Chocolate Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream and White Chocolate are a delicious twist on an old favourite… Tangy rhubarb-infused whipped cream, encased in crisp gluten free Choux pastry, and topped with sticky, caramel-sweet chocolate sauce. A combination of tastes and textures that reach the sublime.
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Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream and White Chocolate – A twist on an old favourite
We all love a chocolate eclair… But have you ever filled your eclairs with rhubarb cream? If not, this is a treat to add to the ‘must make’ list… A twist on the old darker chocolate eclair favourite, the alternative rhubarb cream brings a light, summery, fruity tang… And the white chocolate offers a delicious caramel sweetness.
Whether you use bright pink early, forced ‘Yorkshire rhubarb’ or long sticks of the summer garden variety, my Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream and White Chocolate are a treat which is guaranteed to excite the taste buds. And will set you on the path of flavour experimentation.
The path to Gluten Free Choux Pastry (without which there would be no Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream)
For anyone who is Coeliac (Celiac) or gluten free, the prospect of life without profiteroles and chocolate eclairs may be too much to bear… For me, mastering a good Choux Pastry recipe was an absolute priority. And therein lay a problem… Because back in 2011 when Coeliac first came to our house, there was no ready-written recipe available. And believe me, I scoured every cookbook and every corner of the internet.
10+ years on and there are now many different gluten free choux recipes available. Some clearly better than others. But at the time, we had to go it alone… Out came the 30 year old trusty recipe from school food science lessons (which had never failed me as a gluten-eater), along with a batch of gluten free flour and plenty of determination…
A few attempts and tweaks later and the deed was done. Gluten free choux pastry was in the bag and Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream on the table. I haven’t changed my recipe since! And just like its grandparent, it has never let me down… It is now one of the most popular recipes on the blog. So, I guess I’m not alone in loving it.
How difficult are Gluten Free Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream?
While eclairs (even in their wheat form) have a reputation for being tricky, I promise they are not that difficult. Sure, choux pastry improves with experience and with the opportunity to learn what each stage looks and feels like… But if it means you can make Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream, it’s got to be worth trying, right?
As long as you follow the recipe as written, and take note of any tips shared here, you’ll be fine.
And remember… This recipe is based on traditional, old school, choux paste wisdom which is decades old. It’s a simple combination of fat, water and eggs balanced with a good blend of gluten free flours… Unlike some recipes out there it doesn’t add sugar, milk or pectin to the pastry dough… Neither does it use baking powder or self-raising flour… None of that is necessary. Choux pastry is (and should be) made from simple ingredients… And most important, it should rely on steam to make it rise.
What gluten free flour is used to make gluten free choux pastry?
At GFHQ, gluten free choux pastry is made with my Gluten Free Alchemist Flour Blend A… A white ‘cake flour’ type blend. However, I know from comments on my original post for standard Gluten Free Chocolate Eclairs, that other flour blends have been tested and have worked well. So, while my advice would always be to use the flour blend on which a recipe has been developed, if what you have is a bag of ‘Doves’ Freee Plain White, go ahead and try it… Just try to avoid any blend that contains additional milk/protein powder or unusual (non-flour) ingredients.
As regards Xanthan Gum, it is a necessary ingredient in this recipe. I have not tested any alternatives. But bear in mind that if you use an alternative flour blend that already contains xanthan gum, you will not need to add as much or any more to the recipe. (Blends vary, so you may need to test a little here).
The importance of egg size when making choux pastry
Eggs are necessary to both the structure and texture of choux pastry. And it is important to size them correctly. The recipe specifically uses UK large eggs… Each egg weighs 65 to 70g (in shell) and 58-60g for the white and yolk. But bear in mind that egg size round the world is not equal. If unsure what size eggs you need, check out my International Egg Size Comparison Chart. But for best accuracy, I recommend weighing the eggs.
Either way, it should also be remembered that different flour blends may also have different absorbency levels. Ultimately, you only want to add as much egg as your paste will hold. Too little and it will be too dry. Too much and the paste will be too wet and will collapse.
Other Choux tips when making Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream
Making the Choux dough
- Weigh the ingredients for the Choux carefully – This will ensure accuracy and a more consistent bake.
- Boil the fat and water… before adding the flour. It is really important that flour for choux pastry gets cooked in the saucepan. To do this, it gets beaten into the boiling hot water-fat mixture before adding the eggs. Thus, it is essential to bring the liquid to full boil, then add and beat in the flour without further delay.
- Use a solid non-stick saucepan, whatever the size. It needs to be a pan you can trust.
- Hand or electric beating? While I always beat Choux the old-school way, by hand, it does require a bit of effort. And beating is important… It not only combines ingredients into a smooth paste, but supports the development of gas layers to help the eclairs rise.
If the prospect of great arm muscles doesn’t appeal, then feel free to use a sturdy hand mixer or stand mixer… But only as far as beating at the stage of adding the eggs, to ensure a silky-smooth paste.
- Make absolutely sure to cool the flour dough BEFORE adding the egg – If it is not cool enough, the eggs will cook and scramble and the whole lot will be heading for the bin.
Baking and cooling
- The oven must be hot! – Although there are various strands of wisdom on the internet about how to cook choux pastry, this recipe uses the wisdom passed to me from older generations… I start with the oven hot at 200 C (425 F). This ensures the moisture quickly turns to steam, rising the paste before it has had time to cook and set. Then… The oven is turned right down to 150 C (300 F) to allow the choux to dry and crisp. Logically simple.
- But… NEVER open the oven door during the first (hot stage) of baking. If the door is opened before the buns have set, the temperature will drop, the steam will escape and the choux pastry will collapse.
- Release the steam from the buns once baked… This avoids soggy buns and needs to be done as soon as the eclairs are out of the oven. Simply poke a hole or small slit in the side of each before leaving to cool.
- Let the eclairs cool completely before filling them.
Making Rhubarb Cream for eclairs…
Making Rhubarb Cream to fill your eclairs is very easy and is done in two key stages…
- Make a rhubarb compote in a saucepan using chopped rhubarb and a little sugar, then allow to cool completely.
- Whip double cream to soft peaks, before folding through rhubarb compote and piping into the eclairs.
Bear in mind that because the cream contains strands and small clumps of rhubarb, the piping will need to be done with a larger piping tip than might normally be used. I usually pipe from a central hole in the side of each eclair case, first towards one end and then towards the other. When I feel the pastry start to expand a little from the push of the cream inside, it’s full. Any more cream and it may burst!
White chocolate icing for Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream
Sweet, white chocolate pairs perfectly against the tang of the rhubarb in the cream. Equally the slight stickiness on top of crisp choux, alongside the soft, airiness of the cream is a combination of textures that reaches the sublime.
I have two different white chocolate toppings used when making Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream… One which is effectively a thick white chocolate sauce spread onto the eclair tops (shown in the photos)… Or, alternatively a decadent white chocolate ganache. Ganache is possibly smoother in appearance (providing it is used while still easily ‘drippable’). The ‘sauce’ version is slightly stickier because it includes a touch of golden syrup.
Have you made Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream and White Chocolate?
And that’s all there is to it. If you make my Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream and White Chocolate, do let me know what you think. Equally, if you experiment with alternative flavour combinations, I’d love to hear about them. Simply leave a comment below this post, rate the recipe or tag me on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter #glutenfreealchemist.
If you’re looking for a traditional recipe for Chocolate Eclairs with a dark chocolate ganache, click this link.
And for everything else, head over to our Gluten Free Recipe ‘Book’ Index… It has hundreds of recipes shared for free, with my love.
Other rhubarb treats at Gluten Free Alchemist
Eclairs with Rhubarb Cream and White Chocolate
- small bowl
- small to medium non-stick saucepan
- oven + hob
- silicone or wooden mixing spoon
- piping bag(s) (& 1 to 1.5 cm open round nozzle or scissors) – I use disposable bags
- skewer/small sharp knife
gluten free Choux Paste
- 65 g plain gluten free flour blend GFA Mix A. or Doves plain flour – SEE NOTES 1
- 1 tsp xanthan gum SEE NOTE 2 below
- 50 g unsalted butter or dairy free butter (firm) NOTE 3
- 175 ml water This is better weighed in grams for accuracy. 1 ml = 1 gram
- 2 large eggs NOTE 4 weight of each yolk + white = 58-60g
- pinch fine sea salt
Rhubarb Compote (for Rhubarb Cream)
- 140 g rhubarb (approx weight) washed and chopped into 2 cm lengths.
- 50 g caster sugar (or more if you prefer a sweeter compote)
- 2 tsp water
- 300 ml double cream SEE NOTE 5 below for dairy free filling
White Chocolate Sauce Topping
- 100 g good quality white chocolate DF if required
- 10 g unsalted butter DF if required
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 to 2 tbsp milk DF if required
Additional decoration (optional)
- grated white chocolate (optional)
- freeze dried raspberry powder (optional)
- edible glitter (optional)
- Weigh and mix the flour, xanthan gum & a pinch of salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- Weigh the butter straight into a small to medium non-stick saucepan and melt over a low heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add the water and bring to a full boil.
- Remove from the heat, IMMEDIATELY add the flour mix and beat vigorously with a wooden/silicone spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. This requires some 'elbow-grease'. The mixture will start to look a little 'scrambled', but will then clump into a ball. Keep beating until even and smooth.
- Allow the mixture and pan to cool until about hand-warm. This is important to avoid cooking the egg when you add it.
- While cooling, pre-heat the oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7. Base line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
- While the mixture is cooling, break the eggs into a small bowl and beat well with a fork.
- Once the mixture has cooled, add the beaten egg a little at a time. Beat vigorously with a firm wooden/silicone spoon between each addition. The mixture will initially look like it won't amalgamate, but persevere until it thoroughly combines. Repeat this process until all the egg has been added and then beat for a couple of minutes more to ensure the paste is smooth and even. The texture should be silky and sticky so that it sticks to the sides of the pan. It almost wants to drop off the spoon, but is struggling to do so. If it drops off easily, it is too dry and needs perhaps half a tablespoon more egg/egg white.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with either a 1 to 1.5 cm open round nozzle, or simply cut the end to about the same size.
- Pipe the mixture onto the lined baking trays leaving a gap between each for expansion. Pipe into sausage shapes about 10 cm/4 inches long for eclairs (or if you want profiteroles, small walnut-sized balls or for Choux buns, larger balls).
- Bake for 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven. Do NOT open the oven door during this stage.
- After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 150 C/300 F/Gas 2 (open the oven door for a few seconds to allow a little heat to escape) and bake for a further 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown, hollow, crisp and firm on the outside. If not crisp and firm, leave in the oven for a couple of minutes more.
- Remove from the oven and make a small hole or slit in the side, end or base of each Choux case (using a skewer or small sharp knife) to allow the steam to escape. Allow to cool COMPLETELY on the trays.
- Place the washed, cut rhubarb in a saucepan with the sugar and water.
- Over a gentle heat, gradually bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. The sugar should dissolve and water should start to release from the rhubarb.
- Continue to heat (stirring intermittently) until the rhubarb breaks down.
- Gently simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is very soft and the liquid has reduced to a sticky compote.
- Remove from the heat and cool completely, then place in the fridge to chill until ready to use.
Whipped Rhubarb Cream
- When the rhubarb is completely cold and chilled, whisk the cream until it starts to hold its shape as soft peaks. Be careful not to over-whisk or your cream will start to curdle.
- Add the rhubarb compote (you may not need all of it) and gently fold through the cream with a spoon.
- Transfer the cream into a piping bag with a 1 cm round nozzle.
- Use the hole point that you made earlier to insert the piping nozzle.
- Fill each Choux case with cream, directing the nozzle first towards each end of the bun in turn for an even fill. Set aside. (Place in the fridge if not immediately topping).
White Chocolate Sauce Topping
- Very gently melt the white chocolate with the butter in a small glass bowl. This can be done set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring frequently. Or… in the microwave set at low to medium for 10 to 20 second bursts, stirring between each. If the chocolate heats too quickly it will seize, so be patient.
- Once melted, remove from any heat and add the golden syrup to the chocolate mix. Fold through. The mixture may become a little 'clumpy', but that is fine.
- Gradually add the milk, stirring well as you go, until the mixture becomes smooth again.
- Dependent on the thickness of the sauce, either dip the filled eclairs to top-coat, or spread some sauce over the top using the back of a spoon or flat knife.
- Sprinkle with grated chocolate and/or freeze dried fruit powder/edible glitter (if using) and place in the fridge to set.
© 2019-2024 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist