I had high hopes of presenting you with a wonderful gluten-free and dairy free eclair recipe today. As I scraped it all into the garbage in a very expensive heap…I cringed.
Mentally doing the count.
Two vanilla beans, a dozen organic eggs, three cans of full fat coconut milk, two and a half bars of high quality dark chocolate…
Not to mention the un-gawdly mess I made while trying to bring everything all together at once.
Do any of you dislike cleaning piping bags as much as I do?
Here’s what went wrong:
I made the filling first so it could chill. Nice and thick, right?
And full of those gorgeous and very expensive vanilla bean seeds.
I put it in the fridge while I made the pastry dough.
My first clue that something was wrong with the pastry dough was when I added the flour to the hot mixture, it completely seized. To the point that my arm was not strong enough to beat it with a wooden spoon. Hmmm…I worried the dough would be too dry and airy when cooked because it didn’t seem like it had enough moisture to even mix it properly. It’s a similar recipe to my Scandinavian Kringler recipe, but didn’t react the same at all. But, I put it in the mixer and added the eggs one at a time and things calmed down. They even looked gorgeous after being piped onto the cookie sheet.
I piped them and then did an egg wash. Popped them in the oven and watched them carefully.
Hmm…a bit deformed. I quickly realized I should have piped them higher and watched the build up on the ends. I ate one plain and knew immediately they were not going to work well. Eclairs are supposed to be airy (think cream puffs) but these were too airy and the egg wash had given them a weird texture on top. I also thought, why did I even use an egg wash? They’re going to be dipped in chocolate anyway.
I made the chocolate ganache while I waited for them to cool…which also seized almost immediately, but I was able to save it with a bit of warmed coconut milk. Then I poked holes in the eclairs and took the filling out of the fridge.
The filling had completely liquefied. Remember how thick it was? The only thing I can think that happened to change things was the stirring in of the butter after it was thickened. So I did a complete no-no and put it back on the heat and thickened it again. Cooled it on ice, and then filled another dreaded piping bag.
I already knew the recipe was a fail but I had to see it through.
Looks edible. And I could have fibbed and told everyone they were delicious.
But you KNOW I would never do that to you.
We’re in this together.
They were not good.
The ganache was too thick and the chocolate I used was too dark. The pastry itself was too crisp and too airy in the middle. Kind of reminded me of a popover. There really wasn’t much to it. And the filling, that was the worst. Too much vanilla, and too thick and gelatinous.
So I did a bit of research and came to the realization that I think I had the word eclair stuck in my head, but what I was really hoping for was something more like a Boston cream doughnut.
Or at least something in between.
(photo courtesy of halfthesugarbowl.com)
So there you have it. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
A lot of work goes into changing recipes to gluten-free and dairy free. A lot of trial and error, and sometimes, most of the time, those recipe failures can be quite pricey.
I’ll revisit the chocolate eclair recipe trial again someday.
But for now, I’m going to clean the eclair bomb that went off in my kitchen and drown my sorrows with a homemade pizza and my last gluten-free beer I brought with me from Washington state.