Éclair-ing in Paris, a.k.a. J’aime l’éclairs!
I am going to be completely honest and tell you that one of the things I was anticipating the most about our short trip to Paris (with much excitement) was the chance to indulge my sweet tooth with some of those delicious and beautiful french pastry delights. So, you can imagine my excitement when my eyes alighted upon these:
Have you ever seen such decadent, delicious looking éclairs? As soon as we saw them, we knew it was éclair-o’clock, without a doubt. I fleetingly toyed with the idea of sampling one of the pistache variety (that green topping was outrageous and looked like fun!), and PJD boldly declared it would be the café flavoured éclair for him. But when it came time to order, the truth was that neither of us could go past good ol’ tried and true chocolat.
By the way. Before you ask. The answer is yes. I am happy to report that these beauties did taste as delicious as they look. Absolutely. And I have sampled a few in the past… I have very fond memories of baking batches of chocolate éclairs with my Gran when I was younger, albeit of much smaller sizes than these Parisian ones!
An éclair is only as good as the sum of its three parts: light, slightly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside choux pastry; rich, creamy filling (in this case, chocolate crème patissière); and silky smooth sweet ganache or icing. Everything was right about these éclairs, and whilst I would like to say that we regretted getting one each, given their size, I don’t think either of us did. I’m sure no self-respecting French woman would indulge in such a way (it’s all about portion control, or something like that, right?!), but combined with the rich, creamy French-style chocolat chaud, I admit my Parisian pastry dreams were fulfilled. It will certainly be a while until I have the chance to sample such pastry deliciousness again, but maybe I will be brave and try Raymond Blanc’s recipe for éclairs (which he says are simple…) sometime. If I am feeling really brave, maybe I will document that experiment here on foldedcranes.
Oh and one other thing certainly added to the experience: with its blue, orange and gold decor details, I think this may have been one of the coolest cafes I have ever been to.
Photos by CIA, Musee d’Orsay Fifth Floor Cafe, Paris, June 2012.