June 22nd National Chocolate Eclair Day

Why are so many of our National Holidays related in some form or way to food? For all those on a diet I apologize. Today is Chocolate Eclair Day, perhaps the most fattening and tempting treat on the planet.

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Chocolate covered dough with a creme or custard filling. Once again, thank Christopher Columbus because if it weren’t for him we would probably all have to just settle for an Eclair without the chocolate.

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How to celebrate – Have a Chocolate covered eclair today! Be thankful you can have a chocolate covered eclair today. Try making your own version of a chocolate eclair adding something that makes yours even more delicious.

June 26th National Chocolate Pudding Day

It’s National Chocolate Pudding Day! For those who love chocolate pudding this day must be Heaven on Earth. Of course, you can have chocolate pudding everyday but then it’s not a national holiday like today.

Chocolate pudding is made from milk, sugar, and chocolate, with a little vanilla added to even out the flavor. Add flour or cornstarch and you have pudding!  Add eggs and you have custard!

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The first mention of chocolate pudding came in, Mary Harris Frazer’s Kentucky Recipe Book, in 1903. Another recipe appeared in, Fanny Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Book, in 1918.  Both recipes used eggs instead of cornstarch though (doesn’t that make it custard???)

Anyway, in 1934, General Foods (Jello) started producing chocolate pudding for the public. It was a prepared mix you had called, “Walter Baker’s Dessert”(remembering Baker’s chocolate). Then it was up to you whether or not to make chocolate pudding or chocolate custard.  In 1936, for some unexplained reason they changed the name to “Pickle’s Pudding”.  I am betting that chocolate pudding sales went down!

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Chocolate pudding is used in many cake recipes to make them moist and full of flavor. This is very popular in the UK. Heck, it’s  actually very popular anywhere.

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There’s also chocolate pudding pie.  Maybe not as popular but still good.

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And of course there is the dark chocolate pudding, adding a little mint and a raspberry or two, just for good measure.

Chocolate pudding is readily available today under the label Jello, made by Kraft Foods and Snack Packs by Hunts.

How to celebrate: Have a chocolate bar, it’s easier. Go to your local gas station and buy a package of chocolate pudding and share it with the mechanic. Add a little whip cream to your chocolate pudding and live on the edge.

June 22nd National Chocolate Eclair Day

What combination is more perfect than chocolate, fluffy pastry, and a creme or custard filling? The word eclair in French actually means “lightning”, supposedly because of the glistening flash of chocolate covering the top. It may not make a lot of sense but who cares?

The chocolate in an eclair can be dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or even white chocolate. It sits on top of the “Chouk” (French for dough). The fondant icing is rich and gooey but subject to freezing if left in the freezer (duh, what doesn’t freeze in a freezer). The dough is normally a light, flaky pastry which is stuffed with a creamy custard. Oh, and to make it a little more special, add some whipped cream.

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French Chef Antonin Careme is credited with the invention, called “pain a la duchesse” in French. Careme lived from 1784 to 1833 so though no date is actually given for his invention, it had to appear sometime in his lifetime.

In 1884, the Eclair first appeared in a cook book in the US. Mrs. D.A. Lincoln included the recipe, along with others used in her cooking classes, and was the first English version ever in print. I wonder if she ever thought about adding strawberries as in the photo below.

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Long Johns are a type of eclair in the United States but they are actually a doughnut covered in chocolate with a custard or creme filling. There are even eclair cakes made today, though they seem very similar to what we refer to as a Boston Cream Pie.

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How to celebrate: Have an eclair. Make your own eclair (the eclair in blue at the beginning of this blog links to several examples). Go to a doughtnut shop and enjoy a Long John.