It seems the glory days of the macaron (or “macaroon” if you want to anglicise it) are long gone and a new French fancy has taken the mantle of most Instagrammed treat.

The humble éclair has been given a makeover of Caitlyn Jenner proportions: gone is the sticky splodge of icing, replaced by silky ganache, floral appliqués or gold leaf, and that questionable crème filling now contains 68% Ecuadorian dark chocolate or Tahitian vanilla. They are also somewhat more petite than their predecessors – despite being more expensive.

L’Éclair de Génie in Paris

L’Éclair de Génie in Paris

While Christophe Adam’s L’Éclair de Génie blazes a trail for fancy éclairs in Paris and Japan, Joakim Prat’s Maître Choux is doing the same for those with sweet teeth in London.

The assortment of éclairs at Maître Choux in London

The assortment of éclairs at Maître Choux in London

The theories behind both pâtisseries are the same: dainty éclairs with perfectly light pastry, presented in unique, contemporary flavours – some of which aren’t so unique, as both outlets seem to share remarkably similar tastes.

Of course there are still the classics – the traditional dark chocolate éclair from both pâtisseries perhaps bears the most resemblance to the original format, but packs a rich, velvety punch in the crème filling and is decorated with paper-thin chocolate and delicate gold leaf.

Another former fad, salted butter caramel, appears on both menus. Maître Choux’s was delicate and light, but despite being topped with sea salt flakes I found the flavour a little lacking.  L’Éclair de Génie scored a win in this category, and with added depth from the mascarpone in the filling, it’s no wonder why this is their top-selling éclair.

L’Éclair de Génie's selection, from L-R: dark chocolate, salted butter caramel, and passion fruit raspberry

L’Éclair de Génie’s selection, from L-R: dark chocolate, salted butter caramel, and passion fruit raspberry

Lemon – or citron if you want to be proper – also features at both joints, with L’Éclair de Génie adding tangy yuzu to the mix. But it was Maître Choux’s more classic Sicilian lemon filling which took honours – especially in the stripped-back choux buns, which don’t have any icing to spoil the perfectly-pitched sourness of that lemon curd.

Despite the obvious flavour similarities, there were a couple of truly unique, stand-out varieties at each patisserie. At L’Éclair de Génie it was the passion framboise which took my fancy, the tart passion fruit balancing perfectly with sweet raspberry and a sticky, fruity glaze. Across the Channel at Maître Choux, the star of the show was the violet and berry – the latter ingredient adding a tangy twist and ensuring the floral notes remained subtle but detectable.

Sweet treats from Maître Choux, from L-R: salted caramel, Tahitian vanilla and strawberry, violet and berry, tiramisu; unfilled chouquettes; raspberry and Sicilian lemon choux buns

Sweet treats from Maître Choux, from L-R: salted caramel, Tahitian vanilla and strawberry, violet and berry, tiramisu; unfilled chouquettes; raspberry and Sicilian lemon choux buns

Priced from €4.00 and £4.90, it’s fair to say the new “treat of the moment” is a little more cost-prohibitive than the ubiquitous macaron. Will this have an impact on its ability to dominate the dessert world, just like the macaron did? Only time – and taste – will tell.

 

L’Éclair de Génie

Éclairs priced between €4.00 and €6.00.

Various locations in Paris and Tokyo.

leclairdegenie.com

 

Maître Choux

Éclairs priced between £4.90 and £5.20, choux buns between £3.00 and £3.20.

15 Harrington Road, South Kensington, UK, SW7 3ES.

Maitrechoux.com

By Lisa Tan