Every so often I think about cream puffs and eclairs.  This was one of my favorite treats mom would make when I was a little girl.  I saw a fellow blogger posts about Eclairs on her blog and It got me to thinking about making them.  When I was home on Martin Luther King Day I decided it was time to make those cream puffs.  Thanks Anyonita!  Make sure you check out here blog – Anyonita Nibbles.
I decided that I would go ahead and make these mini eclairs and since I really love coconut and chocolate together, I decided to make a coconut flavored custard cream.  I wish I still had some.  I’d eat this for breakfast.  🙂  Grumpy didn’t have a hard time putting some of these down either!

The recipe for the pastry cream came from allrecipes.com and used coconut extract in place of vanilla.  While the recipe was good, I think it needed to be thicker to be a real pastry cream.  I would consider the recipe closer to a pudding.  I used the cream puff recipe I always use from my Betty Crocker Cookbook.  

  

Coconut Cream Filled Mini Eclairs
filling adapted from allrecipes.com
Puff Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
for the filling:
2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch (I would increase this by at least another Tablespoon for a thicker cream)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon coconut extract
for the glaze:
4 ounces coarsely chopped semi sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  To make the cream puffs:  In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously.  Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball.  Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition.  
Using pastry bag, pipe dough onto parchment lined pastry sheet about 3 inches in length.  Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden.  Transfer to a rack to cool.
To make pastry cream:  Note that my method is different from the method on the allrecipes.com website.  Mix almond milk, sugar and cornstarch in heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Bring to a low boil and cook until pudding begins to thicken.  In a mixing bowl, whisk egg and egg yolks together.  Gradually whisk 1 cup of the hot pudding mixture into the egg yolks, don’t dump all the hot pudding in at once or you will get scrambled eggs.  Once the pudding has been incorporated into the eggs, return egg mixture to hot milk mixture and whisk until blended.  Continue to cook until cream has thickened.  Remove from heat and add butter and coconut extract.  Stir to combine.  Transfer to storage bowl and cover top of pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a “skin” from forming on the top.  Bring to room temperature then refrigerate until ready to use.
To make chocolate almond glaze:  Melt 4 ounces coarsely chopped semi sweet chocolate and 3 tablespoons butter over low heat, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and beat in 1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons water, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. 
When ready to fill puffs, slice vertically and spoon custard into puff.  Glaze with chocolate almond glaze.  Store leftovers in refrigerator.
other coconut recipes you may enjoy:
Flavor Mosiac – Coconut Fudge Swirl Cake
Renee’s Kitchen Adventures – Coconut Custard Pie
Healthy Delicious – Banana Toffee Coconut Muffins