So what about French pastries? Are they really as good as their reputation? The answer is: Absolutely!
Going to a real pâtisserie is an amazing experience. One of the modern laments in France in that neighborhood bakeries are getting fewer and fewer because of the growing number of supermarkets and that many bakeries attempt to be both a pâtisserie (pastry bakery) and boulangerie (bread bakery.) It is a commonly held belief that a pâtissier (pastry chef) and a boulanger (baker), while both well-respected as professionals, have totally different skill sets. Purists argue a good boulanger cannot also be a good pâtissier. Visiting dedicated pâtisseries and trying their pastries have made me a believer of that assertion.
I thought I would discuss the classic French pastry, the éclair, first. An éclair is made with pâte à choux, a light pastry dough. The reason a pâtisserie’s expertise is required is that éclairs are baked without using any rising agent. The pâtisserie uses only the moisture in the pâte à choux dough to create steam that “puffs” the pastry.
I visited my neighborhood pâtisserie saw and smelled some incredible treats on display. The window had large empty spaces from early rising shoppers.
I purchased two éclairs and the pâtisserie proceeded to carefully box and wrap the pastries, in Tracy’s words, “like a Christmas gift from Nordstroms.”
So how do they taste? Incredibly good! The éclair’s exterior is tan and crisp with layers of soft pastry inside. The filling is actually custard, rich and thick, not whipped cream or pudding. Chocolate and coffee iced éclairs are the most common with matching chocolate and coffee custard filling inside. The richness of the pastry and custard make a single éclair a complete treat. Melt in your mouth delicious.
8 thoughts on “French Baking, Part 1: Éclair”
Can’t wait to taste these when we come visit!
We are liking this whole having visitor gig. Looking forward to having you both here. 🙂
We cannot wait to see you both, eclairs will definitely be on the menu!!
I will comment on the E’clair (can’t get that punctuation point on top of the “E) in and second.
What was funny is I wanted to translate that the first comment to see what the person said in Italian. I was getting frustrated because it wouldn’t translate. That’s because it’s in French it appears they are talking about a plug in for an Android. Sorry, I just am fascinated with translating languages with my Iphone app or on the the computer.
My mouth was literally watering reading this and looking at the pics! The header pic looks like maple?? And Tracy’s comment was spot on!
Actually a mild coffee flavor. “chocolat” and “café” are the most common flavors and both are delicious!
Je prefer une eclair, s’il tu plait! Et, je prefer il ajourd’hui!
Yum, the eclairs are to die for … especially when followed by an espresso! Miss you and Jodi, give her my love.