This pumpkin eclairs recipe with step-by-step photos use carrot juice and pumpkin spice in the dough and beer in the chocolate filling & glaze! (Jump directly to the recipe.)
Not that I pay much attention to sports in general (football utterly baffles me) but when your original hometown (St. Louis) and your adopted hometown (San Francisco) battle it out in a major league baseball series, it’s hard not to get stressed. Growing up in St. Louis I have been a longtime fan of the Cardinals but having lived in San Francisco for the past 15+ years, this is my home and with it comes all the good (excellent food) and bad (the annoying tech folks). This includes the SF Giants baseball team, and let’s face it, as much as St. Louis holds a place in my heart, I want to be where the party is. So when the Giants won the pennant, I decided it was time to celebrate by making an orange and black dessert. The result, my Pumpkin Spice Eclairs with Chocolate Beer Pastry Cream and Ganache do double duty for Halloween as well.
Of course, because baseball is involved, I felt like beer needed to be involved as well. What’s a baseball game without a cold one? Not that I’m much of a beer drinker, as I prefer my beer in the form of beer bread, but the subtle bitterness of the beer really works well with the chocolate, so much so that I couldn’t help spoon a little bit into my mouth everytime I spooned a little bit into the éclair. Totally worth the calories.
Now even though I call these pumpkin éclairs, I actually don’t use any pumpkin in the recipe since the pumpkin puree is pretty starchy and would make the dough a bit heavy. Instead I use carrot juice for flavor and earthy sweetness. Once you add the pumpkin spice, you won’t be able to tell that they aren’t made with pumpkin though. And though the Cardinals lost the pennant (a big sorry to all my fellow St. Louisans), these éclairs pretty much makes anyone feel like a winner.
Pumpkin Spice Eclairs with Chocolate Beer Pastry Cream and Ganache
By Irvin Lin
The name is a bit of a misnomer in this recipe as I don’t use any pumpkin puree as it’s a bit heavy and starchy for the pâte à choux (the cooked dough that is used to make the éclairs). Instead I use a generous amount of pumpkin spice and carrot juice to give the color and earthy sweetness that pumpkin would impart. The use of beer in the chocolate pastry cream and the chocolate ganache is a bit unusual but since I was inspired by major league baseball, I felt it was appropriate. The combination of chocolate and beer is a classic one and I think it goes great as a filling and topping. If you want something more classic though, just substitute 3/4 cup of whole milk for the beer in the pastry cream and use 1/4 cup of heavy cream instead of the beer for the chocolate ganache topping.
Pâte à choux dough
3/4 cup carrot juice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (or 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)
1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
Chocolate beer pastry cream
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 g) white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder (natural not Dutch-process)
2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup beer
1 1/4 cup heavy cream, divided
2 ounces (57 g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
Chocolate beer ganache glaze
4 ounces (115 g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
1/4 cup beer
1. Make the pâte à choux by first preheating the oven to 425˚F and lining a baking sheet with a silpat or piece of parchment paper. Place the carrot juice, butter, salt, sugar and pumpkin spice into a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until the carrot juice is simmering and the butter has melted, stirring frequently. Once the butter has melted, sift the flour over the juice and stir over the heat, until the flour is incorporated and the dough has formed. Cook for an additional 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.
2. Place the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes to cool the dough, then add one egg to the dough and continue to mix on medium speed until the dough has absorbed the egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and repeat with the rest of the eggs, adding them one at a time and beating the dough until it is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. The final dough will be really sticky and look a bit like pumpkin frosting.
3. Scoop the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large 1/4-inch round plain tip. Pipe the dough into 4 inch by 1 1/2 inch long strips, leaving about 2 inches of space between each strip. Wet your finger and press down on any pointy parts of the dough, smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should have about 6 or 7 strips of dough. Place the egg yolk into a small bowl and beat 1 tablespoon of water into it. Brush the egg wash over each dough strip. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
4. After the 10 minutes, open the oven and rotate the pan 180˚F and close the oven door. Reduce the heat down to 350˚F and then bake the éclairs for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and sound hollow when you tap them.
5. While the éclairs are baking, make the pastry cream by placing the egg yolks, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch and vanilla extract in a bowl. Beat together until a paste forms. Place the beer and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream (reserving the 3/4 cup for later) and the chopped chocolate into a medium size pan and heat on high until it starts to simmer. Reduce heat to continue the simmer and stir constantly until the chocolate has mostly melted (if there are still small tiny flecks of chocolate left, that’s ok but if you see big chunks, keep it on the heat). Drizzle about half of the hot beer cream onto the egg yolk paste, whisking the paste constantly until the paste has loosened up and thinned. Pour the thinned paste back into the pan and cook over medium heat until the pastry cream thickens about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the hot pastry cream onto a rimmed plate and spread out to cover the plate. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the pastry cream to keep it from forming a skin and let cool while the éclairs are baking.
6. Once the éclairs have baked, pierce the side of each éclair with a sharp paring knife to let the steam escape. Let cool completely. Once the éclairs and pastry cream are cooled, make the chocolate beer ganache by placing the chocolate in a medium shallow bowl and microwaving it for 1 minutes. Stir and then microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Stir again. The chocolate should be completely melted and extremely warm. Add the beer and stir until incorporated.
7. Once the pastry cream is cooled and the éclairs are ready to be assembled, place the reserve 3/4 cup of heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the cream until firm peaks form. Scoop the pastry cream into the whipped cream and fold them together until incorporated. Cut one éclair in half lengthwise with a sharp serrated knife, and fill the bottom half inside of the éclair with pastry cream. Take the top half of the éclair and dip the top into the chocolate beer ganache and place on top of the filled éclair bottom. Repeat with the remainder of the éclairs. Chill for 1 hour to set the glaze then serve same day.
Makes 6 to 7 eclairs.
If you like this pumpkin eclairs recipe, check out some of my other pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin Chocolate Monkey Bread
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Easy Cream Cheese Caramel Drizzle
Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Pumpkin Chess Pie Tart
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
And check out some of these other pumpkin recipes from around the web:
Tidy Mom’s Pumpkin Butter
I Am Baker’s Pumpkin Rose Cookies
Simply Recipe’s Pumpkin Gingerbread
Fannetasticfood’s Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
The Baker Chick’s Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes