Gluten free eclairs

I have been making profiteroles all my life. They were our favourite sweet pastries in pre-coeliac era. It was a very simple recipe with all ingredients measured in non standard cup. The approach never failed, resulting in small empty pasty shells. They were disappearing so fast no one minded their uneven size and irregular shape. The choux pastry in very easy to adapt for gluten free flours, as it has plenty of eggs as one of the main ingredients, absence of gluten does nothing to interfere with dough stability. The choice of rice flour was based on the desire to have light coloured eclairs. As I have never baked choux pastry in éclair shape, I decided to research the correct way of doing it. The best source for making eclairs I have found here. I highly recommend to go and read this publication, where all small and minute details of pastry preparation and baking are discussed and every stage of the process is illustrated by step by step photos.

I have closely followed the instructions and baked eclairs on two surfaces: silicone mat and baking paper. Both options worked well, however I would prefer baking paper option. My piping skills are not very good. It is evident from the photos below. However, baking process rectifies it to a certain extend. Using vanilla cream with crushed roasted nuts, as our favourite topping, improves the look even more, covering the uneven surface of eclairs.

Ingredients:

for 26 eclairs 9 cm long and 2 profiteroles from pastry leftovers

  • 225g of water or 110g water and 115 full cream milk
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 10g sugar
  • 1/2 tea spoon of sea salt (less if using table salt)
  • 150g rice flour (I used Ceres Organics white rice flour)
  • 225g eggs (in my case 4 eggs mixed to even texture)

Preparation:

  • add water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to a pot with a heavy bottom
  • heat the contents of the pot to a boiling point on medium heat, at the time of boiling butter should be melted and sugar dissolved
  • take the pot from the heat and add all flour in one go, mix the flour in
  • the dough will be very thick and it would be hard to stir it
  • there are 2 options: one – to use hand held mixed to combine ingredients in a pot or two – to pour the liquid into a bowl of benchtop mixer using a paddle attachment for mixing
  • mixed dough should be returned to the pot for extra cooking to reduce moisture content in the dough
  • it will take 2-3 minutes on medium heat
  • you will see the thin layer of the dough, appearing on the bottom of the pot
  • transfer the dough into a bowl where you will do all the mixing
  • let the dough to cool down to the temperature 42-45C
  • prepare egg mixture with an even texture
  • start adding eggs to the dough 1 to 1.5 table spoons at one time
  • mix each portion until fully combined, with rice flour this is difficult to achieve at addition of the very first portions of egg mixture
  • if you do the mixing manually you might need extra strength
  • when half of egg mixture is combined with the dough the process becomes easier and the dough will get to an even texture
  • close to the end of mixing check dough texture, it has to form v-shape staying on silicone spatula
  • in my case I have used 232g of egg mixture for 150g of rice flour
  • prepare pastry bag with a 1.25cm tip (open star)
  • pipe the dough for eclairs of desired size (mine 9cm), the tip has to touch the surface at the 45 degrees angle
  • the main difficulty is to apply constant pressure on a pastry bag when piping
  • dust the doing with icing sugar
  • bake at 190C (no fan regime) or 170-175C (fan forced regime)
  • bake for 25-26 minutes without opening oven door
  • open oven door to let hot air escape, make small hole in pastry shell to let moisture escape
  • bake for another 8-10 minutes
  • cool eclairs on a wire rack
  • do not cut eclairs to fill them with cream until they completely cool down

I used our favourite vanilla pastry cream (recipe and preparation here). I used several vanilla sources: vanilla extract and pure vanilla powder. I made holes in pastry shell and filled eclairs with cream/ I also used cream on top with coarsely crushed nuts.

Eclairs shell is hard and stable, inside they are completely empty with no wet dough remaining. Eclairs can be stored in a container with a tight lid for several days without absorbing any moisture. You can use any cream of your choice to fill eclairs and apply chocolate or caramel icing.

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