Long John Donut vs Eclair: 8 Differences You Need to Know

When you spot one long john donut next to a piece of éclair, you will get the impression they are the same thing. However, they are different types of pastries on many levels.

Don’t get this wrong; both are fluffy and delicious but have different tastes. Additionally, they are made of different doughs.

If you are interested in knowing more about their differences, keep reading. We will shed light on their characteristics and distinctions. Also, we will help you easily and accurately identify both of them.

Long John Donut vs. Eclair
The main differences between a Long John Donut and an Eclair are their origin, ingredients, shape, cooking technique, filling, topping, taste, and texture. Both pastries are long and slim, but a long John donut is rectangular, whereas an éclair is oblong.

What is a Long John Donut?

Long John, despite his name, is not a donut. The dough is similar to a doughnut, but a Long John donut is shaped like a bar. The Long John Donut is a thin, long pastry that comes from yeast dough. The leavened dough gets fried in hot oil, and the pastry gets frosted with sugar, maple, or even chocolate.

The Long John donut is supposed to have a filling different from the standard round donuts.

These rectangular pastries are very popular in the American Midwest. Long John donuts were initially small, but you can find big long Johns in many bakeries that are around 35 cm long.

Despite being very different from the original French éclair, in some parts of America and Canada, the long John donut is often called an éclair. Along with their similar appearance, this is the leading cause of the common confusion between these very different pastries.

What is an Eclair?

As you can guess from the name, an éclair is a French pastry. Just like a long John donut, an éclair is a long pastry too. This pastry is created from choux paste.

This particular type of dough is also used to make other great pastries and treats, such as profiteroles and cream puffs. Unlike donuts and long John donuts, eclairs are not fried. They should be baked in the oven.

Any éclair must have a filling and frosting. The filling can be anything from custard to whip mocha or pastry cream. Also, the topping is usually chocolate mousse or ganache.

The recipe for éclair dates back to the 19th century, particularly the mid-to-late 1860s. Since this pastry first appeared, its dough has not been leavened. So, no yeast or rising agent is used to make an éclair.

What are the Differences between Long John Donut and Eclair?

Long John donuts and éclair have a similar appearance, especially without tasting. When you take a closer look at each of them, you will find numerous differences. Also, each type of pastry dough is created differently.

1. Origin

The outside appearance of a long John donut and an éclair can imply they were made in the same place. However, they were created in different countries. An éclair is a famous pastry that comes from France.

On the other hand, a Long John Donut is believed to be an American pastry. There is some evidence referring to its having roots in the Midwest.

2. Ingredients

The notable similarities in their appearances might make you believe they were made from the same ingredients, which is far from true. For instance, the dough of a Long John donut must contain half and half cream, whereas the dough of an éclair has milk and butter instead.

A vast difference in the dough is the presence of a rising agent; a long John donut’s dough must be leavened with dry yeast. An éclair’s dough, on the other hand, is made without leavening.

3. Shape

Long John donuts and éclairs are indeed long and slim pastries, but if you look closely, you will find some differences in their shapes. While a Long John donut is rectangular, an éclair is somehow oblong.

4. Cooking technique

The cooking methods of both items’ doughs are also very different. You will cook your long John donut like any other type of donut. You will drop the dough into the hot oil when it reaches the right temperature.

An éclair, on the other hand, is baked in the oven.

5. Filling

The filling is another point where both pastries go their separate ways. An éclair must have a filling. Its fillings can be customized to suit individual tastes and preferences. A long John donut does not contain any filling.

However, if you come across a filled long John donut, it is usually called a “filled bar.” Additionally, the filling options, in this case, will be minimal. The filled bar version usually has pudding filling.

6. Toppings

Both pastries indeed have toppings, but they usually have different icings. The traditional frostings with a Long John donut are maple, sugar, or chocolate. The most popular frosting for an éclair is chocolate ganache.

7. Taste

The difference in the ingredients is reflected in the taste of both pastries. The dry yeast flavor is easily discernible in a long John donut. Also, its dough has a richer flavor and a chewier texture.

An éclair, on the other hand, has a buttery flavor. It is also baked in a way that makes the dough slightly crunchy. Additionally, the creamy filling in the middle of an éclair creates a pasty sensation in your mouth.

8. Texture

The difference in the preparation and ingredients of the long John donut and the éclair is also noticeable in their textures. You can easily notice that an éclair has a thinner texture than a Long John donut. 

Long John Donut vs. Eclair: are they the same?

A Long John Donut and an Eclair are not the same pastries. They might look similar if you don’t know how they’re made. Also, their tastes can make you 100% certain they are different. The recipe for both doughs came from different countries, i.e., the U.S. and France.

Also, the ingredients of both items’ doughs are different. Eclairs are made with more eggs and butter than Long John donuts, which are made with half and half cream and eggs.

The difference in the ingredients contributes to the diversity of flavors. Additionally, they differ in their fillings. A long John donut is not filled, whereas an éclair must have a filling.

Long John donuts are chewy and richer in taste, while éclairs are crunchier.

Lastly, a long John donut is cooked using a deep-frying technique, while an éclair is baked.

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