Voluptuous cream-filled éclairs used to be the big girl’s blouse of patisserie shops. But the premier league’s pastry chefs have been at them, and those super-sized fingers of indulgence have been treated to an haute couture makeover.
This season’s choux pastry fillers include fruity éclairs inspired by retro piña colada and mojito cocktails at Marylebone’s Pierre Marcolini. Even the toppings sigh with extravagance – expect miniature meringues, dried raspberry dust, and gold leaf flourishes. Floral fragrance gets a look-in at Melba, the Savoy’s new pastry shop, where new-wave fillings include rosewater matched with lychee and raspberry. If you’re serious about accessorising your afternoon tea with style, check out South Kensington’s Maître Choux for perfectly baked pastry, creative creams, and seriously good looks. Surprise fillings include reimagined popular puds such as lemon pie crowned with a ruff of meringue and creamy tiramisu. Such frivolity doesn’t come cheap. Prices point skyward of a fiver each, so start saving your milk money now.
Cocking a snook at artisan presentations, Maison Bertaux likes its choux fingers fat, and filled with a booty of whipped cream. And other patisseries just fly the flag for straight-up coffee and chocolate éclairs. You won’t find salted caramel and violet-scented éclairs at Patisserie Sainte-Anne in west London, or at north London’s Aux Pains de Papy and Belle Epoque, but they do offer no-nonsense éclairs, best enjoyed with a steamy brew.
By Roopa Gulati
Want more sweet treats? Take a look at the best ice cream sandwiches in London.