Make Ahead

Shunt-Éclair, Flourless Walnut Cake

June 10, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 10 to 12
Author Notes

My dear aunty Klara often made this divine cake for special family events.
Then I took over this tradition. A few years ago I was looking in my recipe notebook for a cake for Passover, and there it was the perfect one, my favorite Shunt-éclair.
I think the name of the cake came from the filling, it is the same pastry cream as in éclairs.

What You'll Need
  • Ingredients for the crusts: makes 3 (10-inches in diameter crusts)
  • • 12 large egg whites
  • • 1 ½ cups organic granulated sugar
  • • 4 1/2 cups finely ground toasted walnuts
  • • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • Ingredients for the Pastry Cream:
  • • 2 cups whole milk
  • • 6 large egg yolks
  • • 1 cup organic granulated sugar
  • • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • • 1 vanilla bean split open in half lengthwise and the beans scraped
  • • Zest of 1 lemon
  • • 3-4 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. To make the crusts: Carefully separate the eggs while they are cold into two bowls. Set the bowl with egg whites, over a pan of barely simmering water; add lemon juice and salt and whisk until it is warm to the touch, about 3 to 5 minutes (the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the simmering water).
  3. Take of the bowl and continue whisking until soft peaks forms. Gradually add sugar, and beat until stiff and shiny.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the walnuts and lemon zest. Gently fold in the fluffy egg whites in four additions. Divide the batter in 3 equal portions.
  5. Bake each crust on buttered parchment paper in a 10- inches tart pan with a removable bottom. Check on the crusts, do not let them get to dark, they bake very fast and should be light golden brown. Cool the crusts completely before taking of the parchment paper rounds.
  6. To make the Pastry Cream: In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, vanilla pod and beans plus 1 cup sugar. Scald the mixture and immediately remove from heat. Beat egg yolks with remaining 1cup sugar until thick. Sprinkle in cornstarch and continue beating until well mixed.
  7. Discard the vanilla pod. Slowly add half of the hot milk into yolk mixture. Return this to the remaining hot milk and bring to a boil quickly, whisking very fast to prevent scorching, until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in butter and strain into a bowl to cool.
  8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming; cool to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely. Can be made a few hours or 1 day ahead.
  9. To assemble the cake: Cover layers of the cake with the pastry cream, chill and then finish the cake with a beautiful chocolate Ganache.
  10. To make the Chocolate Ganache: In a sauce pan, bring to a simmer 3/4 cup heavy cream. Pour over 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (chopped) and 1 teaspoon of Instant coffee, mix until smooth and shiny. Stir in 2 tablespoons of cold butter and 1 tablespoon of dark rum; cool to room temperature; then pour all over the chilled cake.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gabby Finlinson
    Gabby Finlinson
  • VanessaS
  • ChristineB
  • inpatskitchen
  • Kukla

6 Reviews

Gabby F. October 13, 2016
I don't know if anyone else has actually tried this recipe. Firstly, the instructions are a little off. There isn't even a baking time listed. Additionally, the amount of sugar doesn't add up in the ingredients and then below in the instructions. I have been incredibly frustrated in attempting to make this cake. I tried to make it for my mother for her birthday. The filling was a complete fail. It didn't set. There was really no way to remedy this. I added tapioca to try to thicken it. It didn't work. I was really hoping that this would be an incredible surprise for my mom for her birthday, but it was really just a complete fail. I am on my way out the door to purchase a gluten free cake. Don't bother. Point five stars out of five.
VanessaS June 13, 2011
Yum, looks great!
ChristineB June 11, 2011
This looks amazing!
Kukla June 11, 2011
Thank you ChristineB!
inpatskitchen June 10, 2011
This is beautiful!!
Kukla June 11, 2011
Thank you for your comment!