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Home Videos & Articles I'll Take an Eclair, Please

I'll Take an Eclair, Please


Move over macaroons, the city's latest "it" pastry is the eclair, taking Paris by storm with new specialty boutiques like L' Atelier de L' eclair and L' eclair de Genie churning out gourmet creations with traditional Parisian flair. Sebastien Gaudard, a patissier who is on a one-man mission to bring back the traditional pastry recipes of yesteryear, also makes a wonderful tasting eclair. Another favorite of Parisians can be found at La Patisserie des Reves near Le Bon Marche. 

There is more sweet news! Alain Ducassse has opened his first chocolate shop near the Bastille. Here, he transforms raw cocoa beans into divine treats that are not to be missed. You will definitely want to save room in your luggage to take some home for friends and family to taste.

Some traditionalists are upset by the macaroon being replaced by the eclair as the more popular choice for a sweet treat. What most people don't know, is that the eclair is every bit as French as the macaroon.

The eclair originated during the nineteenth century in France where it was called pain a la duchesse or petite duchesse until 1850. Since then, it has become a popular pastry over the entire world. The origin of the word eclair is English and French and dates back to the 1860's. Some food historians speculate that eclairs were first made by Antonin Careme, the famous French chef. The first known English language recipe for eclairs appears in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, which was published in 1884.

The dough, which is the same as that used for profiteroles, is typically piped into an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until it is crisp and hollow inside. Once cool, the pastry is then filled with vanilla, coffee or chocolate flavored custard or with whipped cream. It is then iced with fondant icing. Other less traditional fillings include pistachio and rum flavored custard, fruit flavored fillings or chestnut puree. The icing can also be made from caramel, in which case the dessert may be called a baton de Jacob. 

In some parts of the United States, Long Johns are marketed under the name eclairs, though the two are not identical in taste or looks. A Long John uses donut pastry and is typically filled with vanilla pudding or custard, making it a simpler and inexpensive alternative to the eclair.

If your mouth is watering right now, it's time to plan that trip to Paris you've always dreamed of. Our Experts are well traveled in Paris and throughout France. They are a perfect choice in helping you put your perfect itinerary to France together.

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