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Our love affair with cupcakes, cronuts and flash-in-the pan whoopee whatevers is over. So what’s the new-new thing? Pimped-up éclairs.
Recently opened patisserie Maître Choux is dedicated to choux pastry – éclairs, profiteroles and the baked sugar-crusted buns known as chouquettes.
Master pâtissier Joakim Prat is from Biarritz in south-west France, and has a career that sounds as much of a sugar rush as the pastries he now sells. His puddings previously graced plates at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon.
Prat can perform miracles with a piping bag. He doesn’t do big fat éclairs of the kind that strain at the seams with gallons of whipped cream. The ones sold here, about a dozen varieties, are slender pastry fingers, notable for their couture good looks and fabulous fillings, which include blush-pink raspberry cream scented with rosewater, pastel-hued pistachio, salted caramel, and a lemon éclair crowned with burnished meringue.
Until recently chocolate éclairs and profiteroles were the big girl’s blouse of pastries, but Japan is in the grip of a choux revolution. ‘Shu creams’ (custardy filled profiteroles) are all the rage in Tokyo.
At this choux shop, no frills are wasted on decor. There are no love seats, gilded mirrors or pretty pastry boxes tied up with ribbon. Any bling is provided by the coiffured, high-roller clientele, most of whom are blessed with big wallets and tiny waists. It’s no surprise that each éclair will set you back around a fiver.
15 Harrington Road
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