Seeing as it was my birthday yesterday, I decided to treat myself to an eclair (okay two) from L’Eclair de Genie, a creative eclair shop in the Marais that happens to be dangerously close to my apartment. Eclairs are giving macarons a run for their money as the city’s treat of choice. Shops selling the small confections in an array of unique flavors are popping up around town. At L’Eclair de Genie offerings include raspberry passionfruit, salted caramel and pistachio orange. Topped with jewel toned glazes and gold leaf, they’re as pretty as they are tasty.
My love of eclairs goes way back. When my mom would take my sisters and me grocery shopping at our neighborhood store, if we were good, she would let us pick out a special treat from the pastry case. Always intrigued by anything French, and thinking they were elegant, I usually went for the eclair. I loved the combination of sugary chocolate icing, light chewy pastry and creamy custard that oozed out every time I took a bite.
The eclairs at L’Eclair de Genie remind me of the one I loved as a child, but they’re also lighter and more complex. The choux pastry is incredibly spongy and not the least bit dense or dry. The filling of the pistachio orange has a refreshing citrus punch that melds nicely with the sweet pistachio glaze. The praline noisette topped with caramelized hazelnuts is smoky and nutty and the caramel beurre sale or salted caramel, filled with mascarpone cream and topped with a decadent caramel glaze, is the perfect combination of salty and sweet.
When I entered the sleek modern shop yesterday and looked at the architectural eclairs lined up in perfect rows, I found it very difficult to pick just one so, as usually happens to me in bakeries, I quickly caved and got two. Sampling different flavors is just way too much fun, but at 5 euros a pop they probably should be reserved for special occasions. Good thing it was my birthday, but then again, when you’re in Paris do you really need an excuse?
14 Rue Pavee, 4e
Paris, France, 75004