As I mentioned on Instagram yesterday, I finally made dairy free choux pastry!
It’s probably no secret to anyone who follows me on social media that I’m a bit of a dairy addict. But being on lockdown and having to ration my butter supply lol, I decided it was time to trial a dairy free version! I know there are many out there who sadly had to cut out dairy as well as gluten and I often get asked about possible substitutions. So this one is for you!
And it’s surprisingly close to the ‘real’ thing too. Not only did it puff up and create a lovely crisp outer shell with a hollow centre, just like standard buttery choux pastry, but I’d say it actually kept it’s shape more.
The secret ingredient? Lard! Yes, yes. Stay with me. Although it’s not an ingredient used by a lot of people in home cooking these days, it’s actually pretty common in pastries and many pastry chefs swear by it.
Why do I use lard?
Well, first of all it behaves like butter in many ways, but due to being 100% fat (unlike butter which contains water), it can make things crispier. Its higher melting point also helps baked goods keep their shape.
That’s actually great news when it comes to gluten free eclairs since collapsing shortly after baking (due to a weak outer shell or too much moisture left inside) is probably the most common issue.
And of course, lard is dairy free.
I found swapping butter for lard worked really well and my gluten free eclairs and cream puffs actually kept their shape more than my ‘normal’ ones.
Can you taste the lard?
NO. Don’t worry, you can’t taste it. If anything, the worse that’s going to happen is that lard yields a rather tasteless result so you lose that buttery flavour. But it’s not replaced by a funky lard taste. 😉
Some recipes to try:
Just follow the same instructions, but with these dairy free ingredients here.
P.S.: I’m using Freee Foods (by Doves Farm) self-raising flour. If you only have access to plain flour, add 1 tsp of baking powder.
- 85g gluten free all purpose self-raising flour blend (I used Freee Foods by Doves Farm)
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- Pinch of salt
- 50g lard
- 150g water
- 2 to 3 eggs
- Add 1 tsp baking powder if using a plain flour blend instead of self-raising
PART 1: Cook the dough
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl; the flour, sugar, xanthan gum and salt.
- In a non-stick saucepan, heat up the lard and water on low heat until fully melted.
- Once you reach a very light simmer, add the dry ingredients into the pan and mix and mash with a spatula until you have a smooth thick dough.
- Keep heating it up briefly, mixing and mashing the dough continuously, to get rid of any excess liquid hiding in there and get a dryer dough. But be careful not to overdo it as you don’t want to accidentally overcook it. It should look like in the picture collage above (picture number 2).
PART 2: Add the eggs
- Transfer the dough back into the bowl and let it cool down. You can mix and mash the dough with a spatula to speed up the process. Note: don’t skip this step, otherwise the heat will start cooking the eggs and mess up your choux pastry.
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add it in slowly, little by little. At first your dough will look weird and lumpy, but that’s totally normal. Keep going until you reach the right consistency. It should be smooth and run slightly downwards when you hold your spatula up, but thick enough to not actually drip into the bowl. Note: the amount of eggs you need will vary for everyone depending on the flour you use, the size of your eggs and how much liquid is left in your dough so make sure to add them in slowly.
How to cook your choux pastry:
- Cook according to the specific recipe you’re making (see list above). For eclairs and cream puffs, as rule of thumb it’s 10 mins (at 220C) + 20 to 25 mins (at 175C) followed by 20 minutes sitting in the oven (turned off) with the door opened.
How to store your choux pastry:
- Place in a sealable freezer bag and store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze (fully defrost before cooking).
Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think if you give it a try, either here in the comments or on insta!