Another month and another Daring Bakers challenge. This month's challenge is hosted by Meeta of What's For Lunch, Honey? and Tony of Tony Tahhnan. They chose chocolate éclairs from the fabulous cookbook Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé (written by Dorie Greenspan).
The origin of this delectable pastry is unclear. Larousse Gastronomique references Catherine de' Medici's chef for the invention of pâte à choux and French chef Antonin Carême for the invention of the eclair in the 19th century. Other sources refute this as a myth, reporting recipes for filled choux pastry appearing much earlier and in many other countries. For me, an eclair is quintessentially French (the word means a flash of lightning, incidentally), whomever may have invented it, and I was thrilled to be making them.
The Pierre Hermé recipe consists of choux pastry filled with the most decadent crème pâtissière and then topped with a lovely bittersweet chocolate fondant. The rules of the challenge stated that if we could substitute one of the chocolate components (pastry cream or glaze) with whatever we liked. Because I'd never made this recipe before I wanted to taste it as intended and made it exactly as written. I topped half of the chocolate-filled eclairs with the chocolate fondant and then made a coffee fondant for the rest.