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Éclairs at Fauchon in Paris
Éclairs at Fauchon in Paris
Place of originFrance
Associated national cuisineFrench cuisine
Main ingredientsChoux pastry, flavoured cream filling, icing
A classic éclair

An éclair (/ˈklɛər/,[1] /ɪˈklɛər/;[2] French pronunciation: ​[e.klɛʁ]) is a pastry made with choux dough filled with a cream and topped with a flavored icing. The dough, which is the same as that used for profiterole, is typically piped into an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until it is crisp and hollow inside. Once cool, the pastry is filled with custard (crème pâtissière), whipped cream or chiboust cream, then iced with fondant icing.[3] Other fillings include pistachio- and rum-flavoured custard, fruit-flavoured fillings, or chestnut purée. The icing is sometimes caramel, in which case the dessert may be called a bâton de Jacob.[4] A similar pastry in a round rather than oblong shape is called a Religieuse.


Bakers in Belgium using a machine to make éclairs

The word comes from the French éclair, meaning "flash of lightning", so named because it is eaten quickly (in a flash);[5] however some believe that the name is due to the glistening of the frosting resembling lightning.[6]


The éclair originated during the nineteenth century in France where it was called "pain à la Duchesse"[7] or "petite duchesse" until 1850.[8] The word is first attested both in English and in French in the 1860s.[9][10] Some food historians speculate that éclairs were first made by Antonin Carême (1784–1833), the famous French chef.[citation needed] The first known English-language recipe for éclairs appears in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln, published in 1884.

North America[edit]

Some pastry chains in the United States and Canada[11] market Long John doughnuts as éclairs or éclair doughnuts. In the United States there is National Chocolate Eclair Day which is celebrated on the 22nd of June annually.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "éclair". Macmillan Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2013-11-30.
  2. ^ "eclair". Oxford Learner's Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2014-06-19.
  3. ^ Montagné, Prosper, Larousse gastronomique: the new American edition of the world's greatest culinary encyclopedia, Jenifer Harvey Lang, ed., New York: Crown Publishers, 1988, p. 401 ISBN 978-0-517-57032-6
  4. ^ (Montagné 1961, p. 365, Éclair)
  5. ^ Éclair Archived 2014-01-04 at the Wayback Machine, Dictionnaire de l'Académie française, 8th edition
  6. ^ "Éclair - Why is It Named After Lightning?". www.lexicolatry.com. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  7. ^ (Gouffé 1873, p. 288)
  8. ^ (Montagné 1961, p. 357, Duchesses)
  9. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1861. Petit Larousse, 1863.
  10. ^ (Gouffé 1873, p. 288) "On a changé, depuis une vingtaine d'années, le nom de ces gâteaux [pains à la duchesse] : on les désigne actuellement sous le nom d'éclairs."
  11. ^ "Krispy Kreme Doughnuts". www.krispykreme.com. Archived from the original on 27 October 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  12. ^ "National Chocolate Eclair Day". nationaltoday.com. 22 June 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2022.


  • Gouffé, Jules (1873). "Deuxième Partie, Chapitre IX, "Pains à la duchesse au café"". Le livre de pâtisserie.
  • Montagné, Prosper (1961). Larousse Gastronomique, The Encyclopedia of Wine, Food & Cookery (English translation).

External links[edit]