Sunday, December 07, 2014

Eclair Mystique et Fauchon Noel Éclat

Since I came up for air I've been immersing myself in the land of chou.

Here's a map of what I tasted yesterday and today.

While painting Jill's éclair I was struck by lightening. I asked Jill about the stunning ridges on the sides of some eclairs. They look so labor intensive. Nothing of the sort. It depends on the shape of the nozzle on your pastry bag.
C'est tout.
 Eclairs are made of the very basic pâte de chou pastry, same as the lowly, quelle ordinaire cream puff. In fact Jill says they're brother and sister, cut of the same cloth, just different shapes. One round and empty. The other long and empty. Both filled with flavored (or not/nature) creme patissiere. Yet the eclair is far more upper crust than the petite chou..well depending on their surroundings. A round chou, caramelized and set into a towering piece monté was the queen of French wedding cakes till the macaron showed and pushed it aside. Chou has been making a stylish come-back the last few years. Even pastry king Christophe Michalak now has a choux shop.

Time to visit Fauchon, maitres of the eclair and deep in the throes of holiday festive desserts.

Firstly my eye landed on the perfect marriage of chou pastry, cream puff and éclair in the savory department!

In desserts eclairs have been king for a long time at Fauchon.

Just think of this as an elongated chou/puff decked inside and out in luxurious deep chocolate.

I fell hard for their holiday  religieuse de vanille de Tahiti. (8€)
What is it? 
Two chou/puffs pasted together. That's all, with fancy clothes on, outside and in, white chocolate and so forth.

Fauchon's latest for the kids is an all-black Batman eclair. Shhhh Colored chou pastry.
Still quite a stunner.

For a witty twist on the traditional eclair Fauchon has special for the holidays mini eclair-like marzipan. Adorable no?

All this research is so exhausting. Time for an afternoon gouté(snack) of fromage blanc topped with red fruits preserves.

Fortified, I moved on to Maison Lafayette to look for more choux pastry samples. (3,50€) A chou a la crème from Sadaharu Aoki.

Why not a salad eclair? Not yet. The l'Eclair de Genie stand of Christophe Adams formerly of Fauchon and creator of the Mona Lisa éclair.

I got the vanille-cerise combo to try. (5€)

Back on Ils St.-Louis good old (empty) little puffs covered in rock sugar, chouquettes - a mere 2,50€ for 100 grams. That's a lot of choux.

Not to be missed - the new chou in town on St.-Louis, La Maison du Chou
5, rue Jean de Bellay 4e

Baked inhouse and filled before your eyes with pastry crème.
woo woo

Bottoms up.

Top down.
It doesn't get fresher that this, my absolute favorite of all the chou tasted. They have another shop in the 6th at 7, rue de Furstenberg. You can sit down and have a caffe crème should you need a little more crème in your life.

Well I hope I've dispelled some of the mystique of the eternal éclair, my mission. Clearly the little chou puff and the high falutin' éclair are joined at the hip. And mine especially after this research project. The wonderment of Parisian pastry can never be brought to far down to earth. Let's face it, we're all 5-year olds like this kiddie trying desperately to pass through glass.
What's not to love?


  1. crazy4paris12:47 PM

    Love the last pic!

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  2. So sweet:) You make us taste Paris at Christmastime..
    Love your art ma chère..comme toujours.

  3. Even the pictures seem to have calories but oh how lusciously scrumptious everything looks!

    1. Believe me I took the brunt of the calories for you.
      I am such a martyr!!

  4. My heart belongs to that little white religieuse! Perfect geometry!

  5. The Eclair has always and I'm sure always will be the most popular gateau. How great to have a chou pastry shop on your doorstep.My grandsons love the chouquettes .A simple pastry, but I always find a bit tricky to get just perfect.A very colourful & informative post.

    1. They do say the eclair is the most favored dessert in France.
      No idea why? We both will practice Jill's technique when her pastry book comes out.

  6. I see I have some research to do tomorrow. As many years as I've spent here, I've never had an eclair, except for once we had the little trendy ones--savory as well as sweet. Maybe I'm afraid to try them? Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. But if you've eaten a cream puff or a religieuese you have eaten an eclair.
      Just a different shape. Same principle.

    2. Seriously deprived. Never a cream puff nor a religieuese here in Paris. Today we fix that!

      Today is Monday.
      Everything is closed ;(
      Sooo sad

  7. Did you eat all that after you've drawn and painted them?

    1. Never! Just little bits to taste. Except the Maison du Chou...irresistable...

  8. Love your post, Carol. I can't stop looking at your stunning artwork for the book - and feel like an excited kiddie in a sweetie shop, wanting to share it soooooooon!
    Yes, I love choux in all forms as it's genius. My kids love the chouquettes, so make more choux dough than I need and that way can make some clever 'leftovers'. Yes, agree, the Maison du Chou is great - especially when they fill the buns in front of you. Glad you're coming up for puffs of air again!

  9. Lucinda7:57 AM

    What a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds!!
    I want to walk in yr shoes..

  10. I would be the one overweight Parisian if I lived there. I could not resist.


  11. Wonderful how fun!!

  12. Anonymous10:24 AM

    I am curious about the wonderful art of all the pastries that you paint so beautifully. Is this common throughout France with none or little of the type of Bakery goods I find in America. Bad cake disguised with super sweet frosting. Tasteless bread no matter how much I spend. Very disappointing. Do you have mediocre bakery goods in France or is it unlawful?

    1. Heavens! I need to get outta town more!
      Pastry in France is FAB-U-LOUS
      NOt all sequins and roses but made from the BEST INGREDIENTS>
      Standards are very high in France and government regulated for bread and croissant.
      There are competitions ALL THE TIME for the best baguette, best galette de roi, you name it. there is no slacking in France when it comes to pastry.
      Think Haute couture.

  13. Leche-ecran! You're killing me, Carol! You paintings are as beautiful as eclairs taste.

  14. Anonymous2:30 PM

    To anonymous from Gwendoline in Australia. My experience has been that wonderful patisserie is sold all over France and I have never seen any 'bad cake' or had 'tasteless bread'. In Brittany in the tiniest village the patisserie was so delicious, some things even sold in pottery containers and inexpensive. In supermarkets in the Loire Valley and Bretagne there was a big range of amazingly cheap patisserie such as fresh tarte aux pommes and tarte aux fruits. Not as sophisticated in presentation as in the top patisseries of Paris that Carol shows us, but always delicious. Bread can only contain flour, water, salt and raising. If there's anything else, by law it can't be sold as bread and you can't call your shop une boulangerie. Wish we had laws like that in Australia.

  15. I'm not an éclair fan, but these do look delicious & they have that "high end" look :)
    The all chocolate ones look nicely different.
    Love that last shot!

  16. Bonnie L8:38 PM

    Adore chouquettes! So simple, yet so yummy. Have been trying to perfect them at home...packing them into tiny brown paper sacks for my granddaughters. Is Jill's forthcoming book a how-to on chou pastry?!? If so, can't wait!

  17. Thanks again for all your research. Your fans appreciate your diligence!

  18. Une magnifique série gourmande !!! Hop, c'est décidé, je pars m'acheter un sachet de chouquettes ;)

  19. Thanks for this little taste of one of my favourite pastries Carol! I will only be in Paris fleetingly (like, a few hours) this Christmas, en route to the South West but I will seek out a choux somewhere ;)


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