4.08.2010

Recipe Box: Brunch! Strawberry eclairs and secrets behind poached eggs.

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Gluten-free strawberry eclairs.

I've been cooking the heck out of the recent issue of Martha Stewart Living. So far, no whammies, just deliciousness.

I decided to modify MSL's recipe for mini strawberry eclairs and make them ::gasp:: gluten free. Don't worry friends, gluten is still my right hand man when it comes to baked treats. The truth is, I ran out of flour and just happened to have a box of quinoa flour on hand. I thought, aw what the hay. When sugar, butter and eggs is involved, what's the worst that can happen? Plus, quinoa is a protein-rich super food. It's high in the amino acid lysine, which keeps skin healthy and vibrant. Just what the doctor ordered, right?

I was a little worried that the earthy flavor of the quinoa would make for a peculiar choux dough, but you know what? It was delicious! The little pastries turned out to be perfectly light and delicate, almost like a madeleine. No weird after-taste or earthiness detected.

Gluten Free Mini Strawberry Eclairs

Adapted from the eclair recipe found in Martha Stewart Living's April Issue.

Makes 10

Whipped Almond Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract

Combine ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixture. Mix on medium high until still peaks form. Refrigerate until you're ready to assemble.

Macerated strawberries:
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tbsp shredded fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix well. Refrigerate for one hour.

Pastry:
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup quinoa flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Bring milk, water, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, and stir in flour. (The mixture will morph into little pearl-sized clumps - don't worry, that's normal.) Transfer to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With machine running, add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip.
  2. Pipe twenty 2 1/2-inch-long eclairs onto each sheet. Bake until eclairs are light and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
  3. On one eclair pastry, spread whipped cream and top with a layer of sliced macerated berries. Spread another eclair with cream and make a little sandwich, like pictured. Dust with confectioners' sugar.
  4. Bake the mini eclairs the day you plan on serving them.

I also attempted my very first poached egg. I'm so proud. It took me a few tries, but the end result was totally worth all the trouble.

homemade <span class=
Poached egg on whole wheat English muffin, Dijon mustard and prosciutto.

In the process, I discovered a few secrets:
  • First, you may want to set up an egg poaching station. Fill a large, wide saucepan with 4 inches of water and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a pie dish with ice water and set it to the side, preferably next to your stove. You'll also need a slotted spoon and a small glass or heatproof bowl.
  • Reduce heat so that your water simmers ever so gently.
  • One at a time, gently crack an egg into your small glass bowl, careful not to break the yolk. Hold the bowl close to the water, and gently tip the bowl into the pan. You want the eggs to slip gently into the simmering water, like how one might ease into a steamy hot tub. Repeat with the other three eggs.
  • When the eggs become opaque, lift them out with a slotted spoon and place them in the pie plate. The ice water stops the cooking so you preserve that tasty runny yolk.
  • When you're ready to serve, lift them out of the water with the slotted spoon, lightly bouncing the spoon to remove any excess water. If your eggs have any ghostly skirts of egg white hanging off, you can trim them off if you're extra particular.
We ate ours on homemade whole wheat English muffins, spread with a little Dijon mustard and a slice of prosciutto. So good.

8 comments:

  1. I love it... One of my best friends has celiac and with the strawberry season coming soon I will definately make this for her... Looks great.. Thank You !!!
    http://polwig.com

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  2. LOVE eggs benedict.

    Sur la Table sells cute rubber cups to poach eggs in. Saved my life once or twice (ie - the first time I made brunch for (the now) ex-in-laws.)

    xo
    Shaboom
    The French Skinny Experiment
    frenchskinny.blogspot.com

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  3. Polwig: It's pretty tasty. I think she'll be stoked.

    Shaboom: Those cups sound intriguing! This is not helping my kitchen gadgetry obsession. Ha.

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  4. I'm a celiac! The eclairs look lovely! Very tasty looking...

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  5. Another awesome trick for poached eggs- about a tablespoon of vinegar in the water helps the whites coagulate!

    Yum yum yum! Breakfast is the best!

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  6. Afton: Yesss! I'm so glad I posted a GF recipe. :)

    Teagan: Cool, I had no idea! I'll try that next time. I have so many tricks now.

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  7. Gluten-free? You have angered the Gluten-Gods! Prepare for their wrath!

    I like quinoa. We make sometimes. I don't think we've tried the straight up flour, but quinoa pasta is awesome.

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  8. Quinoa pasta IS awesome.

    I hope the Gluten Gods don't punish me. I just started to get good at baking those light and airy, hard-shelled crusty breads, darn it.

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