The beloved French pastry received a 21st century revamp. It looks—and tastes—better than ever. “You’re having that…at lunch?” I asked my Parisian friend Pauline, when we went for a midday picnic just outside the 15th arrondissement. It wasn’t the ham and cheese on a crunchy baguette that surprised me but, rather, the long, glistening, dark chocolate éclair.
“Why not? I love these!” she exclaimed.
“They’re too precious to be an everyday luxury.” I teased. Surely éclairs must be reserved for Sunday brunch with family or holiday gatherings.
“Mais non! I’ve eaten them regularly my entire life. It’s like biting into a piece of my childhood,” she said, with a wistful look in her eyes. “Don’t you have a favorite treat?”
I immediately recalled my childhood fondness for humble chocolate pudding, but in comparison to her éclair, it felt too trivial to mention.
Pauline’s reverie over the éclair isn’t unusual. For an entire nation, the oblong choux—an airy puff pastry also used to make profiteroles and beignets, traditionally filled with vanilla cream and glazed with chocolate—embodies the essence of gourmandise, an affectionate word for serious indulgence.
“It’s one of the first grown-up treats given to children,” explained Xavier Pichon, second in command at Stohrer, Paris’s oldest pâtisserie, when I visited the pastry shop. “That’s mostly because it’s so easy to eat.”
A tot in a stroller can clutch an éclair between tiny fingers, and in a few bites it’s gone, with minimal mess. An adult’s appreciation is rooted not only in nostalgia but also in a profound respect for the baking skills required to master such a seemingly simple dessert.
Continue reading here the article written By Lindsey Tramuta complete with a delicious and detailed éclair recipe so you can make it at home!
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