The Choux Fits

Éclair – literally, lightning. Why the French would christen a pastry such is beyond me. But considering how I can smash one of these cream-filled choux logs in a flash, its name doesn’t seem so peculiar after all.

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I’ve become a fan of the éclairs at Caramel, the dessert café of Rotana City Centre. Unlike the more traditional kind, those are made using choux au craquelin, a streusel that is baked onto the pastry to give it a crackle-like layer resembling mosaic sugar.

Whenever I make éclairs, I usually just pipe in pastry cream and coat them in chocolate icing. But the pastry chef at Caramel told me he puts a few extra bits to make them special, and decided to show me.

I snapped a few pictures, naturally.

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It starts with the choux shells.  You can see how the streusel gives it a nice, crunchy shell.

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Flip it over and bore three small holes using a icing tip — quite brilliant really.

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Slip in a few chocolate pearls.  Adds extra crunch for a little excitement on the tongue.

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Next comes the pastry cream.  Fill in the entire log using all three holes.  Don’t be stingy now.

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Voila. The inside’s all done.

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Now dunk the top side in a bowl of icing.

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Here is where one gets creative.  For a vanilla eclair, citrus peel and a scraped-out vanilla bean are great accompaniments.

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For a berry themed one, consider fresh fruit and fresh flowers.  The broken bits are crumbled dehydrated cherries.

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Voila!  Enjoy!

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