairs as directed below. Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

Baking the eclairs (directions for making about 10 eclairs and freezing 10 for later):
Cream Puff Dough Recipe (above), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position the rack in the lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.

2) Prepare a large Ziploc gallon or quart freezer bag by cutting out 2/3 of an inch slice out of the lower corner of the bag. Fill the bag with the warm cream puff dough and pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 4 1/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 clairs. Put ONE of the baking sheets in the freezer and then once the eclair dough is frozen, put them in a plastic bag back in the freezer and wash the baking sheet.

3) Slide the OTHER baking sheets into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet so that the front is in the back and the back is in the front. Bake for another ten minutes or until eclairs are golden and sound hollow when you tap on them. It is really important that they not be undercooked as they will deflate if so. Turn off the oven and open the door, letting them cool slowly in the oven. Place on a rack to finish cooling.

Notes:
1) The clairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling, or stored in a tupperware overnight, making sure they are completely cool before you close the lid. If you store them overnight, re-crisp them in the oven for 5 minutes and let cool again before filling.

Assembling the clairs:

1) Slice the clairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 104 degrees F or 35 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the clairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the clairs. I made half with Vanilla pastry cream and half with Espresso pastry cream. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes
Notes on baking GF eclair dough:
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month

Notes on assembling eclairs:
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2) The clairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Espresso, Vanilla, or Peanut Butter Pastry Cream Recipe
Ingredients
VANILLA PASTRY CREAM RECIPE

2 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 cups half-and-half

2 tablespoons butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
WHISK together first 4 ingredients in a 3-quart saucepan. Gradually whisk in half-and-half. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla. Cover and chill 4 hours. Yield: 3 cups.
Notes

Peanut Butter Pastry Cream: Omit 2 tablespoons butter, and stir in 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter.

Coffee Pastry Cream: Stir 1 tablespoon shot of espresso in with half-and-half. (My version)

Chocolate Glaze Recipe
Ingredients
Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herm
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
3 oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

Directions

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:
1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herm
(makes 1 cups or 525 g)

4 oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 g) water
cup (125 g) crme frache, or heavy cream
1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes
Notes:
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

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10 Responses to “Daring Baker’s Challenge: Gluten-Free Coffee Peanut Butter or Vanilla Eclair Recipe”

  1. When you posted a cream puff recipe, I thought for sure it was because you were preparing for DB! Those look lovely, congrats on your success.

  2. These look beautiful! I’ve made cream puffs, but have never braved eclairs…I’ll have to give these a shot!

  3. These look just beautiful! I love the different flavors!

  4. Ooo, your eclairs look wonderful! Great flavor choices!

  5. I am so impressed by your gluten-free mods! It is all I can do to sub soy milk for regular for my dairy free DH :) I tried some espresso pastry cream last night and it was a great combo with the chocolate glaze.

  6. [...] I made my recent gluten-free, soy-free eclairs for a friend, I was having trouble getting a nice glaze from the Enjoy Life chocolate chips, so I [...]

  7. Your eclairs look great. I am always impressed by the gluten freers. I just love wheat so much, it would be hard to cook without it. Great job!

  8. Thanks Debyi. I have had Celiac Sprue (a condition requiring the avoidance of gluten) since I was three so for me, the gluten-free flours are just fine. My husband who eats gluten usually can’t tell the difference between my gluten-free foods and gluten-foods so even he doesn’t miss it. These eclairs turned out really well without wheat… they were yummy!

    -Sea

  9. Hi Sea! I have been thinking about these eclairs ever since you posted them. I am hoping to make gougeres (with Gruyere)for Thanksgiving – they are perfect for little one bite cheesy sandwich puffs for leftovers and to use as a small roll during the meal. Have you tried the above recipe with savory ingredients? I think I will give it a trial run this weekend. I haven’t had much blogging or twitter time lately – so how’s the baby and how are you?

  10. [...] the theme for the Gluten-free Ratio Rally was Pate a Choux I was happy, but I’d already made versatile mocha and peanut butter eclairs a few years before, so I thought it wouldn’t be a new project, exactly. Little did I know how [...]

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