Paleo Chocolate Éclairs

December 22, 2012 in Categories: , , by

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Yes, you read that right.  Paleo Chocolate Éclairs.  Éclairs were one of my childhood favorite treats.  If you aren’t familiar with the éclairs, they are pastry cream-filled puff pastries topped with chocolate.  Drool!  The recipe is at the bottom of this post, but don’t scroll too fast!  Because first are some other great recipes to try too!

The choux pastry is made the traditional French way of creating an egg-rich batter on the stovetop, piping onto a cookie sheet and baking immediately.  I’ll be honest up front:  this is a bit of an arm workout.  Once the puff pastry cools, you end up with hollow pockets of joy.  To make éclairs, cut them in half and fill with vanilla pastry cream (I’ve included variations for chocolate and coffee pastry cream as well) then top with melted chocolate.

When I was a kid, a French friend of my mom’s used to make homemade éclairs and filled them with whipped cream instead of pastry cream (she actually used to make the most decadent version of strawberry short cake using choux pastry too).  A delightful alternative to pastry cream is whipped heavy cream or coconut cream (sweeten or not, it’s up to you).  I’ve also included some variations for flavored pastry creams.

Another possible variation of this recipe is to pipe silver dollar sized circles of choux pastry instead and then use an injector tip on your piping bag to fill them with pastry cream or whipped heavy cream.  Voila!  Puffballs! Stack them and drizzle with chocolate for a croquembouche to wow your friends.

Yields 16-20 4”-long éclairs.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a day.  For longer storage, store in the fridge.

Ingredients (Pastry Cream):

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and whisk together.
  2. Then put the saucepan on the stovetop and heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly.  You want to heat until just shy of boiling point.  The pastry cream will start to steam slightly and then start to thicken.  Once it becomes thick and gooey, remove from heat (takes 7-8 minutes if you put it on a preheated element).
  3. Pour into a bowl or measuring cup and cover the surface with wax paper to prevent a custard skin from forming.  Let cool to room temperature before piping into éclairs.

Pastry cream variations:

For lighter pastry cream: fold in 1 cup  softly whipped heavy cream or coconut cream to cooled pastry cream

For chocolate pastry cream: add 4oz of finely grated bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate to the hot pastry cream. Stir until melted.

For coffee pastry cream: add 1-2 Tbsp coffee powder (super fine grind) to the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients.


Ingredients (Choux Pastry): 

  1. This is going to be intense, so I recommend measuring out all of your ingredients before you start.  Combine your flours and salt.  Crack your eggs and place them in separate bowls (okay you can combine your extra yolk and one egg in a bowl).  Have either a pastry bag with a wide tip ready or a large heavy duty plastic bag (like a ziplock freezer bag) and a pair of scissors handy.  Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.  Actually, line two baking sheets because you’ll probably need two.
  2. Heat coconut milk and palm shortening over medium heat until it just starts to simmer.  Remove from heat and pour in all of the flour all at once.  Stir like mad until it’s thick and fully combined.
  3. Add the eggs ONE AT A TIME and stir like crazy with each addition (you are doing this off the heat).  Each time you add an egg, the dough will seem to separate and then as you stir, it will come together.  Wait until it comes together before adding the next egg.
  4. At the end, you have a fairly warm, quite thick and sticky cream-colored dough.  Immediately scoop it into your pastry bag or plastic bag.  If using a plastic bag, cut off one corner so you have a hole about 1” in diameter.
  5. Pipe 4”x1” long rectangles of dough onto your prepared baking sheet (if you’re using a pastry bag tip that isn’t 1” wide, you can pipe a really narrow U shape to get your éclair rectangle).  Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect, they will smooth out considerably as they cook.
  6. Immediately place into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.  They will puff up to be about 1” high (depending on the size of your eggs) and will be light golden in color.
  7. Remove from the oven and gently turn each one upside down.  Let them cool upside down on the baking sheet for 20 minutes (then you can move them to a cooling rack until you’re ready to deal with them).
  8. Cut pastries in half using a sharp knife (the pastry is quite thin, so you can just trace around the circumference without cutting all the way through the whole pastry).  Pipe cooled pastry cream into the middle.
  9. Make sure to cut and fill them relatively promptly after they have cooled.  They have a habit of getting softer if they sit too long and are then much harder to cut open cleanly (still taste great though!).

Ingredients (Chocolate Coating):

  1. Melt chocolate and shortening together on your stovetop or in your microwave.  Spread over the top of the éclairs with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  2. Enjoy right away or let the chocolate cool first, up to you!





OMG….You have delivered what I have been searching for…really….choux pastry …but paleo-friendly….THIS IS SO BOOKMARKED FOREVER!!…..Light and luscious…you quite simply…rock.

I must admit this paleo system is weird … so caveman had chocolate … and made all those desserts with starches !!! … the problem lies with the whole food system of the modern world … what you are doing is changing the ingredients only … our way of life and eating habits need to change not the ingredients in which we cook the food … i am not saying it’s all the same, sure your paleo diet is much better that SAD … yet one must use some form of logic … i don’t think it’s primal or real paleo to consume huge amounts of nuts in the form of a weird bread … especially nuts that have been under extreme heat … we people must use our brains more often … sorry

I disagree with your statement, changing the ingredients can be enough of a difference to make someone healthier. Your statment about cavemen not having chocolate so we shouldnt have it, may be true, but they also didnt have cars with harmful fumes, or computers that use heavy metals that poison our environment. So unless you can say you live like a caveman and have no modern luxuries, i dont think it is fair to criticise others who want to still enjoy the modern world but in a healthier way.

If you are “eating like a caveman” in order to fulfill some need to be historically accurate, you are correct, this is not the way to do it. But if you are following a paleo/primal lifestyle because wheat literally causes systemic, chronic, inflammation and pain, then an occasional treat, made with ingredients that WON’T make you dream of taking a chainsaw to your aching limbs…. well, that is understandable, too, don’t you think?

How about we use our manners just as often as our brains, and not judge one another for finding ways to improve our health, but still entertain friends an family once in a while?

I made these! I’m sure mine weren’t as good as yours. I had a few mishaps but was able to recover. The cream was not thick enough, which I didn’t realize until I was about to fill the pastry part, bummer. I had to put it back on the burner then cool it back down but at least it wasn’t ruined. Also, my pastry was doughy in the inside so I ended up putting them inside out under the broiler, BUT, they were still saved. I think I need to turn down my oven and perhaps cook a little longer because they were perfectly browned on the outside. When all was said and done, they were good. My boys loved them and they are very picky. I put them in the fridge and figured they were “over” but something made me try one later, after being chilled, and oh my, that hit the spot. I guess it’s personal preference but I like them better chilled. All and all, this a great recipe for a very special occasion. I don’t know if I would do it again unless I had some non-paleo guests that I really wanted to impress. They were so expensive to make! I’m glad I did though and it was kind of fun. I so appreciate that you come up with recipes like this. I’ve made your Paleo yeast bread about 3 times now and everybody, Paleo or not, loves it. Both the bread and the eclairs mess with my stomach a bit though I’m not sure why, perhaps the starch in the flour?

Hi. Could soft coconut oil be used instead of palm shortening?
I thought arrowroot and tapioca starch were the same thing? Tapioca not readily available I’m Australia.
Any other alternatives?

Hi Lisa, not sure if anyone let you know but you can buy Tapioca in the health food stores but all it is, is sago, so you could make your own.

How long does coconut milk last in the fridge and what could I use all the milk for when opening for cans?

You can add the milk to smoothies or creamy soups in place of dairy (ginger/carrot soup). The canned coconut milk usually lasts a couple of days after I’ve opened it. Hope this helps. 🙂

Hi, does the tapioca starch have preservatives as I can not find any that doesn’t her in Australia as I can’t have the Sulfur ones.

In Australia we buy organic tapioca at the link below. We buy 12 bags at a time, then there is a bit of a discount. Postage in Australia is always a bit pricey, but this tapioca is preservative free and I can cope with it, so long as not too much in a week. So a valuable pantry item.

Otherwise you can buy tapioca starch from Chinese food shops. It is usually in a clear plastic bag with blue writing on it, and is much cheaper than the organic, but i think it has preservative as my skin itches a few hours after eating anything containing it.

This looks absolutely delicious, but seriously. How is this paleo? it’s a sugar bomb. People need to stop calling desserts paleo. It’s an oxymoron.

This looks scrumptious without all the funky stuff. Thanks SO much for creating something extra special for when we’re craving something ‘extra special’. 🙂

These look amazing, thank you! I am wondering if the palm shortening can be replaced with coconut oil? Trying to get more coconut into my diet. Thanks for adding in the variations.

This recipe looks great and I would like to try it but our followers all seem to concerned about the carb counts. Do you perhaps have the carb count per serving? Would it be possible to add the carb counts on your recipes when you place them . I often invite people to your page but like I say , carb count is important. Thanks for your great recipes , I’ve made many of them and love them , THANKS for sharing .
Paleo Living South Africa

Amazing. Thank you. My 6 year old was diagnosed with an AI last summer (at 5). She has been moaning in the last couple of days about food she has not had since she was in hospital and has been especially vocal for chocolate éclairs. We aren’t following true AIP as that is tricky as she is young/vocal about what she likes. She is doing brilliantly in health and being (mostly) ok with the way I now feed us both and willing to try different foods she wouldn’t before.
They were amazing and I have a very happy small child.

wow. you just became my new favorite paleo cook. I was searching for steak and kidney pie and followed the link to this! I have an order of Palm shortening on the way!

Do you think I could replace the arrowroot for something else? It’s almost impossible to find it here in Brazil =/, and I absolutely LOVE eclairs.

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