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French Style Custard Filled Chocolate Eclairs (Gluten-Free)

Gluten-Free Custard Filled Eclairs (photo courtesy of Rex Roof)

June 22nd is deemed National Eclair Day. I grew up eating home-made eclairs, and I sure miss them now that I am gluten-free. This is not  a tricky recipe to pull off, but it is time consuming. However, if you can pull it off, you will not regret the time you spent trying.

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French Style Custard Filled Eclairs (Gluten-Free)

Ingredients - Dough for eclairs

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 stick butter - cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 large eggs
Ingredients - Vanilla Custard Filling
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half & half
  • Large (moist) vanilla bean scraped, or teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
Ingredients - Chocolate Glaze
  • 1 cup cream
  • 8-9 oz. Gluten-free semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup (or agave)
Directions – For the Dough
  1. In a good size saucepan heat the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter.  Bring to a light boil.
  2. While that heats up, mix the flour with the xanthan gum. As soon as it boils add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon like crazy, and keep stirring until the dough comes together and is shiny. The bottom of the pan will develop a crust, but keep stirring over low heat for about a minute more.
  3. Dump the ball of dough into a large bowl or stand mixer.  Let it sit for no more than 5 minutes to cool slightly. Add the eggs while mixing on medium speed one at a time, incorporating the egg fully before adding another one. The dough will look like it is falling apart but by the time you finish it will look fine.  Keep mixing for about another 30 seconds after the last egg is added until the dough comes together. It will look shiny and sticky, but won't form a ball.
  4. If you can pipe, use a 1/2 inch tip and pipe the dough onto parchment or silpat covered baking sheets into little logs for eclairs. Depending on how big you want to make them, you can get anywhere from 4 of each to 6 of each.
  5. Immediately place in a 375 degree oven and leave it until they are nice and brown. That should take about 25 minutes, but check after 15 minutes.
  6. Remove them from the oven and slice a little slit into each one to let the steam escape and place it back in the oven which is now turned off, but still warm. Leave them in there for another 30 minutes to continue drying.
  7. Remove and let the eclairs cool. Once cool, use a serrated knife and slice the tops off so that they can be filled.  Remove the inner dough until you have a nice little cavity to fill with pastry cream. Leave them out to dry a little bit while you prepare the pastry cream.

Directions - Pastry Cream
  1. Heat up the milk and half & half until warm and add the vanilla and the beans. Turn the heat off and cover. Leave it for about 15 minutes to infuse the milk with vanilla.
  2. Prepare two bowls, one slightly bigger than the other. In the larger one add some ice and set the smaller bowl on the ice. It should be large enough to hold the pastry cream mixture. Add to that bowl, a mesh strainer which you will use to push the cream through to eliminate any lumps.
  3. In the meantime, mix the sugar and cornstarch together and add the egg yolks and mix with a whisk until smooth. Add some of the hot vanilla milk to the sugar/egg mixture to temper the eggs and warm them up.  Then add that to the warm vanilla milk and turn the heat up to medium. Keep whisking the mixture until it comes to a boil. Simmer at a low boil for a minute or two and remove from the heat. 
  4. Immediately turn the pastry cream into the mesh strainer and stir and push it through into the bowl that is sitting on the ice. Once all the pastry cream is in the bowl, stir to cool the mixture a bit. Remove the bowl from the ice and add the butter and whisk to incorporate as it melts. Then return the bowl to the ice and let it sit for about 15 minutes, stirring often until the pastry cream is chilled.
  5. Using a small spoon, fill each eclair as much as you like and place the top back on. Line them up on a wire rack on the baking sheet for the chocolate topping.

Directions - Chocolate Topping
  1. Place the chocolate in a bowl and heat the cream in a small saucepan until it simmers to a low boil. Pour that over the chocolate and leave it alone for a minute. Then begin stirring until the cream and chocolate are totally smooth. Add the butter and the light corn syrup and stir until incorporated.
  2. Let the mixture sit for a minute or two until still warm but not hot. Using a spoon pour chocolate over each pastry. Let them set for a few minutes.
  3. Refrigerate. Leave out for a short time before serving for best flavor. They taste even better the second day.
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8 Responses:

Bruce Homstead
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said this on
29 Jun 2010 3:34:46 PM PST
My prayer has been answered. Would like clarification on what gluten-free flour to use.

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said this on
08 Feb 2013 8:12:57 PM PST
I always use King Arthur gluten-free flour blend for my recipes. This is my new favorite recipe these days!!!

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated ( Author)
said this on
29 Jun 2010 4:25:57 PM PST
Hi Bruce,

I am glad you like this recipe as much as I do. For best results, I recommend using your favorite gluten-free all purpose flour; whatever you normally use for baking desserts and such.

Good luck!

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said this on
29 Jun 2010 5:59:07 PM PST
Have you tried making a dairy-free version? Would I be able to substitute butter with coconut oil or palm shortening? And the milk/cream with a nut, rice or coconut milk? This sounds delicious, but my son is also dairy free. Thanks for posting this recipe!

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated ( Author)
said this on
30 Jun 2010 10:14:11 AM PST
Hi Jennifer,

Yes, you can make this recipe dairy-free as well. Coconut oil/milk are my favorite substitutions. They have a thicker consistency and seem to replace milk products better than other products. You may have to tweak the amounts a bit, depending on what you choose to cook with. Let me know how it works out~

Take care,


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said this on
05 Mar 2012 7:21:44 AM PST
I Loved this recipe! This recipe was easy! I made it for my family of 6 kids. They were gone in seconds! I made this with my friends and it rules! I am planning on becoming a baker when I get older. This was good practice! Loved it!

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said this on
01 Apr 2012 4:00:44 PM PST
THANK GOODNESS! I am in love with eclairs and these taste amazing! It was worth the time! I was also experimenting with a homemade chocolate whipping cream, It was amazing! Here's the recipe for the whipping cream:

5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
2 cups of powdered sugar
3- 1/2 pints of heavy whipping cream

Acquirement needed:
Stand mixer with whisk attachment
And a freezer (but who doesn't have one?)

Put stand mixer bowl (and whisk attachment) in freezer for an hour. After it has been in freezer, mix all ingredients in bowl until it forms peeks.

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said this on
01 Apr 2012 4:59:49 PM PST
The whipping cream would replace the custard. But the original is better in my opinion. But this one has a chocolate lover's name written all over it if you put the glaze on it like I did.

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