The ultimate tea time treat! These candied maple praline eclairs are a delicate pastry filled with silky smooth pecan pastry cream and topped with a maple glaze. Easier to make than you might think and guaranteed to be an impressive and elegant dessert bite.
Tell me about this recipe
- Candied pecan paste - a nut butter made with homemade candied maple pecans, packing loads of flavour into these eclairs!
- Homemade pastry - choux is an easier pastry to make than you might think! Give this recipe a try to make your own crisp choux.
- Creamy praline filling - this creme patissiere is packed full of flavour
- Quick maple glaze - after the work you've put in to these delicate treats, the glaze is super quick and simple! Just four ingredients whisked up and spread on top for a classy finish.
- Elegant tea time treat - these dainty eclairs are a lot easier to make than you might think and are sure to impress! The perfect accompaniment to a tea party or other gathering.
How to make Maple Pecan Praline Paste
To make this homemade maple pecan praline paste, you'll need to first candy your nuts and then blitz these in a food processor to make a nut butter.
Start by mixing all of the ingredients for the paste in a large shallow pan, ensuring that the pecans are well coated in the maple syrup and spice. Over a medium-high heat, bring the syrup to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue simmering the mixture, stirring occasionally until the syrup thickens and begins to crystallise on the nuts.
Tip the nuts out onto a piece of parchment paper and spread them out to allow them to set and cool. Once these have reached room temperature, set a handful aside for decorating the éclairs later. Place the rest into a food processor to blitz into a paste.
Tips for the Paste
- If you have never made a nut butter/paste before, this does take longer than you might think. For the pecan paste, it took me roughly 20 minutes on high with a few pauses to scrape down the inside of the food processor.
- You are looking for the nuts to break down and start to become smooth. Essentially, you're looking for a consistency similar to peanut butter (maybe a bit more stiff, but not overly grainy).
- You will end up with considerably more maple pecan paste then you will need in this recipe. With the excess, there are infinite options! For example, I've used this in various bakes, including these tart shells and my praline poundcake.
Ingredient Notes for the Praline Crème Pâtissière
The creme patissiere in an eclair is key to the flavour of the whole pastry. For this maple praline pastry cream, you'll need:
- Milk - full fat or whole milk. The fat content here is important to a thick and creamy pastry cream.
- Vanilla bean paste - vanilla compliments the flavours in your cream and praline paste. I like to use vanilla bean paste in my creme patissiere, but you can also use vanilla extract here.
- Egg - you'll need a combination of egg yolks and a whole egg to achieve the creamy custard texture. These are best at room temperature for adding to the cream.
- Sugar - either superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar work in this recipe.
- Cornstarch - this helps to thicken the pastry cream to the custard style consistency.
- Candied pecan paste - you can make your own following the recipe included here or you can opt for a store bought pecan nut butter. Different nut butters may have different consistencies, so add slowly and taste as you go.
How to Make the Praline Pastry Cream
Creme patissiere is extremely easy to make and very versatile. This recipe follows the same basic steps as my plain Vanilla Pastry Cream and Chocolate Pastry Cream.
- First, place your milk and vanilla into a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat to bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to avoid burning on the bottom.
- Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl (ideally something you can easily pour from), whisk together the egg, yolks, sugar and cornflour until this is smooth.
- Once the milk has boiled, slowly pour this into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Then immediately pour the whole mix back into your saucepan, replace over the medium-high heat and continue whisking constantly until thickened.
- Add 1 tablespoon of your candied pecan paste (or more or less if you'd like!) - whisk until combined and then pour into a clean bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap, sealing directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin forming. Place this in the refrigerator to chill for a couple of hours (this can also be made a couple of days in advance as well).
Ingredient Notes for the Choux
To make the choux pastry, you'll need:
- Butter - unsalted butter. This does not need to be softened at room temperature as you'll be cooking it with the flour to form the base of your dough. You can use salted butter in this recipe, but it will add overall salt to the pastries. If doing so, you may wish to reduce the additional salt to just a pinch.
- Sugar - either superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar will work in this recipe.
- Flour - I recommend a combination of all purpose flour and bread flour for this recipe. The bread flour will help to strengthen the dough.
- Water - just drinking water. This doesn't need to be especially hot or cold as it will be cooked in the saucepan with your base dough.
- Eggs - large eggs, ideally at room temperature. You'll not necessarily need all of the eggs as a successful choux is judged on batter consistency. Many things can impact this, including temperature and humidity in your kitchen. You'll want to add the final egg slowly and follow the tips in the recipe.
How to Make Choux
Choux is one of the most incredible and yet simple pastries to make! I used to assume that you had to be a proper pastry chef, with all sorts of fancy gadgets before attempting them. In fact the only tools you will need are a saucepan, bowl and wooden spoon. I'm still amazed every time that beating some butter, flour and eggs in a certain way can yield the delicate little shells that make such an excellent vehicle for custard and cream.
The steps for this pastry are:
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C/165C Fan (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
- Place your butter, sugar, salt and water in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and the mixture boils.
- Add your flours to the pan, keeping this over the heat, and beat quickly and fiercely with a wooden spoon. .
- Then, tip the mixture into a clean bowl and continue beating until this cools down enough to stop steaming.
- Add your eggs one at a time to the mix, beating to fully incorporate after each addition. You may only need two eggs, if these are larger. You are looking for a dropping consistency, when the batter is still fairly stiff, but smooth (as pictured below).
- When you've reached the consistency, fill a piping bag, fitted with a nozzle about .5" (1.5cm) wide with your batter and you are ready for piping and baking your éclairs!
- Once you have piped these onto your prepared baking mat, brush each with some beaten egg as a glaze.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes, until risen and turning golden. When they reach this point, turn off your oven and leave them in for an additional 30 minutes.
Assembling the Eclairs
When these have cooled and your cream has chilled, you can start assembly.
- Start by cutting small holes with a sharp knife into the underside of your pastry cases. Its recommended to cut one near each end.
- When taking the crème pâtissière out of the fridge, revive this a bit by beating lightly until smooth. This will make it more easily pipe-able. Fit a piping bag with a slightly smaller nozzle then you used for piping the pastries (I used a 1cm). Use the holes that you have cut into the base of your pastry cases to fill the hollow insides.
Maple Glaze and Decoration
To finish off these maple pecan eclairs, you'll want to add a glaze. This is a nice opportunity for an elegant decorative finish and also a little touch extra flavor.
For my quick maple glaze, you'll want:
- Powdered sugar - generally this doesn't have to be sifted, unless your sugar is particularly lumpy.
- Vanilla extract
- Maple syrup - or you can also use maple extract. Be aware that maple extract is a stronger flavour than maple syrup and will pack an extra strong maple punch for the glaze.
- Milk - I like to use full fat or whole milk for this frosting, but you can use 2% or semi-skimmed as well. The milk here is mostly a tool for adjusting consistency. You can make a thicker frosting by adding less milk or a thinner/runnier frosting with more. Add the milk slowly to allow yourself room to adjust.
Whisk together all of your ingredients in a bowl. Then either dip the éclairs (holding the bottoms and carefully dunking the tops into the icing) or use a spatula to coat the tops.
Use the reserved candied pecans from making your paste to decorate. You're now ready to enjoy your Candied Maple Pecan Praline Eclairs
- You can get silicone mats with pre-printed guidelines for piping out your pastries to make your choux piping even easier. These may be worth investing in if you get hooked on éclairs! I use this set. Otherwise, draw guidelines on the underside of the parchment to help you to pipe consistent lines when the time comes. I used a pre-printed template with the guidelines about 3.5" (8cm) long, spaced about 1.5" (3cm) apart.
- When mixing your dough ingredients in the sauce, they will combine quickly, but you should carry on beating and cooking the mixture over the heat for a couple of minutes. This additional time will cook off the flour and improve the likelihood of your finished pastry shells drying out properly.
- You will notice a film of dough develop on the base of your saucepan - this is normal.
- When you begin adding the eggs to your flour mixture, it will look like it is separating and not coming together. Keep beating with your wooden spoon and it will begin to combine into a dough.
- Allowing the pastry shells to stay in the oven while it cools down is an important step to helping them dry out thoroughly. This is key to a crispier choux with more space for filling!
- Using two holes in the base of the eclairs (one near either end) will help you fill these pastries more evenly with your cream.
These eclairs are best fresh assembled. The constituent parts will keep well, but once put together, the cream filling will mean the eclairs must be stored in the refrigerator, which will lead to the pastry cases going stale quickly. That said, I've certainly happily eaten leftovers for about 2-3 days, stored in the refrigerator.
You can get a head start on these eclairs by making the elements separately.
The choux pastries can be baked as directed and frozen (once cooled) for up to three months. And the creme patissiere can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3 days once made.
This means you could make the parts in advance, even if I do not recommend assembling the eclairs until the day you'll be serving.
If you like these eclairs, you might also like:
Candied Maple Praline Éclairs
- 2 piping bags
- Food processor
- Parchment paper and baking sheets
Ingredients for Candied Maple Pecan Paste
- 2 cups pecan halves
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
Ingredients for Crème Pâtissière
- 1 cup full fat milk or whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 2½ tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon pecan paste
Ingredients for Choux Pastry
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- ⅓ cup strong bread flour
- ½ cup water
- 3 large eggs + 1 egg for glazing before baking
Additional Ingredients for Decoration
- 1 cup powdered sugar or icing sugar (sifted to remove lumps)
- 1 tablespoon full fat milk or whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or maple extract
Instructions for Candied Maple Pecan Paste (see note)
- Start by putting all ingredients into a large, shallow pan over medium-high heat. Stir these together so that the syrup coats the pecans and the spices dissolve.
- Bring the syrup to a boil, then reduce and continue simmering over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes while the syrup thickens and eventually begins to crystallise on the nuts. Once these become sticky and start crystallising, remove from heat and spread on a piece of parchment to cool completely.
- Set aside a handful of candied pecan halves for decoration, add the rest to a food processor and begin blitzing until they form a paste. This can take around 20 minutes and will require stopping the food processor occasionally to scrape down the sides and continue. Once you have a paste, set aside.
Instructions for Crème Pâtissière
- Start with your milk and vanilla bean paste in a medium sized saucepan, Bring this to a boil over a medium-high heat, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, in a separate heat proof bowl, whisk together egg, yolks, sugar and cornflour.
- Once your milk has boiled, pour this slowly into the egg mixture tempering your eggs. Once whisked together, pour this back into the pan over medium heat and whisk until thickened (about 5 minutes).
- Take off the heat and add 1 tablespoon of your pecan paste. Pour this into a separate bowl and cover with plastic wrap (the wrap should be placed directly on the surface of the custard to help prevent a skin forming). Refrigerate for about 2 hours before using (and up to three days).
Instructions for Choux Pastry
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F (180C/165C Fan) and line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat. For consistency in your finished product, you can pre-draw guiding lines onto the underside of the parchment for your eclairs - mine were about 3.5" (8cm) long, spaced 1.5" (3cm) apart.
- Begin by placing the butter, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan. Add the water to the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, tip in your flours and quickly beat with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Continue mixing over the heat for a couple of minutes to help cook the flour out, then tip the mixture into a medium bowl and continue beating until it finishes steaming.
- Once the dough has stopped steaming, you should add your eggs one at a time, mixing with the wooden spoon until incorporated after each addition. You may not need all three eggs, but you are looking for a smooth, dropping consistency of batter. Once this has been reached, put your batter into a piping bag, fitted with a nozzle about .5" (1.5cm) wide.
- Pipe out steadily in lines on your parchment paper. Brush with some beaten egg to help develop a golden colour and place in the oven to bake. Once risen and lightly golden (about 30 minutes), turn off the oven and leave inside for another 30 minutes to help dry out. Then remove and leave to cool on a baking rack.
Instructions for Assembly
- Now that all of your elements are ready, you are set to assemble the éclairs. Begin by using a sharp knife to cut two holes in the bottom of each éclair near either end. These will help you to fill the pastries more evenly.
- Next, revive your crème pâtissière - beating this for a couple of minutes to loosen it and then prepare a piping bag with a slightly smaller nozzle than the one you used for piping the choux (I used a 1cm).
- Take each éclair and pipe some of the crème pâtissière into each of the two holes in the bottom - aiming to fill the hollow within the pastry.
- Once filled, mix sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, maple syrup (or extract) and milk in a bowl until you have an icing glaze. You may need slightly more or less milk dependent on the your desired consistency. Either dip the éclairs (holding the bottoms and carefully dunking the tops into the icing) or use an offset spatula to coat the tops. Using the preserved candied pecans from making your paste, decorate.
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