Éclair is an oblong pastry with whipped cream or custard filling. Not much is known about the origin of it, but it is known to have originated in France. The first known recipe for éclairs appears in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Mrs D.A Lincoln, published in 1884.
Many food historians speculate that éclairs were first made by Marie-Antoine Carême, a very well known French chef at the beginning of the 19th century. He was abandoned by his parents in Paris when he was only eight years old so by fourteen he had already started working in kitchens to be able to pay his room and board. Quickly this necessary way for living grew to become his passion.
Éclair is the French word for lightning and it is believed that the pastry received its name because it glistens when coated with confectioner’s glaze.
Picture: Chocolate éclair
Prep time: less than 30 min
Cooking time: 30 min to 1 hour
Servings: 8-12 éclairs
1 tsp caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
50g dark chocolate, chopped
150g fondant icing sugar
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
200g plain flour
450ml double cream
Preheat the oven to 200 C° and prepare a greaseproof paper on a baking tray.
Start with heating the butter and water until the butter has melted. Beat the flour, sugar and salt into the mixture untill it´s smooth and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth and glossy. Set aside untill it has cooled down. When the mixture has cooled spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a medium size nozzle.
Pipe 12.5cm lines of the dough onto the baking tray and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Take the éclairs from the oven and set aside to cool, best if possible on a wire rack.
While you are waiting for the éclairs to cool, heat the dark chocolate and two tablespoons of water in a saucepan until the chocolate has melted. Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl, then add the melted chocolate and water and beat until the mixture is smooth and thickened. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag.
Now whip the double cream in a bowl until stiff peaks just form when the whisk is removed. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle. Carefully insert the nozzle into the base of the éclairs and fill with cream.
Pipe the fondant chocolate on top of the éclairs and set aside until set.