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):
- 3 cups coconut cream (either use Aroy-D or use the top thick part of about 4 cans of full fat coconut milk that has been sitting in your fridge overnight)
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup arrowroot powder
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1½ Tbsp vanilla
- Beans scraped out of 2 Madagascar vanilla bean pods
- Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and whisk together.
- 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).
- 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):
- ½ cup palm shortening (you could substitute unsalted butter)
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted (measure after sifting)
- 1/3 cup tapioca starch
- 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
- 4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- Pinch of salt
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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):
- 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.
- Enjoy right away or let the chocolate cool first, up to you!