**This post was originally published on HonestCooking.com, a brand new online food magazine, for which I am a contributor. The website launched in March, and it is a great new resource for recipes, travel, restaurant reviews and foodie opinion pieces. Check it out here!**
I had no clue that I held a secret, deep down, buried-in-the-depths-of-my-soul obsession with eclairs. I feel that this love/want/desire/need has always been there, waiting to be discovered, but I don't think I have been exposed to a serious eclair in the 26 years I have been on this pastry-filled planet.
People think I am insane when I tell them that I don't really like sweets that much. Then their jaws drop the rest of the way to the floor when I say I am just not that into chocolate. Then they practically faint when I follow that up with the news that I am in pastry school and I tend to spend my days making cakes and confections for showers and weddings, treats which I am not really tempted to eat. I know what tastes good, but just a taste is enough for me. The pleasure I get from sweets and desserts is the process, the ritual, the craft, and the art of making them, just not necessarily eating them.
It doesn't make any sense, I know, but there are important exceptions to my general ambivalence towards desserts, and one of those exceptions is shaped like a log, filled with pastry cream, and dipped in chocolate.
I have finally discovered what may be my perfect dessert. It starts with a neutral, fairly un-sweet pastry shell, which is similar to one of my great loves, the popover. Then you fill said shell with an amazing thick, rich, and refreshing pastry cream. I could stop here and be the happiest girl in the world. But adding just a very thin layer of chocolate ganache to the top takes it to pastry perfection. The chocolate adds just the perfect amount of sweetness, and coming from me, the typically chocolate-abstaining baker, says a lot to the importance of this component.
There are a few steps involved here, but each separate component is fairly simple and can be made a bit in advance if you aren't up for tackling the entire project in one go. My guess is though, once you start the process, you won't want to stop until you are biting into the creamy goodness that is the chocolate eclair. Try to save at least a few to share with others, you may win some hearts and make new friends. They are that good.