Hello and happy autumn! My favorite season is upon us, so I am just thrilled to present you with this new, delicious recipe. When I asked on Instagram for your fall baking preferences, the majority of voters wanted to see pastry (over cake) and non-pumpkin flavors (over the classic spiced orange gourd.) Enter: Maple Pecan Creme Brûlée Eclairs. (Whew — say that five times fast!)
First, I’ll walk you through the simple steps to create delicate and crisp choux pastry eclair shells. If you’ve never made choux before — don’t worry! It’s not difficult, and I’ve included helpful tips and photos so you can nail it on your first — and every — go around!
Then, we’ll fill the eclairs with a creamy vanilla-bourbon creme brûlée pastry cream, with flavor notes reminiscent of everyone’s favorite custardy, caramelized treat. However, the decadence doesn’t stop there. Each eclair is then dipped in a luscious maple glaze and topped with an airy, yet stabilized creme brûlée whipped cream — or, creme diplomat.
If that doesn’t sound good enough, it gets better. We’ll finish off each eclair with a crunchy, yet ethereally light toasted pecan caramel slice. Sweet? Check. Salty? Check. Smooth, crunchy, light, and rich all at the same time? Four more checks for the win. These maple pecan creme brûlée eclairs are a showstopper — and they’re so, SO tasty. I’ve never received more compliments on anything else that I’ve baked *cue happy tears!*
In this post, I’ll also share with you my favorite flavoring options from Amoretti. Spoiler alert: I even have a discount code you can use for all of your fall baking needs! Read on for the savings!
Without further ado, let’s begin!
How To Make Maple Pecan Creme Brûlée Eclairs
First, review the materials list below to make sure you have all of the tools you’ll need. Then, peruse the full recipe and method instructions. As always, please leave a comment if you have any questions at all! I’m happy to help. Remember, have fun!
Tools You’ll Need For Your Maple Pecan Creme Brûlée Eclairs
Make sure to gather all of your tools before starting to bake. I’ve included links (affiliate) for your easy shopping reference!
- Large baking sheet, or two smaller ones
- One or two silicone baking mats to line your baking sheet(s)
- Kitchen scale — not 100% neccessary but very recommended and helpful (see notes below recipe)
- Wooden spoon
- Silicone spatula (you may want to have a few on hand, otherwise you’ll have to wash it a few times)
- Spray bottle with a mist setting (make sure it’s clean and only for food use; you’ll use water in it)
- Piping bags
- Large piping tip (I use and recommend a French Star tip, like Ateco’s 869)
- Medium round piping tip for filling and optional decorative tips for whipped cream topping (this set is my fave and the one off of which I’ve built my collection; it’s a good one to start with, if you don’t have tips yet)
- Cooling rack
- Small, medium, and large mixing and/or regular kitchen bowls
- Mixer, stand or handheld will work
- Chopping board
- Chef’s knife
- Sharp bench scraper
- Plastic wrap
- Parchment paper, optional
Amoretti Baking Ingredients — Discount Code
Since Amoretti sponsored my Instagram post featuring this recipe, they gave me a discount code to share with you all! However, this blog post is not part of the sponsored agreement, I just really like the products and wanted to pass along the savings! Feel free to use this code when checking out on their site to receive 15% off of your purchase:
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In this recipe, I used Amoretti’s Creme Brûlée Compound to flavor the pastry cream filling. The compound has a thick viscosity, and it tastes JUST like creme brûlée — sweet, toasty, with just a hint of caramelization.
We’ll also use Amoretti’s Vanilla Madagascar Bourbon Extract Water Soluble 1X. Its delicious, warm vanilla notes come from the ultra-coveted Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans. Be sure to note that I used 1X — Amoretti sells stronger versions, too.
Recipe, Method, and Tips For Maple Pecan Creme Brûlée Eclairs
To ensure the baking process flows as smoothly as possible, read through the full recipe instructions first, before getting started. Then, reference it as needed. This is good practice whenever you’re trying a recipe for the first time — sometimes, processes need to happen quickly, and you have to know what visual cues to watch. If you don’t read the recipe through fully before starting, you may miss an important step or tip when things begin ~heating up~ in the kitchen!
Maple Pecan Creme Brûlée Eclairs
Choux Pastry Shell
- 1 cup water (8 oz) see Note A
- 1 cup flour (4.25 oz) see Note A
- ½ cup cubed butter (4 oz) see Note A
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 4-5 eggs (8 oz) see Note A
- non-stick cooking spray
- water, in a spray bottle
Creme Brûlée Pastry Cream
- 4 cups milk (I used 2% fat content)
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 tbsp cornstarch
- 10 egg yolks
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp Amoretti Creme Brûlée Compound see note B
Creme Brûlée Stabilized Whipped Cream — Optional (AKA Creme Diplomat or Creme Legere)
- 1 tsp powdered gelatin
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ cup heavy cream, chilled
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- ¼ cup Creme Brûlée pastry cream, made above
- ½ tsp Amoretti Madagascar Vanilla Bourbon
Candied Pecan Caramel Shards
- 1 cup pecans
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp Amoretti Madagascar Vanilla-Bourbon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp butter
Vanilla-Bourbon Maple Glaze
- 2 tbsp butter
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 cup powdered sugar (plus more if too thin)
- 1 tsp Amoretti Madagascar Vanilla Bourbon
Choux Pastry Shell
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line your baking sheet(s) with the oven-safe silicone baking mat(s). Lightly mist them with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Over medium-low heat on the stove, combine your butter, the cup of water, salt, and sugar. Let it simmer until the butter melts and the salt and sugar have dissolved. When the mixture starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat, add in the flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until it combines into a paste. Then, set the pan back on the heat.
- Continue mixing the dough over the heat until it forms into a ball shape and pulls away from the edges. This step releases moisture from the dough. You will know your dough is ready to move on to the next step if you take a small dinner/soup spoon and stick it straight into the center of the dough. If it stands on its own, the dough is good to go. If it falls, keep stirring over the heat until more moisture evaporates and it passes the test.
- Remove the mixture from the heat. Let it cool off slightly, no more than a few minutes. Add four eggs (8 oz) into the dough one by one (or, approx. 2 oz at a time), mixing after each addition with a silicone spatula. With each egg, your dough should become smoother until it is glossy and shiny. Depending on how accurately you measured your flour, you may need to add a small amount from the fifth egg. After the fourth egg, if your dough looks glossy, but you're not sure it has reached the proper consistency, complete these two tests to check: 1) Drag your clean finger straight through the middle of the dough. If it leaves a "valley" that doesn't fall in on itself, it's good to go. 2) Place your silicone spatula in the dough with the handle pointing up. Stir the dough a bit, then pull the spatula straight out, keeping the handle pointed up. Look at the dough on the end of the spatula — it should hang off and form a V-shape. If so, you don't need any more eggs. If your dough doesn't pass either test, add a small amount more of egg, test, and repeat until a glossy consistency is achieved.
- Next, fit a piping bag with the French Star tip. Place the choux dough in the piping bag and, with the tip angled at 45-degrees, pipe twelve, six-inch-long eclair shells on the prepared baking sheets (if your dough makes a few more, that's fine too.) Be sure to keep at least two inches of space (or more, if you can) in between so they have room to expand in the oven. Apply slightly more pressure to the piping bag on the ends of each eclair (think of a slight "bone" shape) so that the eclairs don't puff more in the center. It also helps to "twist" the bag away, otherwise just pulling the bag straight off can also pull the whole shell out of place. Dip your finger in a bit of water and use it to smooth out any points at either edge, otherwise, those spots will burn. (Not the ridges along the top from the piping tip, but just any sharp, small pieces that remain from pulling the piping bag away at the edge.
- Place the baking sheets in the preheated oven, and, right before closing the door, mist the eclairs a few times with water. It doesn't need much, just two or three sprays depending on how large your mist nozzle is. Bake for ten minutes, but do not open the oven yet (or at all, during the process.) Once the ten minutes have passed, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue the baking for twenty more minutes, or until the choux pastry shells are a nice golden brown color.
- Once the shells are finished baking, remove them from the oven and immediately transfer them to a wire cooling rack. Then, as soon as you can handle touching them, quickly use a toothpick to poke two holes on the bottom of each eclair. I like to poke one near each end, and eventually, fill through these holes. However, for now, they act as vents to allow steam to release so the shells can crisp up and not turn soggy. Let these shells sit aside to cool fully, while you move on to the next eclair component. (We'll address assembling the eclairs at the end.)
- Choux Pastry Storage: I, and most bakers, recommend baking, filling, and serving your eclairs on the same day. They taste phenomenal that way. The shells are delicate and lose quality the longer they sit. However, if you MUST make them early, you can store unfilled eclairs in an airtight container at room temperature for two days. You can also seal and freeze them for up to a month, but, remember: for best quality, eat on the same day as baking. It's worth it!
Creme Brûlée Pastry Cream
- Fill a large bowl up to halfway with ice and/or cold water. Set a clean, medium-sized bowl inside the larger one, on top of the ice. Place your sieve over top the medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine three cups of milk with the sugar and salt over medium heat. Let it warm up and the salt/sugar dissolve.While that's heating, combine the remaining one cup of milk, the egg yolks, and the cornstarch in another bowl. Whisk it together thoroughly, then set this mixture aside.
- Watch the milk pan closely, waiting for it to scald — but stir it every so often with a whisk so it doesn't burn on the bottom. As soon as you see little heat bubbles around the edges of the milk, pour a small amount (like a little drizzle) into the bowl with the egg yolks and starch. Whisk the mixture in the bowl constantly and vigorously until it comes together, or else the eggs will curdle. This is called "tempering." Whatever you do, don't stop whisking! Keep whisking while you slowly drizzle in a bit more milk. I like to add about half of the scalded milk to the tempering mixture, but it doesn't have to be exact. Then, place the pan back on the heat and dump the tempered bowl mixture into the pan. Whisk this constantly, letting it come to a boil. Once it bubbles and thickens, keep whisking for about two more minutes to allow the starches to set up properly. This will ensure the structure of your pastry cream holds after it cools.
- Next, turn off the heat and remove the pastry cream from the stove. Run it through the sieve into the bowl you've set in an ice bath. This will help remove any impurities (like egg pieces that cooked) and facilitate the cooling process.
- After you've sieved the pastry cream, add in the butter and compound flavoring. Mix it together with a spatula until it's combined.
- Finally, cover the surface of the pastry cream directly with a piece of plastic wrap. In other words, press the plastic onto the top of the cream. Let it cool in the ice bath or in the refrigerator while you move on to the remaining eclair components.
- Pastry Cream Storage: Pastry cream keeps for three days in the refrigerator. It does not freeze well.
Creme Brûlée Stabilized Whipped Cream — Optional (AKA Creme Diplomat or Creme Legere)
- First, put the heavy cream into the bowl you'll use for mixing and place it, along with the mixer whisk(s), into the freezer to chill for just a few minutes while you complete the next steps. Don't get distracted, because your cream shouldn't freeze — just chill.
- Sprinkle your gelatin powder onto the water in a microwave-safe bowl. Let it sit to "bloom" for two minutes.
- Then, heat the gelatin and water in the microwave in ten-second intervals, stirring in between, until the gelatin dissolves fully. However, don't overheat the gelatin or it can lose its ability to thicken and stabilize. Make sure there are no visible pieces of gelatin. If any foam forms on the top, skim it out with a spoon and discard. Set the gelatin aside to cool for a few minutes.
- In the meantime, start to whip your cream. After about 45 seconds, add the powdered sugar, and keep beating until you reach the "soft peak stage." That means that your cream is just starting to hold together and whip up, but it's not yet at the traditional "whipped cream" texture.
- Place a tablespoon or two of the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture and combine with a spoon. Similar to tempering the milk in the previous component section, we'll do the same here to avoid "shocking" the gelatin which could cause it to seize up.
- Then, add the gelatin/cream mixture into the main mixer bowl of cream as well as the vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks are achieved. That means that, if you take out the mixer whisk and hold it up, the "peak" or the top point of the whipped cream on the edge of the beater will hold its shape.
- Finally, using a spatula, carefully add the reserved pastry cream to the whipped cream. Fold it in gently, only mixing enough to combine. Place the creme diplomat in a piping bag fitted with a coupler and put it in the refrigerator while you finish the next components.
- Creme Diplomat Storage: Creme diplomat keeps for three days in the refrigerator. It does not freeze well. See Note C for more details.
Candied Pecan Caramel Shards
- Spread your pecans on a baking sheet and toast them in an oven preheated to 350°F for eight to ten minutes, or until they smell fragrant. Let them cool, then chop the nuts into fine pieces.
- Place the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and swirl the water slightly to moisten the sugar. Then, without stirring, heat the sugar over medium until it dissolves and darkens slightly.
- Once the sugar starts to bubble, stir in the pecans, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and butter. Keep stirring the mixture gently with your spatula to combine all the ingredients, letting it cook and caramelize for one to two more minutes.
- Place a piece of parchment paper or your silicone baking mat on a baking sheet (or another heat-proof surface) and pour the caramelized nut mixture onto it. Be careful, as it will be hot and sticky.
- As the caramelized nuts begin to cool, you can use a spatula to smooth them out a little, if you want. I did so to make the texture look a little more even. Once the mixture is fully cool, use your bench scraper to make sharp and swift downward cuts, to section the candy into long, thin pieces. See Note D, below.
- Caramelized Pecan Storage: Store the nuts in an airtight container at room temperature for one week.
Assembling The Eclairs & Vanilla-Bourbon Maple Glaze Instructions
- Because the maple glaze begins to harden almost immediately, you should make this final portion of the recipe as you're assembling the eclairs. Here's how the process should go.
- First, fit a piping bag with a medium-sized round piping tip, and fill it with the creme brûlée pastry cream. (See Note E for piping alternatives.) Then, flip an eclair shell upside down and place it in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Gently wrap your fingers around it, taking care not to squish it. It's important to hold the shell this way. Next, insert the piping tip into the top hole of the ones you poked earlier. Aim it down towards the center of the eclair and apply pressure to the bag, filling the eclair with cream. As the eclair fills, you'll feel the weight increase and the pastry shell will feel like it's slightly expanding against your palm and fingers— when you feel this pressure move towards the center of the eclair, stop, rotate the piping tip, and fill the top portion (from the hole to the end of the eclair) with just a tiny bit more pastry cream. Finally, flip the eclair around so the other hole is now on top and repeat this process. When you feel the eclair shell expanding in your palm, it's a good indicator that it's full and that the cream has reached the center from both sides. Don't worry if this seems tricky or unclear while you're reading these instructions for the first time — once you hold the eclair while filling it, you'll quickly understand how it should "feel." I always recommend starting with some of your uglier shells, that way you can have a few practice trials or even cut them open to compare the feeling with the amount of pastry cream inside. You'll get the hang of it, after all — practice makes perfect. Keep filling all of your eclairs in this manner, then move on to the next step.
- Now that your eclairs are filled, it's time for the glaze! Choose a microwave-safe dish that is shallow, yet long enough to fit an eclair inside. I've found smaller glass Pyrex dishes work well, or even pie plates. If you don't have one, just make the glaze in any microwave-safe bowl and transfer it to a plate when you're ready to coat the eclairs.To make the glaze: soften the butter in the microwave until it's almost melted, for maybe 20 seconds or so. Then, add to it your syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and a cup of powdered sugar and mix until it's smooth. Let it cool for a few minutes. If it's still really runny, you can add some extra powdered sugar, but keep in mind that it will crust and harden as it dries. Once the glaze has cooled a bit and started to thicken or crust, give it one more stir. Then, dip your eclairs in, one by one, coating the tops with the glaze. You can use a paper towel to clean up any edges that drip, or just leave it be! The glaze will harden within a few minutes, so work quickly. You can microwave it for a few seconds if it becomes too thick to work with.
- Once the glaze has set on the eclairs, fit your whipped cream piping bag with a fun tip and pipe on some garnish! You can get creative with it, or just stay simple and classy.
- Finally, break off a piece of the pecan caramel and use it to garnish each eclair. The candy received such great reviews that I made sure to include a piece of it along every inch of the eclair. You don't want to skimp!
- Maple Pecan Creme Brûlée Eclair Storage: Eclairs are best served as soon as possible. Trust me, you'll want to enjoy every bite ASAP! Otherwise, eclairs can become soggy and lose interesting mouth-feel and structure. However, if you must save the eclairs for later, keep them refrigerated in an air-tight container at all times.
Enjoy Your Fall Baking!
I hope you enjoy these Maple Pecan Creme Brûlée Eclairs as much as I do. I put a lot of heart and soul into this one, from conception to creation – it was an adventure for sure! For another fun idea, check out my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Eclairs recipe! It’s a few years old, so use the tips for eclairs from this post — but the recipe is still great! Or, browse through my recent posts on my main menu for some fun fall inspiration!
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Talk soon, happy baking!
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