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CultureThe French perfection of the "Little Duchess": His Majesty the Eclair

The French perfection of the “Little Duchess”: His Majesty the Eclair

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

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They are exquisite, melting in the mouth and delivering uncontrollable pleasure to the palate.

Eclairs are the living history of classic French cuisine, whose contribution to cooking around the world is, to put it mildly, huge.

The elongated steamed pastry and egg custard filling becomes a real sensation wherever it appears.

Skilled confectioners are constantly trying to improve the recipe, experimenting to find the perfect balance between taste, airy texture and appearance.

Today, chocolate eclairs remain perhaps the most popular. As you can guess, in the form of glaze, here one of the main characters is chocolate. But even if some are disappointed that it is missing in the filling, the classic egg custard manages to fill this gap without any problems.

In fact, éclair from French means “lightning”. However, why the cake gets exactly this name is not entirely known. Some say it is because of the speed with which the eclairs are eaten, and others – because of the glare and gloss of the glaze.

One thing we know for sure – the name describing the cake appeared in 1860, and before that it was called pain à la duchesse or petite duchesse (from French – “the bread of the duchess” or “the little duchess”).

However, it is still unclear who is the chef who invented the prototype of the original recipe. However, it is assumed that this is the French chef Antonin Karem, who is well known for his other recipes, such as cakes “Napoleon” and “Charlotte”.

Nowadays, eclair is reviving its popularity, reappearing on the confectionery scene with various shapes, with exotic fillings, as well as a variety of glazes, fruit temptations and ice cream.

In all its varieties, however, one thing remains the same and that is the dough – the key component without which the eclair will not be what we have known for centuries.

Steamed dough, which is used to make cakes, differs mainly in that it is prepared on the hob and has the ability to increase its volume during baking alone, without the need to add additional soda, yeast or baking powder.

The content of the products needed to make it is reduced to milk, water, sugar, butter, eggs, salt and flour.

Regardless of the shape in which the dough is baked, the result is an ethereal, almost hollow crispy sweetness, which after cooling is ready to be filled with the filling of your choice. The thicker the filling, the better, but not only because it is tastier, but also because it prevents the lower part of the eclairs from getting wet.

This way there is no danger of them falling apart in your hand when you eat them or turning into an unattractive sticky mess.

Many people worry about making steamed dough at home, which automatically deprives them of the pleasure of eating eclairs at home more often. In fact, the procedure is not so complicated and with a little guidance, love and good mood the result will amaze you.

Because what warms the soul best and powerfully raises the production of serotonin in the body, if not the perfectly prepared homemade eclair?

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