Essential French Pastries to Try in France

Embrace la belle vie, one particular chunk at a time.

share this posting

flipboard

There’s absolutely nothing really like that initial crunch into the crisp outer layer of a flaky, freshly baked croissant. Even devoured straight from a paper bag on the street, it’s a matter of beauty—and along with the suffering au chocolat, the most emblematic of France’s viennoiseries. It is also just the tip of the butter-drenched iceberg. 

Like the country’s delicacies, French pastries are deeply regional and standard. Flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and cocoa are whisked into at any time a lot more elaborate creations depending on whether you’re nearer to Bordeaux or Brest. Finding them all is a lifetime’s do the job, a delicious journey from boulangerie to pâtisserie, possibly even ending up in your individual kitchen area. 

1. Mille-feuille

The mille-feuille is a masterpiece. The splendor of this pastry is its simplicity: a few levels of crisp, golden puff pastry stacked with two layers of piped crème pâtissière. Some bakers add a marbled fondant topping many others opt for a dusting of powdered sugar. 

Breaking as a result of all a few levels is a messy work, but it’s all element of the practical experience. If your plate appears to be like a modern day art piece gone incorrect, you’ve accomplished anything suitable.

2. Paris-Brest 

Forget about about crème brûlées and chocolate fondants. If there’s a person dessert you’re heading to seek out on a cafe menu or at the best Parisian pâtisseries, make it the Paris-Brest. 

Invented by pâtissier Louis Durand to commemorate the Paris–Brest cycle race in 1910, the wheel-shaped dessert is choux pastry perfection. It’s decadent, sweet but not far too sweet, and confirmed to go away you in a trance-like condition of satiation if you devour just one you in a one sitting down. 

Within the choux pastry wheel is crème mousseline pralinée (a crème pâtissière flavored with almonds and hazelnuts). It is topped with powdered sugar and toasted flaked almonds.

3. Tarte au citron meringuée

Lemon meringue pie by an additional title, the tarte au citron meringuée is a single of the incontournables (essentials) of French pâtisserie. It is also a person of the several tarts at its most effective when purchased in huge measurements to share, alternatively than specific portions. 

The vintage recipe could not be more simple. It starts with a pastry base that is loaded with a thick layer of lemon curd then mounds of foamy Italian meringue. The higher the peaks the far better, as they’re blowtorched for coloration and caramelization. 

In Paris, the French Bastards make some of the tastiest.

4. Kouign-amann 

Right until the 1500s most French areas ended up topic to a salt tax recognised as the gabelle, but the independent and salt-making area of Brittany was exempt. The end result? A regional delicacies prosperous in salted butter and salted caramel. 

There is no clearer incarnation of Bretons’ enduring adore for all points salty-sweet than the kouign-amann. Half cake and 50 % pastry, created from thin layers of yeasted dough laminated with butter and sugar (folded and rolled around and above once more), it’s crisp and carmelized on the outside nevertheless cloyingly dense inside of. 

Try picking just one.

5. Canelés

Is Bordeaux additional popular for its wine or its canelés? Relying on who you request, you could have a serious fight on your fingers. But neither facet would dispute that these rum and vanilla flavored cakes rightfully should have a position in France’s pastry corridor of fame.

Canelés are normally manufactured in the very same distinctive molds, slender cylinders in between two and 3 inches high with a minimal circular indent on major and grooves down the sides. Previous-fashioned copper trays give them the best crusty outer shell and chewy, moist interior. The rum is added liberally, but most French households fortunately give canelés to their young children with out a 2nd imagined. Connoisseurs know that you can ask for them lightly, medium, or effectively baked.

Connoisseurs know that you can ask for them evenly, medium, or properly baked at locals’ places these types of as la Toque Cuivrée in Bordeaux.

6. Mont-Blanc

The Mont-Blanc, named right after France’s maximum peak, will make an look in pâtisserie shows in the early drop when the to start with chestnuts are gathered. Parisian tearoom Angelina statements to have invented the recipe, which sees a miniature “mountain” of meringue topped with whipped product and a foolish-string-like veil of chestnut purée.

In the greatest Mont-Blancs, the chestnut purée is only flippantly sweetened, creating them as scrumptious for dessert as with a cup of black tea in the afternoon.

7. Opéra

If you like your chocolate bitter and your espresso solid, the exquisite, oblong opéra is the French pastry for you. Each individual wafer-slim layer packs in taste, commencing with an almond Joconde sponge which is soaked in coffee syrup prior to becoming alternated with chocolate ganache and coffee buttercream.

The previous layer is usually a sleek, dark chocolate glaze. It never addresses the sides of the opéra, leaving the meticulously built layers and pâtissier’s precision on show.

8. Baba au rhum

The baba au rhum was invented in the oldest pâtisserie in Paris, Stohrer, which initial opened in 1730. It is mentioned that King Louis XV’s pastry chef and Stohrer founder Nicolas Stohrer established this yeasted and rum-soaked cake for Stanislas Leszczynski, the former King of Poland and father of the French king’s spouse, Marie Leszczynska. 

What you truly will need to know is that rum is to the baba what ice product is to apple pie. The a lot more you insert the improved. Purchase a baba au rhum for dessert in a restaurant and you’re often absolutely free to liberally douse it in liquor oneself.

The tartelette aux fraises is an essential seasonal treat.

9. Tartelette aux fraises

The arrival of summer time in France is heralded by the initially strawberries of the period. First the early-ripening gariguettes in early May perhaps, then other varieties such as the clery. You know the year is actually in complete swing when fairly minimal strawberry tarts start out to decorate boulangerie windows and picnic blankets alike.

There is no standardized recipe for a tartelette aux fraises, but purists stick to a shortbread foundation, crème pâtissière filling and clean strawberry topping. The secret to obtaining the strawberries to glow at the conclusion is to brush them with a minimal melted jam.

For extra uncommon variations, you can usually depend on Parisian pâtisserie Boulangerie Utopie, which might add an elderflower cream or a charbon végétal (black charcoal) foundation.

10. Galette des rois

You will require to check out France all-around the Catholic holiday break of Epiphany on January 6 for a likelihood to test a galette des rois, or king’s cake. These flaky frangipane tarts are ordinarily baked to mark the arrival of the 3 kings in Bethlehem following the birth of Jesus. 

Boulangeries top every single galette with a gold paper crown. Concealed inside of is a fortunate charm, regarded as a fève. If you obtain it in your slice, you grow to be king (or queen) for the working day and the crown is yours to use.

11. Brioche aux pralines roses

Croissants aside, brioche is the a single staple that appears on virtually every single French breakfast desk. It arrives in numerous designs: bouncy loaves, minor round buns, even baguette-like batons studded with chocolate chips. Generous amounts of egg and butter give the dough its trademark richness.

Arguably the best and most exclusive of all its kinds is brioche aux pralines roses, a Lyonnaise speciality. Barbie-pink pralines, crunchy sugar-coated almond candies, are added proper into the mix and conceal like nuggets of gold amid the brioche’s fluffy layers. 

You will uncover some of the best in Lyon’s famous included current market, the Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse.

12. Chausson aux pommes

As with a lot of recipes in France, even the humble apple turnover will come with a 400-year history—one which is celebrated just about every 12 months at the fête du chaussons aux pommes in the city of Saint-Calais in Pays de la Loire.

Legend claims that during a famine the regional châtelaine (“mistress of the castle”) distributed flour and apples to the very poor. So, the first chausson aux pommes was born. These days, they are continue to designed in a great deal the identical way, only now the apples may possibly be stewed with a hint of cinnamon in advance of staying encased in their golden puff pastry pocket.

For a fail-safe and sound recipe, Poilâne’s classic interpretation is a reference throughout France. Its cookbooks are a deserving expense, if a Parisian weekend isn’t on your upcoming vacation agenda.

13. Chouquettes

If you’re invited to a espresso morning in France, don’t be expecting to be served doughnuts and an americano. You are far more probable to discover by yourself sipping an espresso and snacking on chouquettes, hollow bubbles of choux pastry embellished with chunky pearl sugar crystals that make an oh-so fulfilling crunch concerning your teeth. 

Chouquettes are just about the cheapest pastry you can acquire in a boulangerie—often offered in bags of 10—but by considerably among the most addictive. 

14. Macarons 

No list of French pastries, or picnic beneath the Eiffel Tower, is total without the macaron. Every sweet-coloured range box may possibly seem similar, but all macarons are not produced equal.

For the greatest of the greatest, search for those people made by pâtissiers keeping the prestigious title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, this kind of as Jean-Paul Hévin in Paris. No issue the taste, when you bite into the macaron the outer shell need to be thin and crisp, yielding swiftly to a dense and chewy centre. You just cannot go incorrect with the classics: pistachio, chocolate, coffee, raspberry, and vanilla.

For the ideal of the ideal, glimpse for those people produced by pâtissiers holding the prestigious title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, these kinds of as Jean-Paul Hévin in Paris. No issue the flavor, when you chunk into the macaron the outer shell need to be slim and crisp, yielding quickly to a dense and chewy centre. You cannot go wrong with the classics: pistachio, chocolate, coffee, raspberry, and vanilla.

>> Up coming: An Expert’s Guideline to Fromage in Paris for Touring Cheese Enthusiasts

Share