|Chocolate-filled éclairs - because clearly they weren't already sweet enough|
(photo by LMDCWIKI)
Noun. Mid-19th century.
[French, literally 'lightning'.]
A small finger-shaped cake of choux pastry,
filled with cream and iced, especially with a chocolate icing.
OK. I'm just throwing this one out there, because lo and behold sometimes Lexicolatry doesn't have all the answers: éclair literally means 'lightning' in French, and I want to know why. There are a couple of rather unconvincing theories out there - one is that they're so delicious, they get eaten lightning quick (pff!), and the other that the gleam off the top of the icing sometimes resembles lightning (double pff pastry!). The OED is frustratingly silent on this matter, so it's possible we will never know. Therefore, let us speculate, theorise and conjecturise as to why this humble, ridiculously delicious cake (which is a member of the 'pie family', would you believe?) is named after this meteorological phenomenon.
Do please copy and pastry your sweetest comments in the choux box below.