Coconut Rum Eclairs + Turks & Caicos

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I have wanted to share this recipe with you for quite some time, but it makes sense it’s finally happening now that we’re in the cold of winter. When it’s 20 degrees outside, that means it’s a baking day, obviously. Haha.

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These Coconut Rum Eclairs are a recreation from a trip I took to Turks & Caicos last August with my husband. The trip was very last minute and spontaneous (I think we booked it 10 days before we left), but the island was so spectacular it didn’t matter that we didn’t plan much beforehand. Turks & Caicos is a wonderful place to go if you’re looking for some of the most incredible beaches in the world, and some good food. Before we make the eclairs, I want to share a few of my favorite photos from our trip:

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Pete and I have only been to a few tropical places in our life, namely Puerto Rico, Aruba for our honeymoon, and now Turks & Caicos, but T&C was our favorite by far. The water and beaches are TRULY spectacular. My husband spent hours every day out on the water in any way he could: paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming. The water is gorgeously clear, and very calm:

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The water temperature was perfect, and every day we’d float around with our heads facing down, looking out for sea critters. We saw crabs, conch, sea urchins, rainbow fish, sting rays, and all sorts of fun sea animals. One day we saw a HUGE six-foot shark, but thank goodness we weren’t in the water that time, and it was toward the end of our trip =)

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One of my favorite days at Turks & Caicos was a Snorkel & Conch Cruise day trip we went on (no affiliation with them). A boat took us out into deeper water to snorkel and see some really big schools of fish, and we also harvested some conch to eat for lunch. They cut it up and prepared all the fresh conch ceviche-style for us to eat. It was SO good!

Below: Top-left: My fresh conch pulled from the water. Bottom-left: The conch ceviche they made for us with what we caught. Right: Stopping at Half Moon Bay Island, where we saw tons of iguanas!

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Top-left: Sting rays came right up to us at the beach. Pete ran toward them to pet them, while I ran the other way. Bottom-left: We rode bikes to the grocery store, and this was a stop along the way. Gorgeous blue water and blue sky everywhere you look. Right: Our tour guide shows us what a shucked conch looks like. Most of what you see is not edible. Weird looking, right?!

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A collection of my favorite dishes from the trip. Predictably, we ate a TON of fish:

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If you’re looking for a relaxing paradise-type vacation, I highly recommend Turks & Caicos. Our trip was worth every penny and we loved the water and people. They have some of the best beaches in the world!

Getting back to the recipe, here is a photo I took of the eclair I had at the Turks & Caicos bakery:

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It was good, but I knew I wanted to change a few things when I got home.

First of all, I wanted toasted coconut instead of raw. So spread out some coconut on a sheet tray:

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And roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until it’s golden brown and crispy:

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Next, I already have a step-by-step for how to make eclairs and cream puff pate a choux dough, so make those according to that recipe:

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Moving on to the pastry cream, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar:

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Temper that mixture with some scalded milk, then cook until thick and pudding-like:

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Whisk in rum, vanilla extract, and coconut milk:

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Then chill the mixture completely.

When the pastry cream has chilled, it’s time to fill the eclairs.

If you have the proper piping tools, you can pipe the filling inside. Otherwise, you can cut the eclairs in half, and spoon in the pastry cream:

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Then take the top and dip it into icing made from confectioner’s sugar and water:

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Place the glazed top on the filled eclair, then sprinkle toasted coconut:

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And now it’s ready to be enjoyed! Happy baking =)

In the comments: Pete and I are thinking about where we want to travel next, and we’re thinking maybe St. Lucia or Belize. If you have any recommendations for other places from your own travels, please share below!

Coconut Rum Eclairs

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz bag sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 batch eclairs or cream puffs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5.46oz can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp spiced rum
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp milk or water

Directions:

  1. For the toasted coconut: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the coconut evenly onto a sheet pan, then bake for about 15 minutes, stirring the coconut every five minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Set aside to cool
  2. For the pastry cream: Put the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and heat until it reaches a scalding temperature (180 degrees F), when bubbles begin to form on the side of the pan, just before the boiling point.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch together.
  4. Once the milk is scalding, temper the egg mixture and milk by pouring milk, a little at a time, over the eggs while continuously whisking. Pour everything back into the saucepan and return to the stove over medium-high heat.
  5. Cook while whisking until the pastry cream thickens. It should be the consistency of pudding. Once the cream reaches desired thickness, remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla, coconut milk, and rum.
  6. Chill the pastry cream in an ice bath before spooning or piping into the eclairs.
  7. For the glaze on top: Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and milk or water, until smooth. Dip the top of each eclair into the icing, then top with the toasted coconut. Enjoy!

Adapted from my Cream Puffs recipe.