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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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éclair a small pastry made by piping choux pastry in fingers; when baked, the pastry is split in half. French éclairs au chocolat are filled with chocolate-flavoured crème pâtissière and iced with chocolate fondant icing; a similar version flavoured with coffee and topped with coffee glacé icing is also made. English éclairs are more likely to be filled with whipped cream, often vanilla flavoured, and the top dipped in melted chocolate.

Éclairs are used to make a religieuse (‘nun’). A base of the sweet pastry which the French call pâte sucrée (see under shortcrust in pastry) with a mound of crème Chiboust (crème pâtissière with egg whites) or chocolate mousse in the middle is surrounded with chocolate and coffee éclairs propped vertically, and stripes of whipped cream piped between them. The whole is topped with a cream bun, and vaguely resembles a short, plump nun in a habit.