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Classic Gluten Free Chocolate Eclair Recipe

If you’re craving an Eclair, you need to try this gluten free Chocolate Eclair recipe! Crisp Choux Pastry filled with smooth and creamy Pastry Cream and topped with a decadent chocolate ganache. They’re simply irresistible!

Classic Gluten Free Chocolate Eclair Recipe ready to serve on a stack of gold rimmed white plates

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Is there anything more satisfying than perusing city streets with the perfect dessert in hand? You know the joy of an eclair filled with thick custard and laden with thick chocolate ganache can’t be matched.

Now, I have a luscious gluten-free version to share with all of my friends living that GF life! 

The best thing about this recipe (besides it being a Heaven-sent for my gluten-free friends) is that it’s totally doable. This isn’t an intimidating recipe at all. In fact, this gluten-free eclair recipe is going to be so simple that you won’t mind making it again and again. Trust me, you’ll want to!

Be sure to check out my tips that go with this gluten-free chocolate eclair recipe. So, grab an apron, a glass of your best wine, and let’s bake the best eclair you’ve ever had!

gluten free chocolate eclairs lined up on a wood board lined with wax paper


What You Need To Know About This Gluten Free Pastry Recipe

Despite all the steps, this is a fairly easy chocolate eclair recipe. None of the components of this recipe are difficult to make, although a little time-consuming. However, these Eclairs are sensational and 100% worth the effort. You truly WILL NOT be disappointed and it’ll be time well spent.

Both the pastry cream and the ganache can be made in advance, though the ganache only takes a few minutes to make and can easily be made while the pastries are cooling. And making the pastry cream is like making homemade pudding, just a bit richer and with much more flavor.

Choux Pastry is also one of the simplest gluten free pastry recipes you can make!

Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.

What is an Eclair?

The Eclair, as you may have guessed, comes to us courtesy of the French. Thank you, France for the decadent desserts that you have given us!

You have to love the origin of éclair which means “flash of lightning”, so named because it is eaten quickly (in a flash). I mean, how can you not gobble down a cream-filled pastry super fast? Not only because they taste so good but you don’t want any of that precious pastry cream escaping!

The Eclair pastry is an oblong pastry that is hollow in the middle and filled with a glorious custard. The most common custard flavor is vanilla pastry cream, but there are several variations you can opt for–including coffee or pistachio flavors. Have you tried various eclair flavors? I would love to know your favorites. 

finished gluten free chocolate eclair recipe on a wax paper lined wood cutting board

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Ingredients for this Chocolate Eclair Recipe

  • Whole Milk
  • Egg Yolks
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Fine Sea Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Gluten Free Flour – I used my Nightshade Free Gluten Free Flour Blend in this recipe.
  • Xanthan Gum – omit if your flour blend contains it.
  • Unsalted Butter – I prefer using butter with at least 82% milk fat.
  • Granulated Sugar – optional but adds a little flavor to an otherwise flavorless dough.
  • Salt – fine sea salt is my preferred salt for baking and cooking.
  • Water – I use all water for my Choux Pastry for a sturdier dough. You can use all milk or half milk + half water if you prefer. Using milk with produce a slightly more flavorful and richer pastry but the pastry will be a bit softer and won’t’ get quite as crisp.
  • Whole Eggs – Use large eggs for this recipe, which is the standard size egg I use in all my baking recipes. 
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bars – I like Guittard Semi-Sweet Baking Bars
  • Heavy Cream

baked and stacked gluten free chocolate eclair recipe ready to serve on a white plate


Equipment Needed to Make Choux Pastry and Pastry Cream for Eclairs

  • Medium Sauce Pan
  • Mixing Spoon – preferably wood or silicone
  • Whisk
  • Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer but a stand mixer is preferred.
  • Large Piping Bag  
  • Half Sheet Pans
  • Piping Tips – I used these tips for this recipe: a Large Round Tip for piping the pastry shells and Wilton #18 Tip + Wilton #8 Tip for making the holes and piping the pastry cream. Ideally, if I had it, I would have used an Ateco 230 tip; which is meant for filling pastries.
  • Microwave Safe Bowl with a flat bottom. I use this Pyrex storage container because it has a flat bottom and is wide enough to dip the eclairs. And I can store leftover ganache right in it since it comes with a lid.

gluten free eclairs on a wax paper lined wood cutting board


How to Make Eclairs

Step 1. Make the Pastry Cream. This should be made at least a day before you plan on making the eclairs or up to 3 days in advance. You can watch my Pastry Cream video here

Step 2. Make the Choux Pastry as directed. Pipe the dough into 4-inch lines for eclairs.

Step 3. Bake the Choux Pastry shells, then cool completely.

Step 4. While the shells are cooling, make the chocolate ganache.

Step 5. Use a small piping tip to poke 3 holes in the top of each cooled shell. Stir the pastry cream really well then transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. I used a Wiltion #8 to pipe and a Wilton #18 to poke the holes but an Ateco 230 tip is ideal because it’s meant for filling pastries.  

Step. 6. Pipe the pastry cream into each eclair until the eclair is full. Wipe away any excess pastry cream if it overflows. Place the eclairs on a sheet pan lined with wax paper, with the holes facing up.

Step 7. Once all the pastries are filled, dip the piped side of each eclair into the chocolate ganache. This will help seal the eclairs closed and cover the holes. Double dip each eclair, if desired. 

Step 8. Place the dipped eclairs back on the sheet pan, ganache side up. Refrigerate until the chocolate ganache is set, then serve and enjoy!

a gluten free chocolate eclair cut in half to show the pastry cream in the center


Choux Pastry Video Tutorial


Tips for Making Gluten-Free Eclairs

  • Double dip each eclair in the chocolate ganache. I always double dip to help create a nice seal over the pastry cream. Plus you can never go wrong with extra chocolate!
  • No need to refrigerate the dough. Begin piping when the dough reaches room temperature.
  • When in doubt, add more filling. Your eclair should be heavier than it looks. Fill from the bottom and keep it up until the eclair has some weight to it.
  • Mix at a low speed to avoid too much air getting into the pâte à choux dough.

a chocolate eclair cut in half to show the pastry cream in the center


How Long do Chocolate Eclairs Last?

For optimum freshness, you can store chocolate eclairs in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Freeze these gluten-free chocolate eclairs individually to keep them from sticking together for up to two months. Simply set them out at room temperature to defrost. 


Other Gluten Free Choux Pastry Recipes To Try

a single gluten free Choux Pastry shell filled with chocolate ice cream and topped with chocolate ganache on top of wax paper


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baked and stacked gluten free chocolate eclair recipe ready to serve on a white plate

Gluten Free Chocolate Eclair Recipe

Yield: 1 dozen
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

If you’re craving an Eclair, you need to try this gluten free Chocolate Eclair recipe! Crisp Choux Pastry filled with smooth and creamy Pastry Cream and topped with a decadent chocolate ganache. They’re simply irresistible!

Ingredients

For the Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature

For the Choux Pastry

  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

For the Ganache

  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate bars, chopped (I used Guittard)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

Instructions

Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Add the 1 1/2 cups of the milk to a medium saucepan and heat on medium-low until simmering.
  2. As the milk heats, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium heat-proof bowl until light and foamy. Once combined, whisk in the remaining half cup of milk and the cornstarch until smooth and creamy.
  3. When the milk comes to a simmer, whisk the egg mixture continuously while slowly pouring in about 1/3 of the hot milk into it. This tempers the egg to gently heat it so the egg doesn't scramble.
  4. Return the remaining milk to the heat then slowly pour the egg mixture back into the milk while continuously whisking.
    Continue to whisk constantly while heating the mixture to a low boil and it reaches 165º F.
  5. Once it reaches 165º, immediately remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and the butter. Continue to whisk until the butter is completely melted and incorporated.
  6. Place a mesh strainer over a medium glass bowl. Pour the pastry cream through the strainer and whisk to press is through as needed. Leave any clumps in the strainer and discard.
  7. Once all the pastry cream has been strained, smooth out the top of the pastry cream with a spatula. Then place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming when it cools. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. Then, when ready to use, whisk the pastry cream to bring back to a smooth and creamy consistency and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip (see equipment section in the post).

Make the Choux Pastry

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together your gluten free flour and xanthan gum and set aside.
  3. Add the salt, sugar, butter, and water to a medium sauce pan. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Decrease the heat to low and add all of the flour into the hot liquid. Immediately stir it in the flour until it's moistened and has absorbed all the liquid. The dough will start to form into a ball. Continue to cook over low heat for about a minute.
  5. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer and let the dough cool, no more than 5 minutes. Then, use the paddle attachment to start beating the dough before adding the eggs. This will help re-incorporate the butter if it has separated a bit.
  6. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add the first egg. Once the egg is beaten and incorporated, add the second egg. Repeat this step until all the eggs have been mixed into the dough. The dough will look curdled at first but with the addition of each egg, the dough will smooth out and come together. Scrape down the bowl as needed during this process.
  7. Once all the eggs are added, mix for 30 seconds to a minute. You want a smooth, glossy dough. Please note, gluten free choux pastry dough is much thicker than traditional dough made with all-purpose flour but should still be pipe-able.
  8. Transfer the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe into lines about 4 inches long, slightly longer is fine. Space the piped dough about 2 inches apart to allow for the pastry to puff while baking. Use kitchen shears to help snip the end of the pastry to release it from the piping tip, if desired.
  9. Once you've piped your eclair shells, dip your fingers in a small bowl of water then smooth out the tops and ends of the pastries. You want the surface of the dough as smooth as possible. This will prevent any points from burning and will help form a nicely shaped pastry.
  10. Then sprinkle a very small amount of water over the pastry dough/baking sheet - you shouldn't be leaving large puddles of water, just enough to mist the baking sheet.
  11. Bake the Choux Pastry for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Then, remove from the oven and use a sharp knife to quickly poke a hole in each pastry to help the steam release. Return the pastries to the oven, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the pastries in the oven for at least 10 more minutes.
  12. When done, the pastries should be dry in the center and hollow on the inside. You can leave them in the oven for an additional 30 minutes to an hour to completely dry them out, just make sure the oven is off.


Make the Ganache

  1. Add the chopped chocolate and the heavy cream to a microwave-safe bowl, preferably with a flat bottom. It needs to be wide enough to dip the eclairs in.
  2. Heat the chocolate/cream at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir well to melt the chocolate and then heat at 50% power for 30 seconds.
  3. Stir well to melt as much chocolate as possible, and continue to heat at 50% power for 15-second intervals (stirring after each time) until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
  4. Stir in the softened butter until melted and combined.

Assemble

  1. Use a small piping tip to poke 3 holes in the top of each cooled shell. Stir the pastry cream really well then transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. I used a Wilton #8 to pipe and a Wilton #18 to poke the holes but an Ateco 230 tip would have been ideal because it's meant for filling pastries.  
  2. Pipe the pastry cream into each eclair until the eclair is full. Wipe away any excess pastry cream if it overflows. Place the eclairs on a sheet pan lined with wax paper, with the holes facing up.
  3. Once all the pastries are filled, dip the piped side of each eclair into the chocolate ganache. This will help seal the eclairs closed and cover the holes. Double dip each eclair, if desired.
  4. Place the dipped eclairs back on the sheet pan, ganache side up. Refrigerate until the chocolate ganache is set, then serve and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Watch the VIDEO in the blog post for step-by-step visuals on how to make this pastry.
  2. I used my Nightshade Free Flour Blend. If you use a flour blend that contains xanthan gum, omit the amount called for in the recipe.
  3. The recipe yield varies based on the size and type of pastry you've piped. If you pipe lines that are about 4-5 inches long, you should end up with about 1 dozen eclairs.
  4. For a more textured-looking eclair, use a large French Star Tip to pipe the pastries.
  5. The water sprinkled on the pastry dough will create steam in the oven to help the pastries rise and puff.
  6. If you use the Ateco 230 tip, you will only need to poke 1 or 2 holes into the eclair to fill.
  7. Choux Pastry is best eaten the day it's baked but the unfilled pastries can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container. To re-crisp the shells, bake them for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.
  8. To freeze the dough, pipe and smooth the Choux Pastry lines on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Then freeze until the dough is frozen solid. Transfer to a freezer-safe bag and keep frozen for up to a month. Bake from frozen when ready to bake - do not thaw before baking. Frozen dough takes a bit longer to bake and dry.
  9. Baked and un-filled shells can also be frozen. Defrost at room temperature then re-crisp them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.
  10. Use the leftover egg whites from the pastry cream to make French Macarons, Flourless Chocolate Cookies, Meringue Cookies, Chocolate Meringue Cookies, Baked Alaska, or Mini Pavlovas.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 336Sodium: 137mg

Nutrition Facts are estimated and aren't always accurate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist if you have special dietary needs. Calories based on 12 servings.

Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.

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Noelle

Monday 8th of February 2021

Wow, Shay! I cannot wait to make these so my kiddos can finally taste an eclair! I see you noted that this dough can also be used to make churros... Would you just pipe the dough into oil? This is another dessert I'd love to make for them! Thanks for all you do! You really helped my family get through quarantine 2020 (we did lots of baking).

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