Vegan Chocolate Eclairs With Coconut Whipped Cream

Classic French cuisine goes vegan with this decadent chocolate-covered, cream-stuffed éclair recipe from popular vegan chef and cheesemaker Miyoko Schinner.

What you need:

For the flax egg whites:
2 cups water, plus more as needed
⅓ cup whole flaxseeds

For the coconut whipped cream:
2 cans chilled full-fat coconut milk (should be refrigerated for several days)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

For the vanilla bean custard:
1 can light coconut milk
⅓ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split open
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 tablespoon brandy
¼ cup cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water
1 cup coconut whipped cream

For the éclairs:
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup vegan butter
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Egg Replacer powder, mixed with cup water
½ cup flax egg whites
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Vanilla bean custard
⅓ cup chopped dark chocolate, melted

What you do:

  1. For the flax egg whites, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water and flaxseeds and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook on a low boil for 5 to 6 minutes. Place a sieve over a bowl and strain seeds. Discard seeds and use strained liquid as flax egg whites. If you have trouble pouring mixture through a sieve, return to saucepan, and add another cup water, simmer for 1 minute, and strain. Let cool. Mixture should be very thick.
  2. For the coconut whipped cream, scoop out solidified coconut milk from cans, leaving remaining coconut water in can. In a large bowl, add solidified coconut milk and whip using an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and Grand Marnier, and whip on high again to combine.
  3. For the vanilla bean custard, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, sugar, vanilla bean, and butter and bring to a simmer. Add brandy and cornstarch mixture into cream and whisk to thicken, then pour into a bowl and refrigerate for several hours until thick. Fold coconut whipped cream into chilled mixture. 
  4. For the éclairs, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine almond milk, butter, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine, and cook for 1 minute until mixture is smooth and forms a ball. Turn off heat and let cool for several minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, using a whisk, combine water with egg replacer and beat until very thick and frothy. In a food processor, combine egg replacer mixture, flax egg whites, baking powder, and vinegar. Process for a few seconds, then add dough and process for about 30 seconds until mixture is smooth and pulls away from sides.
  6. Place mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe into 3-inch long pieces on baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool completely before splitting and filling (the inside will be hollow). If necessary, use a spoon to scrape away any uncooked dough. Using a spoon or pastry bag, fill with vanilla bean custard and top with melted chocolate. Serve immediately.
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