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Chocolate Éclair (French)

An éclair is a delicate, individual pastry made with choux paste (choux paste, pâte à choux, cream puff pastry dough). The dough is piped from a pastry bag in an oblong or log shape on baking pans, and baked until it is crisp and hollow inside. It is either filled from a hole made in one end, or split lengthwise and filled. The filling is traditionally a vanilla pastry cream (crème pâtissière) or whipped cream, and usually topped with a chocolate fondant or confectioners’ glaze. Other fillings include coffee and rum flavored custard, fruit flavored fillings or chestnut purée, and the topping is usually flavored the same as the filling.

As an English language word, its’ first appearance was in the 1706 edition of Edward Phillips' New World of English Words:

'Petits Choux, a sort of Paste for garnishing, made of fat Cheese, Flour, Eggs, Salt, etc., bak'd in a Pye_pan, and Ic'd over with fine Sugar.'

It did not really come into general use until the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth century.

I believe the most accurate definition is to be found in Chambers English Dictionary (1988). It defines an éclair as:

'a cake, long in shape but short in duration'

Chocolate Éclair

Chef James EhlerThis article is from Chef James Ehler of Key West, Florida.

James is a webmaster, cook, chef, writer and (like me) a self-confessed computer nerd. He is the former executive chef of Martha's Steak & Seafood Restaurant and the former Reach Hotel (both in Key West), the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the New Bern Golf and Country Club, North Carolina.

He is now webmaster and cook at the Blue Heaven Restaurant in Key West while he works on his Food Encyclopedia (five years so far). It is well worth paying a visit to James' food reference website which is a useful resource well worth Bookmarking - to visit either website just click on their title:

The Food Reference Website
The Blue Heaven Restaurant, Key West, Florida

© James T. Ehler, 2001
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