Top Must Try French Pastries
France is a dream destination for all the food lovers and gourmets out there and an absolute dreamland for all the sweet-toothed. With a variety of patisseries and boulangeries at nearly every corner, you simply can’t miss tasting the next mouth-watering pastry treats. If you’re going to visit a bakery, it might be worth working on your French Pronunciation beforehand. It’s polite to order food in the native language, so try and speak some French if you can!
Éclair au Chocolat
With amazing buttery dough and rich tasted pastry cream, these treats go perfect with your morning espresso.
The first traditional French éclair was made back in the 19th century by Marie Antonin Carême – a renewed chef who started working at the age of 14 as an apprentice and made his way to royal chef for George IV. He’s considered to be the pioneer of grande cuisine– a high-end form of cooking that focused not only on taste of the dish, but on the aesthetical appeal as well.
Marie Antonin is considered to have invented such beautiful deserts as the Charlotte and the Napoleon cake (or more commonly named Mille-fueille in France).
In France, Saint Honore is considered to be the patron of all pastry chefs and desert wizards and this cake is a sort of tribute to him.
This treat consists of a round buttery foundation of dough, generously topped with piles of crème chiboust and whipped cream. Yet, the tastiest are these little creamy balls, all covered with yummy and sticky caramel sauce.
The Opera Cake
Originally created back in 1955 at Dalloyau pastry shop (still one of the most popular patisseries in Paris!) it is a tribute to an Opera dancer who stepped by the shop and appealed a lot to the owner’s wife.
The cake’s usually made as a huge square or rectangle and cut into smaller bars before serving. Chocolate paste and coffee buttercream is sandwiching between layers of cake, well soaked in coffee liquor or syrup.
An amazing delight for your afternoon tea!
There’s a pretty fun history of how this sugar delight was made. Back in the 1880s two sisters Stephanie and Caroline Tatin ran a hotel in Lamotte-Beuvron – a small commune, around 160 km away from Paris.
One day Stephanie was either too tired of cooking or just too dreamy about someone and totally forgot about the apple pie she has been cooking and left the apples stew in sugar and butter for too long. Once she smelt of burning, she tossed a piece of dough over the burning apples and quickly boxing up the pan in the oven.
The guests loved the new desert a lot and the fame of it lead new and new visitors to the sister’s hotel.
As you’ve already got from the story Tarte Tatin is an upside down cake with lots of sugary, caramelized apples and delicious buttery pastry on top.
Not to be confused with macaroons which are small dough balls usually made without any filling with meringue-like taste.
Macarons are popular all over the globe, yet all the credits should go to the French pastry chefs who originally invented them back in 791. Yet, these little fancy treats started gaining popularity only 1000 years later when two nuns from Nancy decided to bake and sell them in order to pay for their lodging during the French Revolution. They were made without any specific flavor or filling and sold in one piece.
Only by 1830s macarons gained the modern look and started to be made with jam, cream, liquor or even spices sandwiched in between two meringue halves.
Today, these utterly delicious, mouth melting sweets can be found at any patisserie all over the country. The best tastes I’ve tried so far are dark chocolate, fleure d’oranger, pistachio and lemon. And there are much more flavors available from something as exotic as mango or violet to traditional vanilla.
Elena is a twenty-something traveler, who’s in the process of moving to France long term. Check out her list of 23 French Pastries You Should Try Before You Die for even more sweet delights.
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