I remember my first eclair like it was yesterday. Wandering lost as usual, I was struck as if by Cupid’s arrow when I walked past…
I gingerly stepped past the hand-painted, Hollandaise colored doors and into a new world. Perfectly rounded macarons, lined up in rows – just barely brushing their canele neighbors in their glass domed atrium. White powdered lemon meringues as big as my head (which I’m told is bigger than average, thanks Charlie) stacked like a Roman beehive monument. St. Honore cake wearing hats of dolloped cream. Actually, just cream as far as the eye can see – a driblet oozing from a beignet, peeking out from between the sheets of a mille-feuille, unabashedly holding up the top of the Paris-Brests.
Picking out just one pastry to grace my mouth and bless my taste buds would be like… well, choosing just one pastry from a Parisian patisserie. Luckily, I have a system for situations like this: just pick the thing with pistachio in it because God knows America has a severe under-appreciation for pistachio (and chestnuts, and figs, and good coffee). And that’s how I ended up meeting my future husband:
Seriously though. I find myself thinking about pistachio eclairs at various points during the day. Everything reminds me of them-mint green colors, mustaches, baguettes, smiles, kisses. How did I pass twenty years without knowing about this? Eclair means “lightning” in French and by golly, how your brilliance has lit up my life. It’s a faux-pas in French culture to eat and walk at the same time but I proudly strutted around the center of Paris with my eclair in my hand and some green cream on my nose.
Eclairs are essentially oblong cream-puffs, made with the same kind of base called “pâte à choux” or choux pastry or if that’s still too french for you, cream puff pastry. You whip up some flour, eggs, butter in a pot (gross simplification) to get the resulting dough (panade) that is both light and sticky (read: magical). Pop some piped panade in the oven, inject those suckers with pistachio cream, and you have arrived at the pearly gates.
Are you dying to sink your pistachio-deprived teeth into one (or five) of these yet? Then man up and make them. Recipe here.