Gluten Free Eclairs and Some Thoughts On Treats

My mom has been making eclairs for our family celebrations for as far back as I can remember. And before that, my grandmother was making them for my mom before she can even remember.

So when our entire family went gluten free several years ago because we all noticed such a big difference in our health, the eclairs sadly had to come to a stop.

Certainly, getting rid of so many sweet treats in our diets wasn’t all bad.  Our entire family felt better focusing on nutrient density and variety and we’ve all had a great time finding real, non-crap-filled, chemical-free food that actually came from a place we knew. (While I live in Chicago, the rest of my family lives in rural Indiana where getting real food is just a matter of finding a local farmer and going down the street to pick it up!)

But food–treats included–are, in my opinion, an important part of family life.  When specials occasions come up, it’s always been a tradition in my family to celebrate around the table.  Making food that you don’t get to enjoy on a regular basis and that is meticulously prepared for the occasion can be a really special thing…and can really bring a family together.

(Another one of these things in my family is getting Heavenly Ham covered in honey glaze for Thanksgiving.  We actually cheer.  Out loud. Yes, we really do. And standing in my warm PJs at an open fridge while sneaking slices when my mom isn’t looking is one of my favorite Thanskgiving memories. I’m a grown up now and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t care any more about me ruining my appetite…but it’s still sort of fun that way.)

So are treats bad? No, I don’t think so.  That special feeling you get from celebrating with you family or friends–whether food is involved or not–is, I believe, a really important and often overlooked aspect of our health.  It’s been shown repeatedly in studies that human connection has the ability to lower stress, improve health outcomes, and give us an overall feeling of peace in our hectic lives. Our brains are our most powerful, influential, and sensitive organs…and making them happy has far reaching consequences for how our lives go.

To take that away by sweating over some non-paleo/non-real-food sugar or tapioca flour is–again, in my opinion–an unfortunate and miguided decision.

Can you take it too far and overfill your plate repeatedly with treats in place of nourishing food? Certainly. And that is definitely a mistake that sneaks up on even the most health-minded folks from time to time.

So my point? Be thoughtful of how fuel your body…but don’t let every little treat make you miserable in the process.

For my family, the creation of these gluten free eclairs has been met with a whole lot of enthusiasm.  But knowing that I’ll be celebrating my next birthday with a platter of these bad boys while I’m surrounded by the people I love the most…now that’s something special.

Gluten Free Eclairs (and Some Thoughts on Treats)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick grass fed butter
  • 1 pinch salt (I like Redmond Real Salt)
  • 1.5 cups tapioca flour
  • 5 eggs (pastured if you can get them)
  • 1 pint grass fed heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Note: make sure you have parchment cups on hand as well.

Steps:

  1. Combine the 1 cup water, 1 stick grass fed butter, and 1 pinch salt in a medium sized pot and place over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil (make sure the butter is all melted).
  3. Turn off the heat but leave the pot on the burner.
  4. Add in the tapioca flour several tablespoons at a time and mix to combine everything.  The mixture will become really sticky and hard to mix but don’t worry, it won’t last!
  5. Take the pot off the stove.  You’re going to break an egg at a time into your newly created batter and stir really well before adding the next.  The mixture will be really thick at first so you unfortunately will have to mix by hand (don’t try a hand held electric mixture…it won’t work!). The whole thing will get easier to mix as you incorporate each egg well into it.
  6. Put parchment cups into muffin molds (you’ll need about 15-18) total. Fill each cup with about 1/2 tablespoon of batter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  They’ll get all fluffy and delicious! Then let them cool before filling with cream.
  8. While the shells are baking, start making the cream filling.  Place your grass fed heavy whipping cream into a large mixing bowl (I like my pyrex one) and beat on high with an electric hand mixer for about 4 minutes.
  9. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar at a time (you get to taste in between, hooray!) and beating for about 2 minutes in between each sugar addition until you’re happy with the sweetness and the cream has formed stiff peaks.
  10. Once the eclair shells have cooled (you might need to refrigerate your filling in the meantime), cut a large slit in one side of them and use a spoon to fill them with your homemade cream.

This makes about 15-18 eclairs. If you don’t eat them all at once (which is difficult), make sure to keep them cool because your homemade cream filling can start to get runny.

Like this recipe? Make sure to follow my Paleo/Primal Treats Board on Pinterest. And please share this recipe with your friends by using the social media links below!

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2 replies

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