For the past 7 months, I’ve been dairy-free (not by choice), so making these eclairs was like a dream from heaven for me. They were so delicious and light, and not a drop of cow’s milk in sight!
Eclairs are one of those desserts that are so intimidating – even the length of the ingredients and this recipe is intimidating, but these actually work so well. And if you, or any of your friends are dairy-free, you will love this recipe, for sure! Just give the recipe a good read through before you get started, and then enjoy the process, you little eclair chef, you!
Pastry Cream (Coconut Milk Custard) Ingredients:
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornflour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 400ml (1 can) coconut milk (don’t go light here!)
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used oat)
- 1/2 a vanilla pod, with the seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 140ml water
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs
Chocolate Icing Ingredients:
- 100g dark chocolate
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Fruit or nuts for topping (I used raspberries, almonds, and shredded coconut)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, cornflour, sugar, and salt until well-combined.
- In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk and your other dairy-free milk. Heat over a medium heat until it starts to just simmer.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly add a small amount of the warm milk to the egg and whisk well. (You want to only add a small amount of milk at a time so as to not cook the eggs. This is called tempering.)
- Keep adding a small amount of milk, and then whisking, until all the milk has been incorporated into the egg mixture.
- Transfer this mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking the whole time, until the custard starts to thicken.
- As the custard begins to thicken, add the vanilla seeds and make sure they are well incorporated into the mixture.
- Once the custard has thickened, transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to cool down.
- Now it’s time to start on the eclairs – in a new saucepan, add the coconut oil, sugar, salt and water, and heat until the oil has melted and the ingredients are well combined.
- Take the pan off the heat and add all of the flour, then stir well with a wooden spoon or spatula until it’s fully incorporated.
- Put the pan back onto the heat, and gently warm for a couple of minutes, while stirring, until the dough forms a ball in the pan.
- Take the pan off the heat again, and stir well to allow the dough to slightly cool.
- Next, add the eggs one at a time, stirring really well between each addition until the egg is fully incorporated. After the final egg is added, the mixture should be slightly shiny and smooth.
- Using a pastry bag or a plastic freezer/sandwich bag, and pipe out eclairs into your desired shape/size. I made mine about 7cm long and about 3cm wide.
- Sprinkle a little bit of water onto the baking sheet (taking care not to get the water onto the pastry dough), and then put the tray into the oven to bake for 15 minutes.
- Then, turn the oven down to 180°C, and continue baking the eclairs for another 30 minutes. Keep an eye on if there are any hotspots in your oven, and rotate the tray gently if needed.
- Next, turn the oven off, poke a few holes in the bottom of the eclairs to help release steam (I used a sharp knife) and return the tray back to the turned off oven for another 20 minutes to finish the cooking process and finish the drying out of the eclairs.
- Place the eclairs onto a baking rack and allow to cool slightly before assembling.
- Meanwhile, combine the chocolate and coconut oil, and heat to melt. I used a microwave and heated in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until the chocolate was just melted.
- To assemble the eclairs, transfer the cooled coconut milk custard to a piping bag. Cut a small hole at the end of one of your eclairs, and put the tip of the pastry bag into the hole and fill with the custard mixture.
- Then gently dip the top of the eclair in the melted chocolate and sprinkle the top with the topping of your choice, or leave with just chocolate.
- Enjoy with friends, a coffee or a Cinnamon Espresso Martini (Clink Clink Drink has a banging recipe on his Instagram!).