Black Sesame Éclairs

I think I may be a tad obsessed with Japanese pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki. I’m on an Aoki binge. Three weeks ago, I created his legendary salted caramel and milk chocolate tarts using a robot I had built just for the project.

I reverse engineered the recipe for Sadaharu Aoki's legendary black sesame éclairs, one of the highest rated pastries in Paris.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a lengthy éclair tutorial primarily based on his acclaimed (but previously untranslated from Japanese) method. This week, I am sharing the results of my efforts to reverse engineer his black sesame éclair, one of the highest rated pastries in Paris together with his salted caramel and milk chocolate tart.

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Tutorial: Éclairs & Choux Paste

According to The Chambers English Dictionary, at least in a pre-1970s version, an éclair is “a cake, long in shape but short in duration”. In a standard French dictionary, you’ll find that an éclair is not only a pastry, but also a flash of lightning.

Perfecting the French Éclair: A 4000+ Word Tutorial That Covers Every Little Detail

Food historians don’t quite agree as to why the pastry’s name means a flash of lightning in French—some believe the pastry’s moniker is a result of how quickly its eaten (“eaten in a flash”), while others claim its due to the fact that it sparkles when coated with glaze, like lightning. Regardless of its name, éclairs are undoubtedly delicious if made correctly. But they’re usually not.

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Raspberry Éclairs

Behind a beige desk, on a green metal chair connected securely to the desk by a thick piece of metal, is my spot. Every day, very carefully, I must climb over the bar to sit in my spot – a spot that must be fought for daily. If I stop in the hall to tie my shoe, I lose the spot and am banished to the back of the room. Law class is so argumentative that there are even arguments about seating. We are so loud that we close the door to the hallway to keep the hallway quiet.

Raspberry éclair with pink fondant and fresh fruit

M stood up to close the wooden door that separated our dystopia from the hallway. My phone began to ring. Usually, it just vibrates. But this time it rang, and quite loudly too. I had to take it out of my pocket to turn it off – I could not wait for it to simply finish ringing. That was a challenge though because of the desk design. The only way I could take my phone out was if I got up from my desk. I slid out the left side and placed my hand into my pocket, grabbing the ringing phone. I flipped it over to read the caller ID as I was turning it off. It was an important call that I couldn’t miss.

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