Even in Nanaimo, B.C., the origin of the Nanaimo bar is contested. One thing we can all agree on, though, is that Canadians love this triple-layered treat. Over the years, creative Canucks have used the traditional elements of this dessert in Nanaimo bar–flavoured martinis, cupcakes and more. We've married it here with an éclair to create an especially rich pastry.
- Prep time 1 hour
- Total time 2 hours & 30 minutes
- Portion size 14 servings
- 2 cups whipping cream (35%)
- 6 tablespoons custard powder (such as Bird's Custard Powder)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup bread flour , sifted
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons icing sugar
- 75 g bittersweet chocolate (about 2 1/2 oz), finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds , toasted
Coconut Custard: In small saucepan, whisk together cream, custard powder, sugar, vanilla and coconut extract until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture thickens, 5 to 8 minutes. Scrape into large bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 12 hours; bring to room temperature before using.)
Pastry: In saucepan, stir butter, milk, 1⁄3 cup water and salt over medium heat until butter is melted. Increase heat to medium- high; bring to boil. Remove from heat and add flour all at once, stirring vigorously with wooden spoon, until mixture forms smooth ball. Return to medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until film forms on bottom of pan, about 1 minute.
Transfer dough to stand mixer or bowl; using paddle attachment or wooden spoon, beat for 1 minute to cool. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well a after each addition (pastry may seize after each egg addition, but continue beating) until shiny and smooth, about 1 more minute.
Using large piping bag fitted with 3⁄4-inch star tip, pipe dough into fourteen 4- x 1-inch logs, 1 inch apart, on 2 parchment paper–lined rimmed baking sheets. Dust with icing sugar.
Bake in 350°F oven until puffed and dark golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack; push chopstick or skewer lengthwise through pastry to release steam and create room for custard. Let cool completely before filling.
Chocolate Glaze: Just before assembling éclairs, in heatproof bowl set over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, stir chocolate with vegetable oil until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes; set aside.
Assembly: Stir custard until smooth. Fill piping bag fitted with 1/4-inch plain tip with custard; pipe into pastry logs. Dip tops into glaze. Sprinkle with coconut and almonds. Let stand until set, about 20 minutes. Best served same day.
Tip from The Test Kitchen: To secure parchment paper in place when piping dough, pipe a dot of dough under each corner and firmly stick the paper to the baking sheet.
Nutritional facts Per serving: about
- Fibre 1 g
- Sodium 126 mg
- Sugars 7 g
- Protein 4 g
- Calories 279
- Total fat 22 g
- Potassium 71 mg
- Cholesterol 97 mg
- Saturated fat 12 g
- Total carbohydrate 18 g
- Iron 7
- Folate 10
- Calcium 4
- Vitamin A 17