Okay, pre-diet, chocolate eclairs were my favorite dessert.  I could not enter a bakery without buying one, it was that kind of obsession.  Sometimes, I would actually buy two, which is pretty disturbing and gluttonous. :) 

Making any type of pastry into a diet friendly recipe is very very difficult.  Pastry = butter and fat, which is off limits.  Phyllo is pretty much the only way I have found to make these type of desserts.  I came across a phyllo eclair recipe online, and although its time consuming and not as delicious as the original, it was quite tasty for being a "diet" version of an eclair.  The filling exremely yummy and I used my own diet friendly chocolate frosting which is always a hit. 

The only downside is that since it's a phyllo shell, it falls apart pretty easily and is a little messy to eat!  I may add more layers of phyllo next time, but that also adds fat so you have to watch out for that.  Either way, I think it's worth the time if you are craving something with this flavoring and can't indulge in the real thing!


Ingredients for Vanilla Cream Filling: 
  • 6 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cornstarch 
  • Dash of salt 
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup fat free half and half 
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Phyllo Shells: 
  • 4 sheets of low fat phyllo dough (Athens brand)
  • Canola oil spray (Pam)
  • Granulated sugar, for sprinkling 

Ingredients For the Chocolate Frosting (Makes large amount of frosting, you may want to half the recipe if you don't plan on using the frosting for something else): 
  • 2 3/4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp of skim milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Take out the phyllo out of the freezer at least an hour in advance to thaw.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

First, make the vanilla cream. Begin by beating together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, and egg whites together in a small saucepan on low heat. Beat well until all the ingredients are incorporated. Then add the skim milk and half and half, beating constantly.  Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, continuing to beat.  *Make sure you have a large egg beater for this!*  Once the cream filling is boiling, beat for two more minutes and then reduce to a simmer, continuously beating for a few more minutes.  The filling should be thick and creamy at this point. 

Set the mixture aside and add the vanilla extract and beat some more.  Beating is the key to making the cream filling!  Transfer the cream filling to a mixing bowl, cover it with saran wrap, and set it in the refrigerator to chill. 

Next, create the chocolate frosting.  Begin by sifting the powdered sugar, salt and cocoa powder together, then set aside.  After that, heat the vegetable oil on medium low heat in a large saucepan.  Add the marshmallows and stir continuously until they are melted.  After that, add the milk, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract.  Stir until the mixture turns into  frosting consistency.  Set aside (do not refrigerate, it will harden!). 

Finally, it's time to create the phyllo shells.  First, create tinfoil molds that you will use to create the shells.  Cut six pieces of tinfoil into 12 inch x 6 inch rectangles. Take each tin foil rectangle and roll it up, in a jelly roll fashion, leaving about a 1 inch opening in the middle.  Spray each tin foil mold with canola oil and sprinkle them with a little sugar. 

Now, take two pieces of phyllo stacked on top of each other and cut them into thirds lengthwise.  Spray the phyllo with the canola oil and sprinkle with sugar. Place a tinfoil roll on one stack of a phyllo strip and roll it up in a jelly roll fashion. Spray the phyllo roll with canola and sprinkle with sugar. Place the roll on a cookie sheet with wax paper or sprayed with canola oil.  Repeat again until you get 6 rolls.  This will require 4 sheets of phyllo.  (refer to picture below if you need some guidance)

Place the phyllo rolls in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.  Once they are cooked, transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool completely.  I found that placing a knife in the center of the roll is the easiest way to transfer the rolls to the cooling rack.

Once the phyllo rolls have cooled, twist the ends of the tin foil until they are loosened from the phyllo itself and gently pull the tinfoil out from the phyllo roll.  Be careful, the phyllo is delicate! 

Now you can finally assemble the eclairs.  Transfer the cream filling to a piping bag or a zip-loc bag with a hole snipped off of the end.  Pipe the filling inside the eclair.  Do the same with the chocolate frosting.  Transfer the frosting to a piping bag or zip-loc back with a hole snipped off of the end.  Pipe some frosting on the top of the eclair.  Dust with some powder sugar, and finally...ENJOY!  Serve immediately, phyllo will wilt and become soft in the ref

I know this seems like a lot of work, but if you are having a lazy Sunday like I was, it's worth it! :) 

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