I would not be lying if I said that it has been a good seven years since I have obsessed over making the perfect eclair. It began when I first worked for Thomas Keller, who has an affinity for the pastry in question. I would have to add croissants and chocolate chunk cookies to that list, items which I also spent many nights pondering how to master them and subdue them. Croissant, done. Chocolate chunk, done. Pate a choux? Now, finally, maybe. You may think, what is the big deal? If you have seen the eclairs from Fauchon or Christophe Michalak, you will understand why they are a big deal. When you see the monstrosities you can buy at most pastry shops, giant blobs of soggy pastry filled with chunky cream and a coating of sad glaze, you will perhaps appreciate what it takes to make them the complete opposite of that. Crappy choux is easy. Perfect choux is not. It's a big deal to make something that doesn't want to look even, look even.
Every two or three months, sometimes up to six, I would re-embark on this grail-like quest. Each time a disappointment. A new idea to test out, that would end in a miserable failure.
This new piece though, is the result of adding all of those ideas I have had to make choux work, and I think it is almost there.
The glazing needs some work, but that is not even a matter of choux, it's just fondant glaze, and that will be a smaller Everest to climb.
Hooray for evenly shaped choux.