Some have attributed the origin of the éclair to legendary French Chef Marie Antonin Carême (1784-1833), but regardless of that speculation, we do know it was originally known as “pain à la duchesse” or “petite duchesse”. I am fairly sure even given their penchant for culinary largesse, the Parisians back then would not have envisaged a savoury éclair, but I am certainly glad someone did later in its historical timeline, as I have just devoured one with foie gras at the opening of La Maison de L’eclair in Bondi. Frederick and Laurence Caillon, the talented pastry team behind the multi award-winning Croquembouche Patisserie that opened in 2000, are ready to spoil us all over again with this dedicated éclair concept store.
The éclair essentially is made with choux pastry, the same used for profliteroles, in a finger like oblong shape. They are baked and then filled with cream (crème pâtissière or chiboust cream) and topped with various vibrant coloured sugary fondant icing to top off this act of pastry decadence. Now, we have all been subjected to very poorly executed imitations of what was originally intended, but to taste one hand crafted from a masterful pastry Chef, is absolutely another thing altogether, as it is a deceptively precise art. The difference is the perfect texture of the pastry, which is the very foundation of this French classic, with the lush richness of a textbook crème pâtissière or crème chiboust cream made from fresh premium ingredients.
The sheer quality of the pastry work enables it to work very effectively also in a savoury context, with some very imaginative combinations available. Smoked salmon, chicken and prosciutto all work in various guises, but foie gras and fig immediately satisfies all my guilty pleasures. Chef Frederick Caillon has developed hundreds of éclair recipes, something he has been passionate about since experiencing his first chocolate éclair in his childhood. The shop has a very large working pastry kitchen, and Whiteworks PR who promoted the launch with their usual flair, advised there is a possibility of some special events for that space. In the meantime, simply enjoy the vast range of artisan éclairs that will most surely suit and satisfy any palate preferences.
91 Bondi Road, Bondi