Do you remember the first time you ever ate a chocolate éclair? I do. I was about seven years old and there was a single bakery that made them in the little city I lived in. I remember the cream oozing out of the choux pastry, on which the chocolate ganache had begun to crack… I remember looking forward to visits to the bakery, reserved only for special occasions.
Needless to say, chocolate éclairs have a very special place in my heart and life. So, among the things that I knew I’d miss, when I gave up eggs, was that delectable little éclair from my childhood.
Last night, I was watching the movie bridesmaids and the officer with a sweet tooth, mentioned cream puffs. That’s when it began – my search across the web for vegan/vegetarian cream puffs and chocolate éclairs.
The choux pastry is really the toughest part of the recipe. The original recipe I referenced was by Veganbits. I’m not 300% satisfied with the pastry, because although it inflated, tasted very well, I feel the texture could use a little improvement aka it could be softer. However, the overall effect of this pastry is so delectable, I’m not hesitating to post it.
Makes 12 mini-eclairs
For the choux pastry
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp EnerG egg replacer whipped stiff with 1/3 cup of warm water
1 cup milk
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract For the chocolate ganache
2 oz semi-sweet or milk chocolate, chopped
A little less than 1/4 cup of whipping cream
1/2 tbsp butter
I The Choux Pastry
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder.
3. Bring milk and butter to a boil – use a heavy bottom pan and keep stirring to ensure the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom.
4. Prepare the egg replacer on the side.
5. Add the flour mixture to the boiling milk mix, set the heat to low.
6. Keep stirring the flour until it folds into a ball and separates from the sides. It’s best to use a thick steel spoon for this – the dough gets a little tough. Make sure you don’t cook the flour for more than 3 – 5 minutes.
7. Remove the vessel from heat, and stir in the egg replacer 1/3rd of the quantity at a time. The dough will nicely form a ball.
8. Shape the dough into mini eclair sized pastry and place on the parchment paper.
9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Thereafter, lower the temperature to 350 degrees, turn the baking tray around and leave in the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes. Check to make sure the choux is golden brown and isn’t burning. Turn off the oven, stick a wooden spoon in the oven door and let the pastry cool in there for about 30 minutes. After that, you can turn it out on to a cooling rack. Wait another 30 minutes before filling and glazing.
II The Chocolate glaze1. Bring the whipping cream and the butter to a boil
2. Pour over the chopped chocolate and set aside for about 5 minutes
3. Gently stir the chocolate with the cream to form a glossy sauce Tip: The flavor of the chocolate will dominate the ganache. If you’re stuck with semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate that’s too bitter for your taste, simply put in some powdered sugar over the chopped chocolate before pouring the warm cream.
III The Cream Filling
Whip the cream with the vanilla extract and sugar until stiff.
IV Assembling the Eclair
1. Once the choux pastry has cooled down, slice the pastry with a serrated knife, but do not let the two parts separate.
2. Using a piping bag, squeeze the cream filling between the two halves of the pastry.
3. Pour the glaze (or spoon it if it’s too thick), on to the pastry top.
This was delicious. And although, it won’t compare with what I ate as a little kid in that bakery in small town India, it’ll do just fine for now.