Posts Tagged With: Marie Antoine Careme

National Chocolate Éclair Day

I do d’éclair, today’s food holiday is very rich and very sweet. Just like the citizens of its country of origin. June 22 is National Chocolate Éclair Day!

Last year on this date we celebrated onion rings. The summer months were full of sweets, and we jumped at the chance to indulge in something savory instead. Which is not to say we don’t love chocolate éclairs. After all…who wouldn’t?

Éclair is the French word for lightning. There are two theories over how it got its name: either because of the way it “sparkles” when confectioner’s glaze is sprinkled over the top, or the fact that it is so delicious it’s eaten quickly (in a “flash”). If that second fact were true, we might be calling pizza an éclair instead, so I’m not sure about that. The original name was pain à la duchesse, but this was a pain à la ass to say, so in 1850 it became simply an éclair. As with many foods, we don’t know exactly who invented the dessert, though many speculate it was the brainchild of Marie-Antoine Carême, a well-known pastry chef in France around the turn of the nineteenth century. A true éclair is a long, thin pastry made with choux dough, filled with cream or custard and topped with icing. There are many different flavors of cream and icing that can be used, but the most common one, at least in these parts, is filled with a vanilla cream and topped with chocolate icing. Hence, the name of the holiday. In some parts of the country éclairs are called “long johns,” but the only long johns I know are worn in the frigid winter months to protect your legs from freezing.

I was buying fresh produce from a market across the street today, and picked up an éclair from their bakery section. As you can imagine, it was all kinds of awesome.

National Chocolate Eclair Day

 

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Categories: Desserts, Pastry | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

331/365: National Bavarian Cream Pie Day

If you’re a pie fan, you’ll enjoy today’s holiday Bavaria much. November 27 is National Bavarian Cream Pie Day!

The day before Thanksgiving isn’t ideal for celebrating a pie, but there’s nothing we can do about that pesky calendar. In a perfect world, we would at least be honoring pumpkin pie, but nope. That one’s coming up later in the year. On Christmas Day, as a matter of fact, which is going to be all sorts of fun because we traditionally have cheesecake that day. Ahh well, by then we’ll just have a few days left in the challenge, and will probably just be glad that it’s nearly over!

Bavarian cream is a gelatin-based pastry cream invented by Marie Antoine Carême, a legendary French chef (he’s a dude; don’t be fooled by that name) who is considered the forefather of haute cuisine and is often called “the chef of kings, and the king of chefs.” He was sort of the Gordon Ramsay of his day, I suppose, only minus a few thousand f-words. It was named after Bavaria, a state in Germany, of course. The first recipe in an American cookbook appeared in D.A. Lincoln’s Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book: What to Do and What Not to Do in Cooking in 1884. Fannie Farmer got in on the action in 1896, with her own recipe. While Bavarian cream is delicious on its own, it has since become a popular pie filling that requires two hours of refrigeration and nothing more. Other than the ingredients, time, and labor used in preparing the cream itself and the pie crust, of course. But other than that – easy peasy!

To celebrate, I made a miniature pie, a trick I learned early this year. The Bavarian cream was a simple mixture of cream cheese, instant vanilla pudding mix, milk, and Cool Whip. I used refrigerated pie dough and lined a mini tin with that, baked it (in the toaster oven, no less) and topped with the Bavarian cream filling. It was surprisingly delicious!

Tara couldn’t resist digging into it with her fingers. 🙂

National Bavarian Cream Pie Day

Categories: Desserts, Pastry | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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