I had intended to make this post about rhubarb curd. In fact, I had intended to bring you several posts this spring biased on rhubarb. It’s one of the only edible plants I can actually get to grow in my yard. This fact used to be so disdainful to me. When we rented places, I would loathe not having a garden of my own. I’d grow pots of tomatoes three floors up on decks that were totally unsuitable for growing tomatoes. Somehow I always choose to live around outdoor spaces that are completely covered in shade. Even now in this little house that I love the yard is filled with towering black walnuts that make the ground far too acidic and shady for growing most flowers, plants, and vegetables.
I’m not complaining, actually, I wouldn’t trade this house or this yard for any other to get us through this point in our life. But I have been doing what I can to find plants that would hopefully be accepting and adaptable to growing in a mostly shady environment with wet, acidic, soil. My grandpa thought rhubarb. If we could give it enough sun. I can tell you not. I was very hopeful. We planted several transplants from his garden into the spot we thought would be the best and let it establish for the last two summers. My heart was so hopeful. It did grow! There is a nice thick patch of good-sized stalks that replenish themselves faithfully when I pluck several out to be used. I tried picking it when it was dry. Tried picking it right after a rain. In the morning? In the evening. Early spring. Late spring. Larger stalks. Brand new stalks. Rhubarb muffins, pie, coffee cake, crumble, curd and even icing all had one thing decidedly in common. No rhubarb flavor.
I’m not really upset. I just think nature is trying to tell me that I’m really good at foraging and farmers markets and I’ll have an excuse to go visit grandpa more often in the spring. As Jack Sparrow once said, “there’s what a man can do and what a man can’t do.” And a man (or woman or child) can enjoy these amazingly light eclairs without rhubarb curd. Of course, you could always just use some trusty old lemon curd, but eclairs are surprisingly darn good with just whipped cream.
And yes. I did just quote a fictional pirate.
Easy Summer Eclairs With Whipped Cream
My dad told me once that he thought eclair paste had to be so thick that you needed to mix it by hand, scoop and shape it with a spoon. Not so. Eclair paste should be smooth and elastic, thick enough to hold its shape and thin enough to pipe from a piping bag fitted with a #808 or 5/8ths piping tip.
Most of my recipes will be measured by weight. I do this because it is an accurate way to keep recipes and results consistent. For this recipe, you will also want a kitchen thermometer and parchment paper. I say this recipe is easy because although it looks like a lot, steps 1-6 should only take about 10 minutes to complete.
makes about 35 4″ eclairs.
1 tsp. Salt
12oz Bread flour
- Combine milk, butter, and salt in a saucepan and heat to a full, rolling boil.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir quickly.
- Return the pan back to the stove over med-low heat and stir until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of your pan.
- Transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix at low speed, you want the dough to cool to about 140f before adding the eggs.
- Mix in the eggs one or two at a time until they are fully incorporated then add the next one or two eggs until all the eggs have been fully incorporated.
- Using a rubber spatula scoop the eclair paste into your prepared piping bag using a #808 or 5/8 piping tip and pipe 3-inch fingers of eclair paste onto parchment lined baking sheets.
- Bake at 425f for 10 minutes to develop that beautiful pocket of steam that makes the eclairs hollow. Turn the oven temperature down to 375f and bake for another 15 minutes. At this point, if at all possible, I highly recommend turning off the oven and allowing the eclairs to cool and dry in the oven with the door slightly ajar. Just like you would a pavlova. If this is not possible you need to let the eclairs bake until they are firm and dry. Allow Eclairs to cool completely before cutting and filling.
1 1/2 c. Confectioner’s sugar
1-2 Tbs. Heavy cream
1/8 tsp. Almond extract
3-4 drops food coloring of your choice (optional)
- In a small bowl mix the confectioner’s sugar, almond extract, and food coloring with enough of the heavy cream to make a smooth paste.
8-160z.* Heavy whipping cream
- Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and beat with a whisk or whisk attachment until the cream is light fluffy and can hold stiff peaks. Do not over whip.
* The amount you need will depend largely on how many eclairs you want to fill and how much whipped cream you fill them with. If you make extra whipped cream it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and used on things like your morning coffee or pancakes. yum.
- Cut cool eclairs down the center lengthwise.
- Dip the tops into the icing. Set aside.
- Using a piping bag with a #826 star tip pipe the whipped cream into the bottom of the eclair shells.
- Top the eclairs and sprinkle on any sprinkles or decorations you desire! Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve, but not overnight.
Extra eclairs may be frozen and stored for a month or two. If you want some tips on piping eclairs and getting them all to be the perfect size head on over to my Instagram and take a look at my stories. Have you ever made paper straws? Would you be interested in learning how?