Maple Syrup Eclairs are a revalation. These beautiful light choux pastries are filled with maple infused pastry cream, dipped in maple glaze and topped with candied pecans for the ultimate maple flavour in every bite.
Ever since I was a child visiting my grandmother in the South East of France, my favourite treat to eat in France is an eclair. Those beautifully formed long pate a choux filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache are a thing of beauty. A pastry that I have always want to master.
So when I was set the task of creating a pastry for Maple From Canade UK using maple syrup I knew that this was the time to conquer a baking fear. Not so much a fear, I had just put these pastries on such a pedastool that I was afraid to tackle them.
But I shouldn’t have been worried. When you break down the various elements they aren’t a pastry to be feared at all. I’ve made pastry cream many times over so it was just the choux dough that I had to master and after a couple of tests I did it!
I can now bring you a fail safe recipe that works. I’ve tried it many times now. I think it's well worth checking out this post from Dini at the Flavour Bender who gives an array of trouble shooting tips and great advice in perfecting these pastries.
The Maple Pastry Cream
The first step is to make your pastry. This needs cooling time in the fridge so it's worth making before your choux pastry. I make it the day before so it cuts down on the time in the kitchen on the day you make your eclairs.
This pastry cream is infused with maple syrup and this imparts the most beautiful sweet yet rich note to the cream. I push the pastry cream through a sieve to ensure that it’s one hundred percent smooth. Once you’ve done this step then add the syrup and vanilla bean paste and stir thoroughly.
Make sure to cover the pastry cream with cling film layer right on the cream. Make sure the whole surface is touching the cling film. This stops any crust forming as the cream cools. (Nobody likes a thin crusty layer, that’s for certain!) Once at room temp then refrigerate until needed.
Note: Sure it's possible to use whipped cream to fill eclairs with. Yes they taste good but I’m telling you this now- they taste nowhere near as good as filling them with pastry cream. This is the proper french way, so I urge you to go this extra step. They make all the difference.
The Choux Pastry
I tested this choux pastry four times before I was truly happy with it. Now I have this recipe and method, I feel I can tackle it over and over again and it feels great!
Here’s how you make it:
- Bring the butter, sugar, salt and water to the boil over a medium heat. Ensure the sugar has dissolved and the butter fully melted. Once this happens take the saucepan off the heat.
- Add the flour into the saucepan and stir until fully combined and the mixture forms a ball. Place the saucepan back onto the stove to essentially cook out the flour from the dough. Keep stirring the dough all around the saucepan over the heat for about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and spoon the dough into a bowl and allow set aside for approx ten minutes. You want the dough to cool down so it's warm to touch and the steam has gone.
- Then mix in the eggs slowly, mixing until thoroughly combined. You’ll be left with a lovely shiny paste. You can then spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle or a french star tip.
- You then need to pipe lengths of dough on a lined baking tray. I found 11cm long was a good eclair length. Make sure to leave a couple of cm between the lengths. Dip your finger in water and smooth out the pointy ends. Lastly brush with egg wash and they are ready to bake for 25 mins.
- Once they are golden brown, remove them from the oven and poke a small hole in the bottom so that the steam is released and they cool and crispen.
Maple Syrup Eclairs toppings
I wanted to infuse more maple taste than only in the pastry cream. So I add some into the glaze but also the candied pecans too. In my book you can never have enough maple. And if you’re going to tackle a flavour then tackle it head on and really inject it into the recipe!
The maple glaze
This is a usual combination of icing sugar, a splash of milk and a little butter for shine. The maple syrup adds a fullness to the icing flavour, especially if you use a dark robust maple syrup.
The candied pecans
If you’ve never made candied pecans then I swear you have to give them a go. They are so delicious. To the point where you have to physically stop yourself eating them off the baking tray once candied and consciously leave them for the eclairs. To combat this I recommend making a double batch!
They are dead easy to make. Mix the pecan halves, vanilla extract and maple syrup all together until the nuts are coated and then lay them out on a lined baking tray. Bake for 7 mins or so and then give them a quick toss before baking for another 5 mins. By now they’ll be hot and sticky and smell incredible! Remove from the oven and sprinkle with flaked salt and then leave to cool before chopping (or eating!). The beauty is that you can candy any type of nuts. The sweet salty nuttiness is incredible on top of these eclairs.
Maple From Canade UK also sent me maple syrup flakes which I also used. Here in the UK they aren’t available but if you have access to them (States and Canada), then definitely use these too.
For more baking inspiration, you can check out these recipes.
Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bread. Recipe found here.
Browned Butter Espresso Madeleines. Recipe found here.
Pecan Maple Shortbread. Recipe found here.
Maple Syrup Eclairs
Maple pastry cream
- 360 ml whole milk
- 80 g caster sugar, split
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 30 g cornflour (corn starch)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla bean extract
- 45 ml pure Canadian maple syrup
- 40 g unsalted butter , chopped
- 240 ml water
- 120 g unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 140 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 small egg, beaten, for egg wash
Candied maple pecans
- 100 g pecan halves
- 30 ml dark pure Canadian maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp flaked sea salt
- 160 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 4 tbsp pure Canadian maple syrup
- 30 ml whole milk
- 30 g unsalted butter, melted
Maple pastry cream
- Add the milk and half the sugar into a medium saucepan. Over medium-high heat bring the milk to a simmer, almost to a boil.
- Whilst the milk is heating up, in a medium bowl placed on a tea towel (to prevent it from slipping), add the rest of the sugar, salt, cornflour and yolks and whisk until combined.
- Once the milk starts to bubble, remove the pan from the heat. Whilst continuously whisking the egg mix, slowly pour a quarter of the milk in a thin steady stream into the egg mixture to temper it. When it has been tempered, pour the egg mix back into the milk saucepan.
- Place the saucepan back onto medium heat and heat the custard base whilst whisking constantly until it starts to thicken. Once bubbles appear turn the heat down to low and keep whisking for a further 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract, maple syrup and butter and whisk until melted.
- Remove from the heat and push the custard base through a sieve over a medium bowl. Immediately cover the custard's surface with plastic wrap and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then let it chill in the fridge until required.
- Heat your oven to 210°C/410°F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, add the water, butter, salt and sugar and bring to the boil over medium heat melting the butter.
- Remove the pan from the heat and tip the flour into the saucepan. Stir until completely combined and the mixture forms a ball. Place back onto the heat and cook out the flour for 3 minutes to dry out the dough. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl to cool for 10 minutes or until the dough has stopped steaming but is still warm. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. The mixture will make a smooth and shiny paste.
- Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle and pipe 11cm long lengths on baking paper, leaving a couple of cm gaps between each length. Dip your finger in water and smooth the ends of the length so that it doesn’t have a point. Gently brush the choux dough with egg wash.
- Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven, poke a hole in the bottom of each choux to allow the steam to escape and cool for at least an hour.
Candied maple pecans
- Whilst the choux pastry is cooling, mix the pecans, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a small bowl until the nuts are fully coated. Lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in a 180°C (350°F) oven for 7 minutes. Remove and toss the pecans on the paper and then continue baking for five more minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the sea salt, toss to coat, and cool completely before chopping with a knife.
- In a medium bowl, sift the icing sugar then add the maple syrup, milk and butter and whisk until fully combined. If the glaze is too thick add more milk, one teaspoon at a time. Or if too thin add ¼ cup powdered icing sugar until desired consistency is reached.
- Scoop the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a long eclair piping nozzle, create a slit at the end of each choux pastry. Squeeze pastry cream into the pastry until it feels full and heavy. Then dip the top into the glaze and finally sprinkle with maple flakes or chopped candied pecans. Allow icing to set for ten minutes. Serve immediately.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
This isn’t a sponsored blog post. I created this recipe for Maple Canada UK and they in turn sponsored an instagram post and stories on @emmaduckworthbakes featuring my images and this recipe. I loved this recipe so much that I desperately wanted to share it with you here on my website. I adore eclairs and I want to share with you this different take on them using maple syrup as the highlighted flavour here.