November’s Sugar High event hosted by The Well-Seasoned Cook heads towards the holidays with all the glitters and shines, so I thought the glossy finish on these improvised éclairs might join in the festivities. Filled with a pastry cream made of rich coconut milk and flavored with a good dose of dark chocolate, these éclairs sport a coat of glossy ganache, made also from coconut milk and dark chocolate, and finished with a few dots of butter that melt slowly into the ganache, making sure they rest glossy until after dinner.
Just one confession to make: the choux pastry isn’t my own… a few weeks ago at work, the baker had apparently turned down one of the ovens before leaving, and the pastry chefs didn’t realize it. About 100 éclairs happened to be in the oven, and they didn’t puff enough to be sent to the shop. Result: either the trash, or in the bags that I quickly filled for everyone- I hate to see food wasted.
The pastry cream is 100% dairy-free, for those interested, and it was a délice! Creamy, but lighter than milk, the mix with fresh bananas was the best. I sliced the bananas carefully with a mandolin, and squeezed a bit of lemon juice on them to keep them from oxidizing. Lightly toasted coconut would be perfect for the éclairs striped with grated coconut. I was in a hurry when I made these, so I didn’t take the 3 minutes to toast those flakes, but next time I won’t hesitate. Coconut flavor is pronounced with such a lovely buttery crunch when toasted.
Recipe for Coconut Milk and Chocolate Éclairs :
I improvised this dessert since I found myself with a few dozen empty éclairs, and based my pastry cream recipe on foodbeam’s post about choux, simply replacing the milk with coconut milk. Her choux pastry (pâte à choux) recipe uses milk, but at the pastry shop we use water, which results in a pastry with a bit harder of a crust. I don’t yet know which one I prefer, so use your favorite recipe, or let me know what you find best.
For the Ganache, I heated some coconut milk and off the heat, added small pieces of dark chocolate, mixing well until all the chocolate was melted and the ganache nice and creamy. Then I stirred in a few dabs of cold butter and glazed the élcairs. If you are going dairy-free for the ganache, perhaps some sugar syrup or palm oil butter will help the ganache to keep its gloss.
P.S. For more about Sugar High Friday, check out the founder’s site: The Domestic Goddess