The keenest palates will be delighted with the classics of the French pastry. Often revisited by the pastry chef to add their personal touch, from the buttery croissants to the elegant “Saint Honoré”, these are a few classics of the French pastry.
- The Croissant
The croissant is largely considered to be just about the Frenchiest thing out there. Truthfully, though, the concept was born in Austria, under the name « kipferl. » The recipe was adapted and adopted by the French, where the recipe arguably came into its own.
While the classic presentation of the “éclair” is the chocolate icing with the vanilla-scented filling, creative pastry chefs have made numerous creative variations of this dessert. An “éclair” is a long, thin pastry made with choux pastry filled with a pastry cream and topped with icing.
- Kouign Amann
This delectable dessert holds its origins from Brittany (or Breton) region of France. It is a round shaped pastry made with a croissant-like dough that is folded and re-folded and baked in rounds. When baked at a low temperature, the dough puffs to form the many layers, and the sugar caramelises, forming a crispy crust that crackles most delightfully when bitten into. In the region from which this pastry hails, there is a unique Celtic-type dialect, in which the name translates as « butter cake. »
- Opera Cake
The Opera Cake was popularised by the French pâtisserie Dalloyau.
The cake is composed of thin layers of almond sponge cake that are soaked in a coffee syrup and then layered with coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache. It is assembled as a large square or rectangle, and covered in a chocolate glaze.
The macaroon is a small circular cookie made from ground almonds However, as the legend goes, some brilliant person at Ladurée in Paris had the idea to sandwich two of them together with rich cream or ganache, and a classic was born.
- Mille Feuille
Also known as the “Napoleon”, the “mille-feuille” is a French pastry whose exact origin is unknown. Its modern form was influenced by the reinterpretation of Marie-Antoine Carême, an internationally renowned chef. This delighful cake whose’s literal translation is thousand leaves, refers to the slightly crackly thin layers of pastry that are sandwiched with rich pastry cream and a topping of icing, which is commonly marbled for a simple yet elegant cake decoration.
Think of the religieuse as a sort of tricked-out, pinkies-out sort of cream puff. It’s generally comprised of two tiers of choux pastry, graduated in size and filled with pastry cream. Each pastry is prettily iced, and adhered with icing. If the pastry is presented with chocolate icing and piped vanilla cream, the finished effect is said to resemble a nun’s habit, which explains the unique name.
- Paris Brest
Inspired by a bicycle race between the French cities of Paris and Brest, the “Paris Brest” consists of a doughnut-shaped choux pastry split in the middle and sandwiched with rich. Its round shape was in fact inspired by a bicycle wheel.
- Saint Honoré
Created in honour of the French patron of saint of bakers and pastry chefs, St. Honoré, or Gâteau St. Honoré, starts out with a circle of puff pastry, on top of which is piped a ring of “pâte à choux”. The well created is filled with crème chiboust, then topped with a series of small cream puffs dipped in caramelized sugar. It is finished with elaborately piped whipped cream.
10. Tarte Tatin
Largely seen as the precursor of an American classic, pineapple upside-down cake, this is a famous French apple tart that is baked, pastry-side up, and then flipped before serving, allowing the gooey butter and sugar to drip on to the apples. There are numbers of engaging stories about its invention, the most famous of which involves an accidental flip from a flustered baker who just served the tart anyway, and it became a quick classic.
Elsa TSIA HIN FONG