Pumpkin Praline Eclairs

This Thanksgiving I had a few leftovers I didn't expect: ground pralines and pumpkin spice pastry cream.

I tried out Martha Stewart's pumpkin cream pie recipe. Excellent pastry cream but not great for pies. It tastes very similar to pumpkin chiffon pie, but pumpkin chiffon is far prettier and more stable. The pumpkin cream pie made for a soggy crust and didn't hold it's form very well.

Gosh darnit what to do?! WHAT TO DO?!?!?!?!

Okay. It's not a bid deal, but what's Thanksgiving without a little drama? :)

I took inspiration from the Laduree Sucre cook book and I opted to make a choux pastry with a pumpkin cream filling and a praline poured fondant icing using the extra ground pralines I had from my chocolate praline cake.

Fantastic idea! They came out wonderfully!

If you prefer cream puffs to eclairs, you can follow the recipe, simply changing the shape of the choux as you pipe.

Pumpkin Praline Eclairs

for the pumpkin pastry cream:

2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin (from one 15-ounce can)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Bring milk, vanilla,cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks with cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl.
  3. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup milk mixture into yolk mixture. Gradually whisk in remaining milk mixture. Return entire mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbling in center, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately whisk in pumpkin. Whisk in butter.
  4. Turn out into a bowl, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
Continue by making the choux pastry. 

for the choux:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup skim milk
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
Large pinch of kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Line two heavy baking sheets with parchment paper. (If you're pans are too light, stack them. This will reduce the chance of scorching on the bottom of the puff).
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the water, milk, butter, and salt to a boil. Add the flour and stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and dries out a bit. Roughly two minutes.
  3. Turn the dough out into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each one.
  4. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a half inch tip (or a disposable bag with the tip cut off) and pipe four inch long strips onto the baking sheets at least two inches apart (or tablespoon sized balls for cream puffs).
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool. 
  7. Fill a piping bag with pumpkin pastry cream. Poke three small holes in the top of each eclair (one for cream puffs). 
  8. Fill with pumpkin pastry cream. Wipe off any excess. Set aside. 
Continue by preparing the icing. 

for the praline icing: 

4 1/2 ounces white pouring fondant
1 tbsp. water
3 tbsp. praline paste (see below) 
3 oz. white chocolate

  1. Melt the white chocolate in a a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water or in the microwave at medium power. 
  2. In a saucepan, slightly warm the pouring fondant with the water. 
  3. Add the praline paste and the melted white chocolate. Stir until smooth. 
  4. Dip the tops of the eclairs (or cream puffs) into the glaze. 
  5. Allow to set and keep in the refrigerator. 
Et voila! You have fifteen pumpkin praline eclairs ready to be eaten up!

**Praline Paste is made by grinding pralines. If you grind the pralines for a bit longer they will form a paste. If you feel impatient, add a few drops off water to speed up the process.