When it comes to fine cuisine, especially desserts, no one does it better than the French. The French Patisserie influence spans far and wide too, obviously with parts of Canada; also being culturally associated with France.
And the desire to cook better food from better ingredients became more apparent, the French; got stuck in and to this day lead the way.
Whether we are talking about classic dishes that grace menus in all the top Michelin. Restaurants or small little pasty and tarts that are delivered to bakeries all over the world, The reach of great food is undeniable.
Let’s take a look at some of the best dishes in the French patisserie repertoire:
Macarons: French Patisserie
It’s sensible to start here, as the popularity of these little treats is really rocketing. The UK, Canada, USA, and Japan have all adopted the macaron and interesting; flavors and textures are being created throughout based on the standard recipe.
In essence, these are small sandwiches of a meringue and almond mix, where a ganache, cream, or compote; jam is piped between them.
Traditionally they are extremely dainty and delicate and take a skilled baker to execute them; accurately with the taste, texture, and presentation all intact. These are no longer confined to Paris, so try some near you if possible. Top flavors included green tea, salted caramel, praline, pistachio, and rose water.
Madeleines French Patisserie
These are distinctively recognised by their shape, resembling a small shell like structure created through the mould they are cooked in. They are also categorised by their light texture, which is even lighter than a simple sponge cake. The addition of almond powder or lemon zert is also popular to inject that extra bit of flavour.
They are served with hot drinks usually, and as a ‘petit-four’ or small treat among a collection of other small French cakes. Madeleines are some of the simplest and best tasting sweet creations around and originated from the Lorraine region of France. These are the perfect end to Just-Eat pizza delivery if you live in Canada.
The day for most people starts with breakfast, and croissants are becoming a staple of the breakfast table with good reason!. They have become widely available in the majority; of bakers and supermarkets so they are easy to get hold of, and in addition to this are fairly cheap.
The dough is simply rolled out to a very thin texture where melted butter is applied liberally before being folded. This is repeated several times which creates a block of pastry with a large number of butter layers.
This pastry is cut up and rolled and twisted into the classic shape before being baked. Not many nowadays are made in this traditional way by hand due to the time-consuming and delicate nature, but there are still some specialist places out there dedicated to providing fresh croissants.
Croquembouche French Patisserie
When it comes to extravagance, the croquembouche wins hands down every time. It is often a centerpiece for fine dining banquets and a talking point and demonstration of the chef’s skill and technique.
A typical croquembouche is made up of around 50 small choux pastry baubles with are carefully filled with ‘creme Anglaise’, a custard-like cream flavored with egg yolk and vanilla.
These French Patisseries are reminiscent of profiteroles which most people are aware of. The texture of the pastry is key and the cream must also be light in order to ensure the structure of the completed croquembouche is sound.
From here, these choux buns are made into a pyramid with caramel to set them. This French Patisserie is often achieved in a cylindrical cone where the structure is built up slowly as the hot caramel sets the structure together. Finish off the tower with chocolate sauce and fresh sugar work.
This is another classic recipe that has been around for a very long time. Mille-feuille literally translates to ‘a thousand layers’ and this is descriptive of the pastry used in this patisserie.
You start with the dough of sweet pastry which is then folded over itself many times (in a similar way to croissants French Patisserie) with layers of icing sugar. This further sweetens the dough. It is then cut into rectangles and baked until crisp and from here is stacked up (3 to 5 layers) with cream or ganache holding it all together.
There are a lot of versions of his, but it is best to think of the traditional dish as a sandwich of crisp pastry, French Patisserie, cream, and sometimes some fruit. When it comes to elegance and a classic approach, this is the dish of choice.
Steve is a food writer and lives in Canada. He orders pizza delivery Toronto when he is hungry but doesn’t want anything sweet.