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Servings: 4-5
About Eclairs

The food history encyclopedias (including the Larousse Gastronomique) and reference books all describe eclairs but provide little if any details regarding their origin. This probably means the eclair is a product of food evolution. There is some conjecture that perhaps Antonin Careme (1784-1833), a famous pastry chef for French royalty might have created something akin to eclairs. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the term "eclair" in the English language to 1861 Vanity Fair [magazine] 2 Feb 50/1. "A Waiter, whereon, stood a plate of macaroons, eclairs and sponge cake." In French, the word eclair means a flash of lightning.

This is the oldest recipe for eclairs.

Source: Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Mrs. D.A. Lincoln [1884] (p. 389).

1 cup (8 oz.) hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./113g) butter
1 1/2 cup pastry flour
5 eggs, yolks and whites beaten separately

1 pint (2 cups/16 oz/473mL) milk, boiled
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup granulated or superfine baker's sugar (caster sugar)
1 teaspoon salt, or 1 teaspoon butter

For the Eclairs:
Boil the water, salt, and butter. When boiling, add the dry flour, stir well for five minutes, and when cool add the eggs. This is such a stiff mixture, many find it easier to mix with the hand, and some prefer to add the eggs whole, one at a time.

Bake mixture in pieces four inches long and one and a half wide. When cool, split and fill with cream. Ice with chocolate or vanilla frosting.

For the Custard:
Wet the cornstarch in cold milk, and cook in the boiling milk ten minutes. Beat the eggs; add the sugar and the thickened milk. Cook in the double boiler five minutes. Add the salt or butter, and when cool, flavor with lemon, vanilla, or almond.

The custard filling can be substituted with a sweetened whipped cream filling, if desired.

Makes 4-5 servings.

Source: Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Mrs. D.A. Lincoln [1884] (p. 389)

Submitted By: Joanne Teo
Date: March 21, 2004


Reviewer: kaodi
This recipe was a success. It really turned out well. I used this recipe for lot of occasions. It's a handy recipe thats easy to prepare with ingredients you can easily find at home.


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