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That cake-like log covered in glaze and chocolate that you bought this morning from Safeway? That’s no eclair. So don’t kid yourself, at least not today, because we’re right in the middle of that hallowed holiday known as National Chocolate Eclair Day.

Make no mistake, to produce a real eclair, a baker must prepare pâte à choux, a dough that generates the necessary steam to hollow out a giant cavity into which a pastry chef can pump that lush vanilla cream. Alton Brown has a ball explaining the dough in the video above.

If you actually want to make eclairs yourself, I’d direct you to page 13 in pastry chef David Guas‘ excellent cookbook, DamGoodSweet, where he lays out a concise recipe for the decadent dessert.

Or you could just go to Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop in Baltimore or Annapolis and pick up one of its $5.90 eclairs, which could feed a family of four for a week. (Incidentally, the Vaccaro’s at Union Station is the latest victim of the food court shake-up; the shop is history, thanks to those corporate rat-bastards running the place!)

Check out the size of Vaccaro’s eclair after the jump.

The lovely wife’s hand, to provide a proper sense of scale.

This eclair is brimming with pastry cream.