The verdict is in and éclairs were the chosen shape of the day (versus puffs).
To make éclair shells, you must begin with Pâte à Choux. It's a very simple process but requires the patience in stirring for the minute required (and also requires a strong arm!). Thankfully throughout my research and cooking experience, I have never seen a recipe different than this recipe which happens to be the same as Julia's. I like this consistency because trial and error to find the best recipe is not always fun and exciting.
Thankfully, these little darlings were perfectly petite and portioned. And it took a few tries to determine the best piping size for the best éclair shell. And I love that each one is unique and different from the next. Nothing remotely close to perfection here.
Pâte à Choux makes such a unique pastry case; sturdy on the outside but tender on the inside, with its interior easily giving way to whatever filling you choose to introduce. They're so delicate, you can even see the sunshine peering in through the windows to fill the éclair shells.
For these éclairs, I made a slightly sweet but very rich caramel pastry creme of caramel sauce, heavy cream and mascarpone cheese. Sublime and heavenly. Simply luscious. And fattening. Really, really fattening.
What I'm currently debating is how to dress the éclairs - caramel, chocolate, nothing? (If I actually had readers I could pose the question to more than the viral void.) So, I'm left wondering... how to dress? And I must wonder quickly since they're bound to go fast in this house.