Éclairs w/Almond Cream

Éclairs w/Almond Pastry Cream  

Choux Pastry: 
120ml (½ cup) water 
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, cut in small pieces 
65g plain flour (½ cup) 
4 teaspoons granulated Stevia (or caster sugar) 
¼ teaspoon salt 
2 large eggs 
1 egg, beaten for egg wash 

Pastry Cream Filling: 
3 egg yolks 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pure almond extract 
¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract 
13g (½ cup) granulated Stevia (or 50g (¼ cup) caster sugar) 
1 tablespoon sugar-free syrup (or maple syrup) 
15g (2 tablespoons) cornflour 
20g (2 tablespoons) plain flour 
300ml (1 ¼ cup) Almond milk, warmed 

Chocolate Glaze (Optional): 
55-60g (2 oz) *Sugar-free dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped)  
60ml (¼ cup) double cream, heated to almost foaming at the top  
1 ½ teaspoon sugar-free syrup (or golden syrup) 
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract 
½ teaspoon instant coffee powder (optional) 

Bake: 200C/400F 15 mins., 180C/350F 25 mins. 
Yield: Makes: 10-12 éclairs 

Prep: Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper/parchment or a silicone mat.
Preheat oven to 200C/ 400F.
  1. 1. Choux pastry: In a medium saucepan, add the water, and the butter, over medium-high heat bringing it just to a boil (you want the butter to melt preferably before the water boils). 
  1. In a separate small bowl, add the flour, Stevia, and salt. Whisk together to blend.  
  1. 2. Add the entire flour mixture to the medium saucepan when it comes just to a boil. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir it in well, vigorously. It will look lumpy but still keep stirring constantly until a smooth dough forms. Turn the pan off. *This stirring process is meant to cook the flour. 
  1. 3. Remove the dough from the heat. To cool off the dough, use the paddle attachment of a standing mixer, and add the dough to the bowl. Beat on low-speed for a minute or two, until the dough is not hot. 
  1. 4. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or a fork. Gradually add in the beaten eggs in the mixing bowl until it smooths out. This will take about 2 minutes. It will look curdled at first but will become smoother and form a paste.  
  1. 5. Scoop out all of the dough and fill it in the bag. Twist the end of the bag or put a rubber band on the end, and begin piping out the dough on a prepared baking tray. *You can use a template or just pipe about 8cm-9cm x 2 cm (or 3.5 inches long x ¾" wide or a little more). *You should have 10-12 éclairs piped on the tray. 
  1. 6. Use the egg wash to lightly brush the tops of each piped éclair. Place the baking tray in the oven for 15 minutes at 200C/400F. Then, lower the temperature of the oven to 180C/350F for about 23-25 minutes. The outside of the éclair shells will be golden brown and the inside of the shells should be almost dry on the inside. Test one of the shells by slicing one in half to see if there is a lot of wet batter. If the inside is still quite wet, turn the oven off and just put the tray back in the oven. Leave the oven door slightly ajar and let the tray sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  
  1. 7. Pastry Cream: In a heatproof bowl, add the egg yolks, whisk in salt, syrup, and Stevia, sift in the flour, and the cornflour. Whisk to incorporate. Add in the warmed milk, and whisk in vigorously so that the eggs do not curdle.  
  1. 8. Now, pour the mixture into a medium heated saucepan, continue whisk constantly. Bring the liquid mixture just before it comes to a boil. Keep whisking until you start to see the cream mixture lumpy and thickened, as you continue to whisk the cream mixture will become thick and then thinned out to a smoother texture (about 30-45 seconds). Turn off and remove from the heat. 
  1. 9. Add the almond extract, and the vanilla extract to the cream. Stir to incorporate. Pour the cream into a bowl, let it cool on the counter to room temperature. Then, place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. 
  1. 10.*[Optional] Chocolate Glaze: Using a heatproof bowl, add in the semi-sweet chocolate, pour the heated cream over the top, whisk to incorporate. Add the syrup, and vanilla extract, then stir until blended. 
  1. 11. To Assemble: Filling your éclair: You can slice each shell in half with a sharp knife and then pipe in the pastry cream, or you may use a chopstick to insert a hole in the bottom, then place the pastry tip in the hole and pipe in the pastry cream. I like to slice each one in half, it’s easier and allows you to remove the shell for dipping into the chocolate ganache with more control. 

*I have been liking some of Lily’s Chocolate, sugar-free chocolates and have been using it for several bakes when I can find it online.  
Tip: 1 This recipe has many steps but it is fairly easy. Take your time and be patient with yourself. You will need a steady hand for this. One great tip is to lift up your pastry tip at each end when you are finishing piping. This way your éclair pastry will not have tails on them. To make profiteroles, just pipe a small circular tower shape, instead of a straight line, then follow the rest of the steps. 
Tip: 2 You can make your pastry cream 24 hours ahead of time 
Tip: To substitute the double cream, you can use heavy whipping cream. 
Tip: 4 These can be a great frozen treat as well. You can freeze these éclairs or profiteroles from 2-3 months in an air-tight container. Before serving, let the container thaw for 30 minutes, then enjoy. It’s perfect when the filling is still a bit cold but the pastry shell has slightly softened at almost room temperature. 

This is an original recipe by Madison of FASHION TALES blog. 

This is part of a culinary book series.