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There is only one thing that rivals my love for chocolate ice cream. And that is vanilla custard, either poured over something cakey, or chilled… Top the custard with whipped cream and dark chocolate syrup, and you have the mouthfeel and flavor sensation to beat all others. You’re going to love this Chocolate Eclair Cake, that includes all three!
This “cake” is my copycat of a similar one I saw made without whole foods, not Traditional/Paleo/Primal. I loved the photo and decided to make a whole food version because I could imagine no yummier dessert.
I hope you agree looking at these photos. This dessert draws you in to take a bite (and then another, and then another…) The custard, the whipped cream, the chocolate, and the perfect crust to hold them all.
This version can be made with grass-fed dairy (I use raw milk), which I call Primal, or it can be made Paleo, dairy-free (omit the whipped cream or make coconut whipped cream). It’s grain-free and uses two favorite grain-free flours: cassava (here’s my choice) and arrowroot (I like this one). I’ve spoken before about cassava and the importance of resistant starch in one’s diet (yes, sure, even in dessert).
Let’s talk a skosh about arrowroot. It’s mentioned in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and is considered nutrient-dense. She quotes thus about it:
It is the only starch product with a calcium ash. In this regard, the calcium chloride found in arrowroot starch, is very important for the maintenance of proper acid and alkali balances in the human body. Arrowroot only thrives on tidal flats where the sea minerals are available. Its known health-building properties may be due to trace minerals from the sea, as well as from the calcium it gets from the sea water. (Royal Lee, DDS Journal of the National Academy of Research Biochemists)
I also use a just a wink of sustainably-sourced gelatin (the one with the green lid) in both the whipped cream and the custard to obtain the perfect texture, so you can eat this spoon-worthy dessert with a fork.
How’s it keep? Really well! You can make it ahead of time for guests and it keeps beautifully in the fridge for days! The recipe also makes a great big portion- for lots of folks or lots of leftovers. It’s as good for breakfast or a snack as it is for dessert.
You’ll need this Chocolate Syrup recipe to make the drizzle.
Enjoy the decadence, friends!
- 2.5 cups grass-fed heavy cream
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 2 teaspoons gelatin
(Make this recipe first.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9" by 13" casserole dish. Set aside.
Place the following items into a blender and puree until smooth: egg yolks, cooled butter, warm milk, cassava and sea salt.
Beat egg whites in medium size bowl until stiff peaks form. Pour blender puree into bowl of egg whites and fold in whites until mostly incorporated.
Pour and spread evenly over bottom of greased casserole dish. Bake in preheated oven until puffed and golden all over, about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the custard.
Wait to make the custard until the pastry crust is out of the oven cooling.
Whisk together arrowroot and gelatin in small bowl. Into medium saucepan, pour milk, egg yolks, maple syrup, and sea salt. Sprinkle arrowroot mixture over its surface, and whisk again to combine.
Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring CONSTANTLY until pudding begins to thicken. It will start to steam first, which is your sign that the custard is almost done. Once thickened, remove immediately from heat.
Add butter and vanilla and continue to stir until mixed.
Wait to make the whipped cream until the crust and vanilla custard have chilled, assembled, in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.
Place water in small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over its surface. Heat until steamy, stirring, and gelatin is foamy and melted. Turn off heat. Add maple syrup and set aside.
Whip cream in large chilled bowl, using chilled beaters. Once it holds soft peaks, gradually pour in sweetened gelatin water, in a steady stream. Once fully incorporated and stiffer peaks have formed, stop beating and set aside.
Fill slightly cooled crust with warm custard, smoothing out the surface. Chill 1-3 hours. Top with freshly whipped cream. Top with generous decorative drizzle of Chocolate Syrup (see the link to this recipe below**). Chill for 3-5 hours or overnight, before serving. (Best chilled for 6 hours minimum before serving.) Whole process can occur in one day, serving it that evening, including chilling times.