The Best French Pastries

01/04/2021 / 10 minutes of reading

The Best French Pastries.. what better subject to make you drool! French Pastry 🎂 is known all over the world. It is one of the jewels of our gastronomy. Aesthetic and refines, it finished meals on a sweet note, but its desserts were not developed overnight. It took centuries of increasingly sophisticated recipes, a few happy culinary accidents and a lot of passion to create the French Pastry we enjoy today.

When I say French pastry, what does it means to you?

To make you salivate, I present to you the 10 best known French pastries!

THE BEST FRENCH PASTRIES : THE PARIS-BREST

First of all, I would like to introduce you the Paris-Brest. It’s a dessert that I love ! I had already tried to make this recipe. Following 2 very good but collapsed Paris-Brest, I managed to make a last one, which was very good and beautiful !

The Paris-Brest is a French traditional pastry, in the shape of a bicycle wheel to pay tribute to the Paris-Brest cycling race. It consists of a choux pastry filled with a praline mousseline cream, sprinkled with slivered almonds. Its creation is attributed to a pastry chef located on the passage of the race: Louis Durand, of Maisons-Laffitte, who have designed it in 1909.

If you want to make the recipe, do not hesitate to consult Olivia’s Blog : Olivia Patisse

THE BEST FRENCH PASTRIES : THE MACAROON

Then comes the dessert we all know about these different fragrances: the macaroon. Personally, I always enjoy tasting a Chocolate Macaroon: A BASIC!

The origin of this pastry : Catherine de Medici brought the «maccherone» from Italy around 1533, when she comes to the French royal family. In Ardèche it appears, in 1581, reported from the court of King Henri III where Catherine de Medicis served the macaroon at the wedding of Duke Anne de Joyeuse. This macaroon is made with almonds and completely crunchy. A pastry chef registered the brand.

In the 1830s, the macaroon shells were joined two to two . These macaroons perpetuate the original recipe and have the particularity of being hard-crusted and melting inside.

In the 19th century, the Parisian macaroon was born; a heart of butter cream or jam is added between the two shells. It was found in 1880 in the Belleville district of Paris. It is popularized by the tea salon Ladurée, famous pastry shop in Paris for its macarons.

Towards the end of the decade 2000, Parisian macaroons appear in Paris whose heart has a different perfume : lime-basil or praline-yuzu, etc.

The success of the macaroon was such that it became popular outside France.

In Switzerland, it is known as Luxemburgerli. In Japan, macaroons are known as makaron. In South Korea, they are called makarong.

If the macaroons made you salivate, I advise you to go to the website of l’Appart Gourmand,, which make very nice and good macaroons !! You can also take the opportunity to test this recipe with the Appart Gourmand!

THE MILLE-FEUILLE

Let’s also note a pastry that we see in all bakeries: the mille-feuille. This dessert is a delight! It is a bit difficult to eat but it is succulent !

A mille-feuille, or millefeuille, is a pastry piece made of three layers of puff pastry and two layers of pastry cream. The top is glazed with icing sugar or fondant. You can add jam or fruit.

It would have been created by François Pierre de La Varenne. However, many professional pastry chefs do not make it back until 1867, when it was proposed as a specialty of the pastry chef Adolphe Seugnot.

The French name of this pastry refers to the high number of pastry sheets that make up each cake. Given the traditional method of preparing puff pastry, the mille-feuille actually consists of 729 pairs of sheets !!

This pastry makes you want? In this case, come and see Cloé’s Blog : Les pépites de Cloé, to test the recipe !

THE ECLAIR

Then, another very famous dessert: the Eclair, which can be eaten in a few bites! I’ve always preferred an eclair with chocolate because I don’t like coffee !

An eclair, formerly known as the Duchess’s (pre-1850), is a pastry of French origin consisting of elongated choux pastry dough and stuffed with pastry cream, with icing on top. Today, the most common flash is made of choux paste, enveloping the pastry cream. However, there are also mini versions and inside, there may be whipped cream, cream of chestnuts, or a fruit salpicon.

The cream is usually chocolate or coffee, but can also be flavoured with pistachio or vanilla. Variations can also flavour pastry cream and fondant with various fruits.

According to the Dictionary of the French Academy, an eclair was so named because it was eaten quickly.

These big eclairs make you hungry, in this case, prepare it in Sandra’s Blog : Ma cuisine du Dimanche

THE TROPEZIAN PIE

Afterwards, we have the Tropezian pie, or simply the Tropezian. I never had the opportunity to taste this dessert but it makes me want to prepare it !

The Tropezian pie, or simply the Tropezian, is a cake made from a sugar brioche, split in half at its size, and topped with a mixture of two creams (custard and buttercream), a family recipe by Polish pastry chef Alexandre Micka.

Arriving in Provence in 1952, Alexandre Micka, a Polish pastry chef, decided to open a pastry bakery in Saint-Tropez. He brought his grandmother’s cream cake recipe from Poland and sold it in his pastry shop. In 1955, the film “Et Dieu… created the wife” of Roger Vadim is shot in Saint-Tropez. Alexandre Micka is in charge of making meals for the whole team. He presents his pie. Brigitte Bardot suggested naming it “Saint-Tropez pie”. The pastry chef opted for “Tropezian pie”. In the process, he filed the trademark and the manufacturing patent.

The restaurant and shops «La Tarte Tropézienne» still exist in Saint-Tropez and along the French Riviera. Come take a look!

If you want to go to St Tropez, via the pastry, come and prepare the Tropezian Tart with the recipe from Auriane’s Blog : Sucre d’Orge et Pain d’épices.

THE BEST FRENCH PASTRIES : THE KOUIGN-AMANN

In addition, we also have the kouign-amann which is a very fatty but delicious pastry. Personally, I could not eat all the cake, a little bit is enough!

The Kouign-amann is a culinary specialty from Douarnenez in Brittany. In Breton, kouign means “cake” and amann means “butter”. By definition, Kouign-Amann means Butter Cake. It was invented by chance around 1860 by a Douarneniste baker: Yves-René Scordia. It was a period when the flour was lacking while the butter was in abundance, it gives an unsuccessful dough. The baker, to avoid discarding the preparation, would have cooked it and the result would have given a consistent and compact pastry but succulent.

From the XXth century, a great influx of tourists come to Douarnenez to taste this pastry. However, the Kouign Amann has been copied many times. For this reason, on 16th November 1999, fifteen pastry chefs from Douarnenez created the Association des artisans du kouign-amann de Douarnenez to promote and protect their quality production.

Come and discover the Plomarc’h Bakery in Douarnenez in Brittany, which makes the real Kouign Amann.

The New York Times dedicated an article to him in 2011, calling him «the richest pastry in all of Europe».

You want to travel in Brittany thanks to this pastry, so come and see Edda’s Blog : Un Déjeuner de Soleil

THE BEST FRENCH PASTRIES : THE TATIN PIE

Then, the famous dessert served in all the breweries: The Tatin Pie. When I inquired about the origin of this pie, I was amazed to see that it was not the Tatin Sisters who invented this recipe!

The Tatin Pie is a sugar-butter caramelized apple pie with dough placed above the filling before baking. It is then spilled on a dish and served lukewarm. This dessert is a classic of breweries and restaurants. It can be served with a ramekin of crème fraîche or failing that a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The origin of the tatin pie is quite well known. Indeed, on a busy day, the elder sister would have baked her apple pie forgetting the dough. She would have added it over it during cooking, then served the dessert without letting it cool.

The true story of the Tarte Tatin: According to Curnonsky, a novelist and culinary critic, it would be the restaurateur Louis Vaudable, Maxim’s owner, who discovered the secret of the Tatin pie during a dinner at the inn of the Tatin sisters, while he was hunting in Sologne. Curnonsky presented this pie under the name of «Tatin Ladies’ Pie», inventing for the occasion the story of the clumsiness of one of the Tatin sisters. Indeed, the pie is actually the work of the pastry chef of Maxim’s.

To reproduce this famous recipe, come and see Nathalie’s Blog : Nathalie Bakes

THE MADELEINE

Then I introduce the Madeleine. Personally, I never really liked the Madeleine, it missed … CHOCOLATE! Then I discovered the Madeleine of Chocolate and since then I love it !

The madeleine is a small traditional Lorraine cake with eggs, shell-shaped, elongated or round.

It is found in Spain, where it is an integral part of the cuisine. It’s said to have been brought to Spain by the French during the pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. A servant of the Marquise Perrotin de Baumont, in 1755, made these cakes for Duke Stanislas Leszczyński.

From the end of the 19th century until the Eve of the Second World War, railway passengers passing through the Commercy station crowded at the doors of the wagons, in order to contemplate the unusual spectacle of the madeleine saleswomen carrying large baskets of wicker with well-visible marks and in the middle of the crowd in the station of Commercy, shouting as loud as they could the name of the factory which they represented. It was a hard job for these women, who have to sell as many boxes as possible in a minimum of time, but it contributed to the popularity of the madeleine. Symbol of conviviality, it has made the reputation of the city of Commercy where they are manufactured since the eighteenth century.

There are several houses in France specialising in the production of madeleines.

You want to change your routine during breakfast, so do not hesitate and go to Alix’s Blog : le Blog d’Alix, to reproduce the recipe !

THE CANELE

Then, I present to you the favorite pastry of the Bordelais: the Canele. I had a weekend in Bordeaux and I had the opportunity to taste these famous pastries ! It’s delicious !

The canele is a small Bordeaux cake, soft and tender, flavored with rum and vanilla, in the shape of a canele cylinder, cooked in a mould originally made of copper, which gives it a thin caramelized crust.

The Canele was popular in Bordeaux in the 1930s, and went out of fashion after the Second World War. The mayor of Bordeaux, Jacques Chaban-Delmas, perceiving the promotional value he could have for the city, then affirmed his reputation by offering it regularly during receptions at the City Hall.

At the beginning of the 1990s, there were 800 producers of canelés in Aquitaine, including 600 in Gironde.

Two famous stores sell these caneles, in Bordeaux and others cities of France, including the capital : La Toque Cuivrée and Baillardran.

You don’t know cannele, you’ve never been able to taste it or you want to try it again, come and see Camille’s Blog : Cook in The Rain to reproduce the recipe !

THE BASQUE CAKE

Finally, I present you the Basque cake. I discovered it in Bayonne during an internship I had d one there! My slice of Basque cake was filled with almond pastry cream, it was a delight!

The Basque Cake is a typical cake from the Basque Country. It is traditionally stuffed with black cherries, or almond custard or rum/vanilla. This dessert appeared in the second half of the nineteenth century. At that time, it was consumed only by part of the Basque population and on special occasions: Sunday and holidays. The pastry chef Marianne Hirigoyen de Cambo was one of the first to sell her cake on the Bayonne market. A Basque cake festival is held every year in Cambo-les-Bains.

You want to go to the Basque Country and taste this specialty, so come and concoct your Basque Cake with the recipe from Sandra’s Blog : Encore Un Gâteau.

The best French pastries are represented in this blog post! This article made you want to make these desserts ? So, do not hesitate anymore and click on the links of the different articles to have an example of your favorite pastry recipe!

Want to know more about pastries? In that case, go to our article: our best of autumn pastries !

And as always… be curious!

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