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I Have a Dream: Gluten and Dairy Free Pastry

Gluten-free, dairy-free pastry on parchment.

While recovering from an eating disorder only to learn I had food allergies I have learned much from my relationship with food. I continue to learn as I grow in my ability to adapt foods to be allergy-friendly. Learning to cook many of my favorite comfort foods has become a new and welcome challenge!

Adapting recipes can be an adventure. Making eclairs gluten and dairy free was just that! And I learned some important life lessons throughout the process and being a good kitchen steward I’m looking forward to sharing them with you and my journey to the perfect gluten and dairy free pastry.

Depending on how you fill them, eclairs are not a sugary dessert. And they’re surprisingly easy to make gluten and dairy free. I began by starting with Glutenista’s Gluten-free Eclair recipe, studying her troubleshooting tips, and watching tutorials by Mary Berry, from the Great British Bake Off.

RELATED: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Diet Tips & Dairy-Free Cashew Cream Recipe

Gluten-free, dairy-free pastry on parchment.

Troubleshooting Gluten-Free Baking

Ideally, I knew what the pitfalls were and how to avoid them. I was on my way to perfect, eclairs…so I thought.

Ingredients for gluten-free, dairy-free pastry next to a bowl of the batter that is too runny.

I knew something was wrong with the pastry batter. I hurried to watch another step by step tutorial. Reread the troubleshooting tips. Added a little flour and tried to chill the batter…but it was obvious I wouldn’t be able to bake the dough as directed.

Wracking my brain for scientific reasons why this bake wasn’t behaving as it should, I discovered a small yet significant mistake: no xanthan gum.

Because I bake gluten-free whenever possible, some delicacies are difficult to make without a little ingenuity and help from science. Xanthan gum helps give structure and elasticity to gluten-free dough so one can enjoy things like pizza crust, pasta, and yes, even eclairs.

Gluten-free dairy-free batter while mixing and after it is done.

I bought the fool-proof gluten-free baking flour from King Arthur and I thought it had failed me for the first time. But it was I who forgot the significance of 3 tiny words on the box: no xanthan gum.

I quickly whipped up a half batch of batter with xanthan gum and it did much better. I was also careful to pay closer attention to its temperature while whisking in the eggs.

Temperature Matters when Baking

I used to think, “Since I’ve prepped for the worst, it won’t happen to me.”

Gluten-free dairy-free batter baked and fried

But part of being prepared for the curve balls in life isn’t about preventing them from happening: it’s about learning to juggle them. 

Remember that batter that was just too runny because of its missing ingredient? It turns out that while I couldn’t bake it (as you can see in the left photo), this batter fried up nicely.

Gluten-free dairy-free eclairs baking and done on parchment paper.

I was surprised to find that the answer was simple: turn up the heat. The dough expanded once it made contact with the hot oil.

And that second, smaller batch I whipped up? I got the delicious, expected results after I let it rest in the fridge. Sometimes in life, we’ve got to just chill.

Choose your Eclair Filling

If you’ve had the pleasure of watching The Great British Bake-off, you’ll know that there are all kinds of options for flavoring and filling eclairs. Even when limited by your needs, taste preferences, and available ingredients, you’re likely still left with several options.

There might be more than one “right choice” for you. Different flavors are more satisfying to different people. So get creative and find something that fits your needs.

Need more dairy free cookie recipes? Check out this dairy-free gingerbread cookie recipe


I’m thrilled to share a FREE gluten-free cheat sheet mini eBook to help get you started! This is perfect if you’ve just been told you need a GF diet, if you have a friend or family member eating GF and you’d like to cook for them, or if you’re just curious what it’s all about!

Gluten, Dairy Free Eclair Recipe

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Gluten & Dairy Free Eclairs

  • Author: Danielle Eaton-Hart Adapted from Glutenista
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert


Low-sugar, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free Eclair recipe with suggestions for filling and toppings.


  • 1 cup & 2 Tbsp Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (if not included in your flour)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan spread (soy-free available)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 (8 oz) containers So Delicious Coconut Whipped Cream

ship kroger


  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Boil 1/2 cup Earth Balance, 2 Tbsp sugar, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Once dissolved, remove from heat; stir in xanthan gum (if not in flour mix) and 1 cup + 2tbsp flour & xantahn gum.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for 5 mins.
  5. While dough cools mix together 3/4 cup water and 4 Tbsp ground flaxseed.
  6. Once dough is no longer warm to the touch, gradually add in the flaxseed “eggs”.
  7. The dough will look like cottage cheese at first so sing like Dory, “Just keep stirring. Just keep stirring.”
  8. Place dough back in refrigerator so it will be less sticky when placed in a piping bag. Put a sheet of parchment paper over your baking sheet and retrieve the dough from the fridge.
  9. Using a Ziploc bag with a cut corner (or a Pastry Bag with 1″ tip,) pipe out dough into double-decker logs on baking sheet (about 2 inches long for mini-eclairs and 5 inches long for large gluten-free eclairs).
  10. Bake in preheated oven (400F) for 10 minutes.
  11. Reduce heat to 325 and bake eclairs for 25 minutes longer.
  12. Check golden brown eclairs for done-ness by slicing open lengthwise. The inside should be quite warm but not doughy.
  13. When insides are dry and outsides are golden, remove from oven. Slice in half and place on rack to cool.


  • Serving Size: 1 eclair
  • Calories: 220
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Sodium: 131 mg
  • Saturated Fat: 6 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7 g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Need a little help getting healthy food on the table every day? Real Plans takes the stress out of meal planning and puts the nourishing food BACK on your table. There’s a plan for every diet type, including GAPS, Paleo, AIP, Whole30, vegetarian and more! You remain totally in control: use your own recipes, accept theirs, and teach the system what your family likes…Check out how powerful it is here!

RELATED: How to Make Dairy-Free Caramel Sauce

Life Lessons Through Baking

What did these eclairs teach me?

  • Life’s not ideal, and that’s great!
  • Preparation is different than prevention.
  • Check your temperature: do you need more heat or do you need to chill?
What life lessons has cooking taught you?
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

12 thoughts on “I Have a Dream: Gluten and Dairy Free Pastry”

  1. I’ve also heard a lot of people claim Xantham gum is bad for you, but I’ve yet to see any actual proof or research behind this. Is it theory or science-based research?

    What are the alternatives that can be used instead of Xantham gum?

    1. Danielle Hart

      I don’t know the answers to your questions Clint but they are definitely worth researching. Maybe you’ve inspired a future post here on Kitchen Stewardship!

  2. Yes, xanthan gum is very problematic…and from the research I’ve done I’ve read it is the excrement of the bacteria on black mold. Whether it makes dough hold together or not, it doesn’t look like a healthy ingredient or anything anyone with gut issues (or not) should consume. I know…we just want something to bind….but….*sigh*. Also, sugar…especially the refined white sugar in the pics is a terrible idea for gut issues (and yes, if you are gluten sensitive, intolerant, or full blown Celiac disease, you have gut issues. Or with IBS, Crohns, colitis, or anything in between, like candida.) Yikes! And sheesh….all that soy! Oh well….I will be doing without eclairs til I can find a healthy recipe. Sorry. Many blessings to you as you continue on your journey!

    1. For heavens sake, make your own substitutions. And…There isn’t any soy in this recipe, just a typing error, it is So Delicious Coconut Whipped Cream. Blessings

      1. Laura Snell @ Kitchen Stewardship

        Thanks for pointing out that typo! It’s fixed now, so no more misunderstandings. 🙂

    2. Danielle Hart

      While this recipe may not be for you if you’re not a fan of xathan gum and are unwilling to experiment with possible substitutes for necessary binding, it is soy free. Sorry if this recipe still disappoints or ostracizes you Barbara! If it’s not for you, maybe it can inside you to experiment until you find something that does work for you. After all, that’s how this recipe came to be.

      1. Danielle Hart

        Typo correction: inside should be inspire. Don’t try making legible comments using your phone…

  3. Unfortunately, xanthan gum can be a problematic ingredient. Because it is a pasteurized bacteria (actually, the same kind of bacteria that makes black stuff on your broccoli), it can be responsible for major digestive issues in people who already have sensitive guts. I had an appendectomy at a young age which has always given me digestive issues, but after the birth of my third child I developed such a sensitivity to xanthan gum that if I consume even the tiniest amount I suffer from reflux, vomiting and depression for a week. You can bet I am looking for that “no xanthan gum” label! I wish I could make your eclairs, but it seems you’ve already discovered that I can’t. 🙂 Blessings!

    1. Hey there 🙂
      Came across this yesterday re xanthan gum substitutions:

      Bex 🙂

    2. Danielle Hart

      MamaV, I am sorry xanthan gum doesn’t work for you. Do let us know if you try some of these substitutes Rebecca linked.

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