Paris is sweet on the eye, sweet on the romance, and sweet on the palate. It is a sugar lovers’ dream, and the only problem you’ll have when it comes to delectable French desserts is which one to choose. (Maybe some of you can eat more than one, but I need to limit my sugar.)
To help you navigate that yummy last course, we’ve broken down the top 10 must-try desserts for your visit to France.
And not only can you enjoy eating them, perhaps you’d like to to learn how to bake them. A few years ago, I arranged for some of my clients to learn how to bake macarons at a chef’s house in Paris.
1. Tartes Aux Fruits
Tartes aux fruits are prepared with fresh fruit inside a buttery pastry. The fruit sits atop a heavenly Chantilly cream. You can enjoy these tartes in both miniature and pie sizes.
The éclair is a popular dessert in Paris. The long French choux pastry can be filled with either a rich custard or pastry cream and topped with a sweet fondant. By definition, the term éclair means lightning in French.
3. Paris Brest
This pastry was created to celebrate the Paris to Brest bicycle ride in 1891. Naturally, it’s circular and contains praline flavored crème and choux pastry.
Macarons are an undeniably delectable and often quite colorful sandwich cookie. There are so many flavors to choose from. The base ingredients include meringue and almonds. Be sure to not confuse it with coconut macaroons, in which the English added the -oon to the word in the 16th century.
5. Tarte Au Citron
Tarte Au Citron, also known as the lemon tart, is also very popular. It consists of a pastry crust and delicious lemon filling which contains lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, and sugar.
This fluffy treat comes in a vanilla or custard slice and consists of several layers of puff pastry. Between the puff pastry lies an additional two layers of pastry crème. Another name for the mille-feuille is Napoleon.
7. Tarte Tatin
Named after the hotel that serves the dessert (Hotel Tatin), the tarte Tatin is a unique upside-down pastry. Its ingredients include caramelized fruit prepared with sugar and butter. It pairs famously with a bit of tart crème Fraiche.
8. Choux à La Crème
These cream puffs swell while cooking and are hollow. The oozing center can be either whipped cream or custard. If you add a chocolate topping, it then becomes a profiterole. There are various toppings you can add to this pastry, from ice cream to fruit and even spun caramel.
This buttery, flaky wonder is a signature French pastry. There are so many ways to top it; you can use fruit, chocolate, fondant, or a compote of your choosing.
10. Petits Four
Translated, petit four means small oven, and are also known as mignardises. The fours are little bite-sized pastries that can also be savory if you choose. The sweet option includes a sugary glaze atop a crispy biscuit. These pastries are perfect for tea parties.
OK, I am officially hungry now. I may have to go seek out a bakery later today.
Does this make you want to visit a French bakery? Are you interested in a culinary trip to France or elsewhere? I would love to help you plan one. Read about how my services work here.