Yes, we’ll always love French macarons, but there’s a new trend in pastry right now in New York… Eclairs have taken center stage
Yes, we know. Eclairs have been a favorite for decades. But we’re not talking chocolate eclairs anymore. We’re talking a selection of mouth-watering fillings that have taken the pastry to a whole new level. And if you know where to go to find them, you’ll be hooked. We guarantee!
French macarons will never go out of fashion. Not since stores like Laduree have opened up on local shores. But now there’s a new pastry in town, one that has taken over from its humble sibling and is now offered in the very best bakeries in New York (and London, and Paris of course). Eclairs are suddenly being taken seriously. Now you can purchase them with bold, unexpected flavors and fillings, not to mention a whole new look. The humble choux pastry filled with custard or sweet cream that you find in the freezers at supermarkets is not the stuff of dreams. But those delicacies you can pick up from stores such as Maison Kayser, Bouchon Bakery and the like are something entirely different.
Forget standard fondant icing glazing the top of the éclair. Sparkling on the shelves of top New York bakeries are haute eclairs covered with meringue, chocolate or caramel. Visit Lafayette and enjoy a lemon pie éclair with a meringue topping that has been torched to perfection and a lemon curd filling so tart and sweet you won’t be able to settle for just one. But try to curb that appetite because the bakery also makes a mean ‘apple pie’ iteration with a caramelized apple filling and a lattice pastry topping. Yum. And that’s just a taste of what’s in store on the menus of Manhattan’s finest pastry shops.
Lucky for those who live in Manhattan, French bakeries abound, and some of them, such as Epicerie Boulud, Dominique Ansel, Mille Feuille, Francois Payard and Maison Kayser have multiple stores around the city. With so many French pastry chefs, it was just a matter of time before they decided to offer something new to tempt the palate, and so the simple éclair has taken on new meaning, and many new forms, each more creative than the one before.
Name a flavor, filling or topping, and you’ll find an éclair that meets the demand. Just like macarons, these bite-sized delights come in just as many colors, combinations and tastes. Fillings such as raspberry and mango are replacing vanilla pastry cream, and being combined with other delectable taste sensations too mouthwatering to mention.
Yes, Paris has also had an éclair epiphany. Whilst macarons are still a popular choice, there are currently more than four Parisian stores that specialize in eclairs of every description. King of eclairs is French pastry chef Christophe Adam, whose distinctive delicacies are brightly colored and come with extremely creative toppings, including gold leaf and white chocolate with a print of the Mona Lisa on it. He has three stores in Paris, all called L’éclair de Genie, the first of which opened in 2012. His stores are created to look like art galleries, and bright lights illuminate a choice of more than 60 eclairs.