Éclairs!!! I feel like I’m super embracing my French background this year what with the macrons, the madeleines, meringues, crème brulée and now éclairs? I probably should’ve forgone doing something French in favour of doing something from….well…anywhere else really. But is it really my fault that the French know their desserts? Why should I punish myself and those around me with ridiculous restraint and restrictions? (have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy a little alliteration? Actually, I should’ve said how much I enjoy an abundance of alliteration, but I digress 🙂 ). I don’t think I want to live in a world that thinks you can actually have too much French pastry, French custard, French bonbons or anything that includes French+sugary goodness. You know you don’t want to live in such a horrible place either, so why are we even arguing about this? Great, now that we’re on the same page, let’s move on to all things delicious and Français (that means French for all of you unilingual/English-centric folk 😉 ).
Red alert! Red alert! As a full disclosure side note, I will freely admit that I often start writing these posts when the recipe is but a mere twinkle in my mind’s eye. When my only way of seeing the end result is that it will obviously be an unmitigated success. This rose-coloured glasses vision of the future is all fine and good (I mean confidence is everything right? Fake it ’til you make it and all that jazz), except when things fall apart. Then you see that rosy hue turn a slightly less optimistic shade of blue (rhyming!!! Feel free to use that if you want to 😉 ).
Now I could’ve just not admitted to this because frankly, the photos of these mini éclairs actually make them look pretty gosh darn cute and delicious. Do not be deceived by my attempt at deception however (this very much makes it seem like I would be the worst poker player ever. However you would be wrong to think that, because I’m actually not half bad – if only because I don’t bring my baking brain into the card sharking arena. Ok…now I’m grossly over-selling my poker skills. In reality I’m somewhat middling, what was I talking about again? 😉 ). The cream in the middle’s pretty good actually, but the actual éclairs would only be perfect if you were making them to be a weapon with which to throw at any intruders in your home late at night. If that had been my goal, I would’ve vastly exceeded all my expectations. But alas, that was not the goal. Their actual flavour was ok, but they were just way way too hard. I tried making them twice, but both batches weren’t great, so I think it’s time to toss that recipe out with the bathwater (although don’t do this if you’re ever reading a recipe on your tablet or phone, I hear rumour that water and electronics don’t mix 😉 ).
Now because of that, I absolutely refuse to provide you with a recipe for such an unmitigated disaster. I’ll kindly offer up the cream (aka “la crème de la crème” 😉 ) of this recipe though because that was pretty tasty. But as Seinfeld’s soup Nazi would say “No Éclairs for you!!” (that’s what he said right? 😉 ).
Anywho, before I get to the small part of this recipe that I will actually include, I will leave you with a homemade limerick written by me en français (so I guess you’re getting 2 recipes after all 😉 ). If you are actually a French speaker, please don’t make fun of me for any grammar mistakes (I tried my best. Sadly French immersion plus double major in French in University doesn’t necessarily translate into superb French language skills, but c’est la vie). Also, I’m lazy and will provide no translation, so feel free to Google translate or something if the spirit moves you:
J’aime beaucoup manger les éclairs
(Réelement j’aime tout les desserts)
Je volera d’un enfant
Tout manière de bonbons
Malgré ça m’envoyera à l’enfer 😉
N.B. – Since I of course did not throw out these éclairs, I will say that after a few days, the “pastry” softened quite a bit, and they thus got a bit tastier and were much more texturally sound and therefore were magically transformed back into edible food. I’m still not giving you the recipe, but I will now say that they can no longer be used as weaponry against intruders. If that’s your anticipated usage for these, make sure to plan to make them the same day as your would-be burglar will be breaking in 😉 .
Adapted from Isa Chandra’s Rad Whip recipe
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight in cold brew coffee (you could probably just use cooled regular coffee as well).
- Reserve 1/2 cup of coffee used to soak cashews
- 1/3 cup coconut cream (place can in fridge overnight so the “cream” separates from the liquid”)
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup Kahlua (or other coffee flavoured liqueur)
- 3/4 teaspoon agar agar powder
- 2 Tablespoons Bird’s custard powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil plus 2 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon maple
1.Place a large metal bowl in the freezer to chill.
2.Drain cashews and blend in a food processor with coconut cream and 1/2 cup reserved coffee, until completely smooth. Rub it between your fingers to make sure there is no graininess left, this could take up to 5 minutes depending on your machine.
3.In a small sauce pan, heat 1/4 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup of Kahlua, agar, custard powder and sugar. Bring to a boil, and let simmer another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut oil and stir to melt. It’s important to make sure this doesn’t set while on the stovetop, so be sure to have the food processor mixture ready.
4.Stream the warm mixture into food processor with the machine turned on. Blend for about a minute on high to incorporate lots of bubbles, then add the vanilla and maple extracts and pulse to mix.
5.Transfer to the chilled metal bowl. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes just to get it very very cold, but not frozen. When you remove it, it should be cold all the way through.
6.Now take a hand mixer and beat on high for a minute or two until it’s smooth and a bit fluffy. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place back in fridge to set again for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight.
7.Now use a hand mixer again to get it even more fluffy.
8. Use as cream between éclairs (a good/ functional recipe unlike the one I’d used 🙁 ). Or use cream/ any leftover cream the same way you would whipped cream (coffee, pie etc.). Keep stored in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.