Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In honor of Mardi Gras (which is tomorrow!), we’re bringing you a variation of the traditional King Cake -- King Cake Eclairs! Typically, King Cake is a large, circular pastry loaf filled with cinnamon, praline, custard, or fruit and topped with sugar representing the classic green, yellow, and purple Mardi Gras colors. A New Orleans custom derived from Western European roots, King Cake is eaten the night before the start of Lent, as a part of the celebration before forty days of fasting leading up to Easter.

Today’s rendition comes from Josie, of Daydreamer Desserts, a talented pastry chef who created these festive eclairs filled with a cream cheese mousse and topped with glaze and traditional sprinkles. Read on to celebrate Mardi Gras with her innovative recipe!

Yields 16-20 éclairs
Pate a choux:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk                                                         
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)                 
1 tablespoon granulated sugar                              
1/2 teaspoon salt                                                  
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, room temperature

Cream Cheese Mousse Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated

1 cup confectioners sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a non-stick pan bring to a boil water, butter, salt, and sugar. When it boils remove pan from heat, add four and stir until it has completely been incorporated.

3. Return pan to stove. Place over low heat and stir consistently until dough comes together, about 2-3 minutes.

4. Transfer dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

5. Add eggs one at a time and scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat until the egg has been completely incorporated before adding the next.

6. Mix until the dough is glossy and smooth.

7. Transfer dough to a large piping bag fitted with an 807 Ateco tip. Pipe logs about 5-6 inches in length.

8. Bake for about 25 minutes, rotate pans half-way through. Turn oven off, open door and leave slightly ajar, leave pans in oven for another 30 minutes. Before pulling them out of the oven make sure to test them with a wooden skewer inserted in the center, it should come out clean. If they are removed too soon the shells will collapse. Remove pans from oven and finish cooling eclairs over a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Filling:
1. In a bowl combine cream cheese, heavy cream, granulated sugar, vanilla paste and nutmeg. Beat on medium-low speed until light and fluffy.

1. In a small bowl whisk together confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla extact and lemon juice.

1. Once the eclairs have cooled completely, sliced them in half horizontally with a serrated knife.

2. Place cream cheese mouse in a piping bag, cut off a tip about 1/2" and pipe into the bottom half of each of the eclairs.
3. Place tops back on then with the help of an off-set spatula or spoon cover the tops of the eclairs with a light layer of glaze.
4. Finally as soon as the glaze is applied to each, sprinkle (alternating) green, yellow, and purple sanding sugar otherwise it won't stick.
*To help you transfer the choux batter into the piping bag, twist the tip of the piping bag to seal the base then place it inside a large glass.

*If you don't have a steady hand I would recommend creating an eclair template out of parchment paper. Draw (8-10) 5-6" lines and space them about 5" apart.

*Go easy on the sanding sugar. I went heavy handed simply for looks and because my family doesn't mind an overly sweet eclair.


These eclairs are so delicious, we may just have to adapt the recipe to fit other holidays as well! Do you have any Mardi Gras traditions?


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