In celebration of the first day of Spring, these Java Coconut Éclairs are the perfect way to prepare for the warmer days to come!
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Éclairs have long been one of my favorite desserts to order at a bakery, but I was always afraid to make them at home. I’d heard that they were somewhat difficult to make, so I always avoided them. I’d occasionally pick up the recipe and think about it, but it would always end up back in the recipe box. Well, during last week’s snow storm, I decided I needed to make something that reminded me of Spring. I needed something fun and delicious. I needed something to make me forget about the snow piling up in my driveway. So I pulled out my éclair recipe and decided to give it a shot. Well guess what? Éclairs are way easier to make than I thought! In honor of Spring, I used Keurig Green Mountain’s new Island Coconut coffee for the cream filling. Coconut, coffee and chocolate? How can you go wrong?
The dough used to make éclairs is called pate a choux (paht-a-shoo), which is actually French for cabbage paste. Geez, I know the French are renowned for their pastries, but they sure know how to make them sound unappetizing! The term actually comes from the fact that this same dough is also used to make cream puffs, and cream puffs resemble little cabbages. If you’ve never made pate a choux before, then you’ll be a bit surprised by it. It’s probably not like any other dough you’ve ever made. It actually starts in a saucepan on the stove, and it ends up as a very smooth and soft mixture that is almost closer to a batter than a dough. The dough is then actually piped out of a pastry bag onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Yup, I told you it was different! But with that said, pate a choux is incredibly easy to make. Plus, it’ll impress the heck out of your family and friends when you pull out a batch of these homemade Java Coconut Éclairs!
Instead of the traditional vanilla pastry cream, I made a coconut + coffee cream using Keurig Green Mountain’s Island Coconut coffee. Island Coconut is a seasonal coffee, and it just so happens that it will be released this coming Monday (March 24th). I don’t know about you, but I’ve been daydreaming about warmer weather since, oh, January. I’ve been enjoying this Island Coconut coffee in the mornings recently, and it’s been a delicious change of pace. I can almost imagine sitting on a sunny beach surrounded by palm trees. Warmer days are coming! But in the meantime, a batch (or two) of these Java Coconut Éclairs is a great way to celebrate the first day of Spring.
Note: I received free samples of Island Coconut Coffee from Keurig Green Mountain, but I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.
Java Coconut Éclairs
For the Pastry Cream
For the Chocolate Glaze
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ Tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tsp water
- toasted coconut flakes for garnish
For the Dough
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Using a medium saucepan, add the water, butter and salt. Heat over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer rapidly. Add the flour all at once; stir vigorously until well mixed.
- Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan (only 1-2 minutes).
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a countertop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed for 3-4 minutes to allow the mixture to cool before adding the eggs.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly on medium-low speed after each addition. Once all the eggs have been added, mix for 2-3 more minutes.
- Transfer the dough into a large pastry bag fitted with a large, plain round tip. (In a pinch, you can use a sandwich bag with a large corner snipped off.) The tip of the bag should be 1/2″ – 3/4” wide.
- Pipe the dough into 5” long strips on a parchment lined sheet pan, leaving 2″-3″ between each strip.
- Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and open the door slightly. Allow the baked shells to cool in the oven for 30 minutes, and then transfer to a countertop to cool completely.
For the Pastry Cream
- Place the coffee in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until the coffee has been reduced to 1/2 cup (~10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whip together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until smooth and pale in color.
- Once coffee has been reduced, add the milk to the saucepan and return mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
- Once mixture begins to simmer, slowly pour about half of it into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously the entire time. Pour this egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Bring mixture to a boil and then continue cooking for 1 more minute, stirring constantly the entire time. Remove mixture from the heat, and continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes. Add the butter and vanilla extract; stir until fully combined and cream is smooth. Set cream aside to cool.
For the Chocolate Glaze
- Heat 1″ of water in a medium saucepan until it begins to simmer. Place a small, heat-proof bowl over the saucepan. Add all of the ingredients (chocolate, butter, corn syrup and water) to the bowl, and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Remove mixture from heat and allow it to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes before applying to the éclairs.
To Assemble Eclairs
- Using a bread knife, slice the top half off of each shell.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized round tip with the Pastry Cream. Pipe a thick layer of cream onto the bottom half of each éclair.
- Place the tops on the éclairs.
- Pour the Chocolate Glaze in a deep dish that is about 6” wide (i.e. slightly wider than the length of an éclair). Holding an éclair parallel to the glaze, dip the top of the éclair into the chocolate. Turn the éclair back upright, and rotate it side to side slightly to create an even surface to the glaze. (If necessary, use an offset spatula to help even out the glaze.)
- Garnish tops of éclairs with toasted coconut. Let cool at room temperature or in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving (to allow the chocolate to set).