You will love these sticky, sweet, easy to make pecan pie eclairs, you guys. The recipe is from my friend Barbara Schieving’s Book, Simply Sweet Dream Puffs.
Read on to get the recipe and to learn more about her book!
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Pecan Pie Eclairs: Genius!
Pecan Pie Eclairs. Yes, you read that correctly. This fantastic mash-up of a dessert combines the light, crisp pate a choux eclair shell with a sweet-savory-sticky pecan pie filling and a generous helping of whipped cream topped by pecan-dusted tops.
The glue that holds the pecans is honey. In each bite, you get crunchy, crispy, chewy, flaky and creamy. The combination of flavors combined with the textures hits just the right note for a celebratory dessert that you don’t have to share with anyone. You get one to yourself!
As much as I wish I could take credit for these pecan pie eclairs, all the credit goes to my friend Barbara Schieving in her new ecookbook, Simply Sweet Dream Puffs: Shockingly Easy Fun-Filled Treats!
The book is published by Oxmoor House and photographed by the super talented and famous Helene Dujardin of Tartelette fame and now a powerhouse food photographer and teacher in her own right. So, you know the photographs are gorgeous, and I’m here to tell you the recipes are too.
Simply Sweet Dream Puffs
Dream Puffs begins with an introduction in which Barbara shares that, for her first birthday celebration after she and her husband got married, he asked her what kind of cake she wanted, and she told him she wanted chocolate eclairs. So he made them. She was dubious, but they were perfect.
This story alone should be encouraging to you. Fair or not, there are many jokes about husbands trying to cook and bake (sorry, husbands, but it’s true), and Barbara’s husband ended up baking and filling perfect eclairs for her. They were such a success that they’ve been enjoying making all sorts of eclairs–along with their cousins cream puffs and profiteroles–ever since. And if they can do it, so can you.
If you’re still feeling a bit nervous, the first chapter of Dream Puffs is sure to help you. You’ll get a pate a choux primer complete with history and how it rises the way it does. Barbara also shares some tips for making the dough along with helpful ingredient and equipment lists.
Sections of the Book
We then get some basic choux recipes, including a graham version (hello, s’mores puffs!), chocolate choux, and a gluten-free version which I know will make my gluten-free friends really happy!
Barbara also shows you, step by step with photographs, how to make the dough and what it should look like when it’s ready to use. Very helpful, indeed.
The rest of the book is divided into four sections,
- cream puffs (small puffs filled with flavored creams and iced and/or topped in imaginative ways)
- eclairs (short strips of puffed choux filled with custards and creams and curds and jams)
- profiteroles (larger round puffs filled with ice cream and toppings)
- Party Puffs. The Party Puff chapter is a fun one because Barbara makes eclairs, cream puffs, profiteroles and even classic larger choux pastries like Paris Brest, that are suitable for parties, special occasions and holidays.
Following the last recipe chapter is a helpful troubleshooting guide as well as some templates you can print out and use to make sure your choux is uniform before baking.
All in all, it’s a great book, and if you’re like me, it will set your mind wandering to come up with even more new and unique filling and topping combinations. That, I think, is one of my favorite things about Dream Puffs. It inspires me, and if a cookbook doesn’t inspire, then I just don’t have much time for it.Seriously, they are easier to make than cupcakes! At its heart, pate a choux only contains 4 ingredients. I’d like to see a cupcake try that!
If you’re still not convinced, let me share just a few of the fun combinations of flavors and textures you’ll find in Barbara’s book:
- Peanut Butter Cup Cream Puffs
- Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cream Puffs
- Mango Lime Cream Puffs
- Quadruple Chocolate Eclairs
- Lemon Meringue Eclairs
- Tiramisu Eclairs
- Strawberries Flambe Profiteroles
- Pralines and Cream Profiteroles
- Rootbeer Float Profiteroles
- Raspberry-Lemon “Pucker Up” Puffs for Valentine’s Day
- Robin’s Egg Puffs for Easter
- Christmas Croquembouche
Oh, yeah, and for Thanksgiving, there are both Pumpkin Pie Puffs and these gorgeous Pecan Pie Eclairs.
Why Make These Pecan Pie Eclairs?
If you are a fan of pecan pie but are maybe getting a bit tired of serving the same one every year, or maybe you want to offer an alternative pecan recipe that will have everyone talking, it doesn’t get much better than these pecan pie eclairs.
They come together quickly, and you can make the shells a few days before and freeze them if you want.
The filling takes about 10 minutes to make, so you can put them together well before the festivities start and let them hang out in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Nice!
Full credit for this recipe goes to my friend, Barbara Schieving of Barbara Bakes and Pressure Cooking Today. She’s the one who actually shamed me–shamed me!–into buying my pressure cooker. I told her if she’d make flan in hers, then I’d buy one. So she did and called me out in her post.
What was I to do but cave in and buy one? And I love it! So thanks, Barbara, for pushing me out of my comfort zone and into the world of pressure cooking.
And thanks for this wonderful cookbook you’ve written. I know everyone who gets a copy will have a lot of fun recreating her easy to make but very impressive to serve flavor combinations. And, like me, I bet you’ll be inspired to come up with your own spins on cream puffs, eclairs and profiteroles!
Here’s how to make these eclairs, y’all. Recipe from Simply Sweet Dream Puffs: Shockingly Easy Fun-Filled Treats! by Barbara Schieving, Oxmoor House, 2015. Reprinted with author’s permission.
Let me tell you, friends, these pecan pie eclairs were absolutely delicious. They’re lighter than a slice of pecan pie, full of wonderful Thanksgiving dessert flavor and you don’t have to share with anyone. Hooray!
- 1 recipe Basic Pate a Choux, (see note)
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
To Finish and Serve
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- Perfectly Whipped Cream, (I'll share my variation)
- Make and bake the eclair shells (see note).
- Turn oven on 350F. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, and egg yolks over medium heat until thickened. Stir constantly. I used my instant read thermometer and stopped cooking when the mixture reached 165F. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. Set aside to cool completely but don't refrigerate it or it will get really thick and sticky.
- Microwave the honey for 10 seconds on high power to thin it out. Brush the tops of the eclairs with the thinned honey and then sprinkle on the finely chopped toasted pecans. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for ten minutes to set the honey. Let cool completely.
- Slice the eclair shells in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Fill the bottoms with the pecan pie mixture, pipe or spoon on some whipped cream and top with the pecan-crusted top halves. Refrigerate until serving time. The filling will get really thick so you don't need to be concerned about it being messy and dripping on the plate.
To Make the Simple Pate a Choux, combine 1 cup of water, 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (3 oz) cut into small pieces, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. When the mixture is boiling, dump in 3/4 cup all purpose or bread flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture looks like a clump of mashed potatoes. Cook over medium heat, stirring vigorously and constantly for a minute or two to dry out the dough just a bit. Transfer the dough to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachments. Beat for a minute to knock the heat back a bit, and then add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating until completely combined between additions. The mixture should be shiny and silky and slowly flow off the end of the paddle. Place the finished choux in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe into twelve 1 1/2" x 4" logs on parchment-lined sheets. (Six per sheet--you want to leave a bit of room between them). Before baking, you can beat another egg with a teaspoon of water and brush the choux with the egg wash. Bake at 425F for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 375F and continue baking for 30 more minutes. Turn off oven and let shells dry for an additional ten minutes. Remove from oven to cool completely.
I made Maple Whipped Cream for my guys. 1 1/2 cups very cold heavy whipping cream, 3-4 Tablespoons maple syrup (to taste) and a pinch of salt. Then I just whisked slowly at first and then faster until I had stiff peaks. Use a piping bag to pipe the whipped cream on top of the pecan pie mixture all decoratively, or just spoon it on.
Thank you all so much for reading and spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.