A Short History of Eclairs

French eclairs were originally called "pain à la duchesse" until 1850. It was made of choux pastry rolled in almonds and shaped like fingers. In the 19th century, Antonin Carême, a famous pastry chef for French royalty, had the idea of removing the almonds, garnishing them with chocolate or coffee custard, and covering it with fondant sugar. The éclair was born! Eclair means “lightning” in French. People often believe that eclairs were named after the glistening sparkles on the frosting that resemble lightning bolts. Its first print reference in English was in an article in Vanity Fair in 1861, and then in Boston Cooking School Cook Book in 1884. Since then, the eclair has made a comeback in popularity and can now be seen filled with trendy fillings like matcha tea or mocha cream. The tops of the eclairs may now be decorated with fresh fruit and fanciful fruit glazes. Frozen eclairs are also to be found with ice cream fillings.