The Eclair: A History, a Recipe, and a Nod among the “World’s Best”

Executive Chef Tariq Hanna: He Does Eclair

Executive Chef Tariq Hanna swears by the éclair rule: “a bakery is only as good as its éclair.” Check out his interview with below!

Hey y’all! It’s been way too long. But don’t worry, this post is chalk-full of (cream-filled with?)  excitement. Since our last post, our éclairs were named among, “the world’s best” by Food and Wine Magazine. Now, not only can you pick up one of these delicious pastries in our boutiques, you can also get them delivered directly to your door via Good Eggsour official partner for local delivery here in New Orleans!  We strongly recommend this post be enjoyed with éclair in hand.

Sucré Does Eclair

After the nod (seems like more of a head banger?) we received from Food & Wine Magazine, we got to thinking: what exactly makes one of these french classics a   contender among one of the world’s best? Chef Tariq has been telling us for years that the éclair is the cornerstone to any great patisserie. It only took a month of exclusive dedication to the pastry in our stores to convince our local fans, but it seems the rest of the world has finally caught on, too. So what is it about this unique, torpedo-shaped pastry that differentiates it from any other pastries you may find it nestled between?

What’s in a Name?

Much like anything characteristically french, its origins are romantically shrouded in mystery, blurred by local legends and competing tales. Whose bakery? Which monarch? How much flour? There’s even disagreement around the origin of it’s name éclair— the french word for lightning. Some contend it’s due to the bright, glossy glaze, while others fiercely assert its due to the speed at which they’re usually consumed. Maybe in this case, we agree to disagree?

A name you’ll often come across (or maybe not so often, since the odds of you googling “history of éclairs” are slim to none), is that of Marie-Antoine Carême, a famous pastry chef among French nobility during the 19th century. Perhaps THE most famous. This guy was internationally renowned, or as internationally renowned as you can be in the 1800s, and he did it all without the help of Food Network and in the wake of the French Revolution. And have you ever seen one of these chef’s hats? Yeah, he created that too.

Keep it Simple: Pâte à Choux

For a man who is credited with the creation ofthe recipe for éclairs is surprisingly simplistic. Pâte à choux, the foundation of any éclair (as well as gougères and profiteroles) is a dough made of butter, water, milk, sugar, and eggs. Similar to the way Louisianans concoct a roux, the dough begins with milk and/or water being added to butter in a pan. Flour and a pinch of sugar and salt follows. The mixture is then piped into the oblong shape synonymous to éclairs.

And the final touches? The filling, the glazing, the toppings, oh my! This is truly where an éclair “finds itself.” Traditionally, éclairs are filled with chocolate or vanilla pastry cream, and topped with a ribbon of chocolate ganache. Yet in true haute cuisine fashion, the rule is such, that there are no rules. Chef Tariq has dreamt up éclairs encapsulating everything from s’mores to apple pie. L’Atelier de L’élclair in Paris sells only éclairs and is credited with the invention of the savory version of this light and airy treat, with “fixings ranging from foie gras to smoked salmon. For now, I think we’ll stick to the classics!

Southern Sno Balls, Macaron Style

When it comes to creating new flavors in our kitchen, Chef Tariq bases his creative process on reinterpreting comfort food and capturing the essence of classic Americana. As many of you know, nothing describes a sweltering summer in the south quite like Sno Balls. These icy treats are an undeniable staple to the New Orleans summer diet, and it’s not just because they’re incredibly refreshing–they cool us down with flavors that are so unique that we rarely get to taste them at any other time of year, or in any way except poured over shaved ice. Two of our favorites are Nectar Cream and Creamsicle, which Tariq and his team have turned into our newest Limited Edition collection of macarons.
Our Nectar Cream macaron is filled with a white chocolate ganache and boasts the classic vanilla and almond flavoring we know as nectar cream. And of course, it’s hot pink! For the Creamsicle macaron, Tariq and Sara took another Louisiana specialty–Satsumas–and made a citrusy white chocolate ganache to fill the orange shell.
Summer doesn’t last, and neither will these flavors! Get them online and in stores for a very limited time! We can’t wait to hear how you all like them!

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara Give the Sweetest Gifts in NOLA

Now that New Orleans has become the hot spot for Hollywood filming, we’ve learned to be star-struck without going crazy. So when Reese Witherspoon came in to our Magazine Street store yesterday, we kept our cool while she shopped around (and then we proceeded to go home and binge watch Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama of course).

But then Sofia Vergara posed with some of our desserts and made us look pretty on her Instagram!

Sofia Vergara
Sofia is holding our Dacquoise Rouqe, and in the box she has a Lait Praline,  Summer Berry Verrine, a S’more’s Skillet, and an S&M.

And how did Sofia show her thanks for a gift as sweet as Sucré? Monogrammed linens from Leontine Linens of course!
Leontine Linens

What a perfect exchange of Magazine Street gifts!

A huge thank you to these lovely ladies for making us part of their last days on-set in NOLA. We hope you come back soon!

Sucré Collaborates with NOLA Brewing Co. for Father’s Day

When Chef Tariq confirmed that Sucre’s Father’s Day Stout Chocolate would use NOLA Brewing Co.’s Irish Channel Stout, we knew a team trip to the Brewery was in order. The Brewery is just a few blocks away from us, and we had a blast crashing our neighbor’s party during their Friday Happy Hour. We intended only to sample the Stout and pair it with our chocolates–for research purposes of course–but the temptation to try all the craft beers on tap was too strong, and our informational field trip quickly turned into a party.

I had the chance to explore the Brewery a few days later, and this experience reminded me that, like making chocolates, brewing craft beer is a highly detail-oriented art form. Amidst the machinery and the impossibly tall towers of beer cans (no, they’re not full!), NOLA Brewing’s warehouse is home to the gear of the New Orleans Dragon’s Walking Club, which walks with the Krewe of Tucks during Mardi Gras.

I had my camera with me hoping to capture the essence of the brewery, but as soon as I walked into the warehouse, I knew there was no way to truly convey the experience on camera or with words. Like Sucre’s kitchen, the overwhelming and delicious smell of NOLA Brewing’s warehouse put an immediate smile on my face. Peter Cadoo, the Brewmaster, was brewing the NOLA Blonde Ale when I visited. He let me climb up to see (and smell) the process.

Like Sucre, NOLA Brewing Co. is a post-Katrina small business endeavor. If you take a tour on a Friday, you might get the chance to talk with Kirk Coco, the Brewery’s founder, who knew that New Orleans beer culture could revive and thrive after the storm.

Named in thanks to the Brewery’s (and our) neighborhood, The Irish Channel Stout “starts with a strong espresso front end, finishes with a touch of Baker’s Chocolate and is balanced with a crisp bitterness produced by American Hops and roasted barley.” The Stout’s rich flavor with our semisweet chocolate ganache in a dark chocolate shell is truly a winning combination that Dad (and everyone else) will love.