Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The History of Eclairs

Éclair is the French word for lightning. It is believed that the pastry received its name because it sparkles when coated with confectioner's glaze.

Not much is known about the origin of the éclair, but it is known to have originated in France around the turn of the nineteenth century. Many food historians speculate that éclairs were first made by Marie-Antoine Carême, a famous pastry chef for French royalty.

So, what exactly are the éclairs? A true éclair is a long, thin pastry made with choux pastry filled with a cream and topped with icing.The dough, which is the same as that used for profiterole, is piped into an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until it is crisp and hollow inside. Once cool, the pastry then is filled with...pastry cream (crème pâtissière), custard or whipped cream, and topped with fondant icing."
Of course, if that seems a bit long, this definition for the éclair seems rather concise: according to the Chambers English Dictionary, an éclair is “a cake, long in shape but short in duration.”


Read more about it at www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1613,149190-228193,00.html
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1 c. water
1/2 c. butter
1 c. flour
4 eggs
Bring to rolling boil water and butter. Take off heat. Add flour and stir with spoon until ball can be formed. Add eggs. Beat like crazy. Mix until dough is very stiff; otherwise it will run all over pan. Drop by full teaspoons onto a cookie sheet for individual serving; put in a circular ring or in a strip.
Bake 45-50 minutes at 400°F. Cool out of draft.
2 pkg. instant French vanilla pudding
2-1/2 c. milk
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix pudding and milk. Mix well. Fold in Cool Whip and vanilla. Slice eclair in half and fill generously with entire amount of filling. Replace top of eclair. Drizzle top of eclair with Chocolate Sauce.
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/3 c. canned (evaporated) milk
1/2 c. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Melt chocolate chips and butter together. Gradually add milk and powdered sugar. Bring to boil. Stir continuously. Boil for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Makes 3/4 quart.

About the author:
Revaz Jebirashvili owns Petite Desserts, an online bakery store which specializes in miniature pastries infused with gourmet flavors with delicate and unique design. To find out more about Mini Chocolate Éclairs visit us at:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The History of Petit Fours

       Petit four, which simply means "small oven," is the precise name for those miniature cakes that you find on trays at parties and on the table at elegant dinners. These mini-pastries are made out of cream and fruits. The ability of chefs to create new and special kinds of petit fours is boundless. Petit fours can be served as appetizers and as a full meal, depending on the circumstance.

       If you are unsure why appetizers would be called little ovens, here is the answer for you. In 19th century France, there were no gas ovens. The breadmaker’s oven was the single type of oven during that time. It was a huge cabin made out of stone, underneath which one would lit a fire. These types of ovens took a long time to get going, became really hot for some time, and then took a long time to die. In addition, it didn't really have a knob one could turn to modify the heat. In fact, it only had two settings. The first setting was the grand four, big oven, where the fire was at its strongest. This setting was used when the roasts, the boars, the pigs, the beef ribs, the platters of vegetables and potatoes were placed in to bake. The second setting was the petit four, when the fire started to die out and the heat to weaken. This setting was used when one could bake individual pastries and bite-size appetizers to serve with tea. This is how these novelty foods were named petit fours, describing the way they were prepared.

About the author:
Revaz Jebirashvili
owns Petite Desserts, an online bakery store which specializes in miniature pastries infused with gourmet flavors with delicate and unique design. To find out more about Petit Fours visit us at: http//www.petite-desserts.com