as a lover of tea parties I wanted to make a light tea to celebrate beginning of spring. Light tea means deserts are served and I wanted mine to follow the season. So I made some delicious gluten free mini eclairs. I decorated them with pansies and simple fondant glaze and paired them with Earl Grey tea.
Mini eclairs with pansies
Even though some people dread making choux pastry, I am not easily intimidated. If you ask me, it is easier to make than some other pastries. The only trick is to get the consistency of the dough right. This is my tried recipe that never fails.
1 cup of gluten free flour
pinch of salt
1 cup water
Heat water with butter until it boils, lower the temperature to the medium low and then add salt and flour while mixing with wooden spoon until well combined. Now the comes the important part. You have to mix and cook the flour mixture until the flour completely cooked. It should not stick to the sides but form one big blob on the wooden spoon. when it does that smear it a bit with the spoon to make sure that all of it is cooked. Then leave to cool.
When the dough is cold slightly warm (you should be able to hold in in your hands without any burning sensation) start adding eggs one by one. I first break the dough into smaller bits with hand mixer, then add first egg and mix until it is completely combined. Then add second egg and mix until combined, then third and forth one. Important thing is to mix one egg in thoroughly before adding in another one. When they are all mixed in and the mixture is now piping consistency (you may need more or less eggs, depends on the size of the eggs), put the mixture into the piping bag. Pipe 5 cm (2 inch) straight lines of mixture on the baking sheet covered with baking paper.
Tap any piping peaks with damp finger and bake at 170 °C for 10 – 15 min or until golden in colour. Then take out of oven and turn the oven off. Take a barbecue skewer and poke the hole in the side. Put them back on the baking tray and back in the hot oven until the oven cools and they dry out on the inside.
The filling that I used here is custard made with gluten free vanilla pudding, but you can make a classic pastry cream as well. It is up to you and what you prefer. You can fill them with any cream of your choice.
500 ml milk (if you use coconut milk they will have delicious coconut aroma)
1 bag vanilla gluten free pudding
3 Tbsp brown sugar
a drop of vanilla paste (optional)
Put 3 Tbsp of milk into a glass or a cup and the rest put to boil on stove. Stir in the pudding and sugar into cold milk in the glass. Then add the egg and mix until incorporated. When the milk is boiling remove the pot from the stove and start whisking. While whisking pour the pudding and egg mixture into the milk and mix quickly. When it is completely mixed in put the mixture back on stove to finish cooking. You need to mix it while it is cooking so it doesn’t become scrambled eggs. If you want richer vanilla taste, add a drop of two of vanilla paste.
When custard is cooked, remove it from stove. Mix for another couple of minutes and leave to cool down. You can either put the foil on top so that crust doesn’t form, or whisk it a bit, every couple of minutes. I usually mix it every 10 minutes. I don’t like the though of using plastic foil on hot food, and also don’t want to use aluminum.
When the custard is cool, put it into piping bag with small round tip, and pipe into the mini eclair shells.
The decoration of flowery mini eclairs
I wanted these mini eclairs to look like little spring gems. So I didn’t cover them with heavy chocolate. I chose to use simple fondant glaze and topped it with pistachio slices that look like little leaves. Before serving add little pansy flowers. Otherwise the flowers will shrivel and die.
To make the fondant glaze combine Tbsp of powder sugar with a little bit of milk or water until fluid enough. I cannot tell you the exact measurements, this you have to do by the feel. Depends on how runny you want the glaze to be. Start with adding 1/2 tsp of liquid and then mix until it’s combined, then add more.
Serve these eclairs on a nice looking cake stand garnished with fresh pansies. They are divine paired with Earl Grey.