French Pastries You’ll Find at Your Local Pâtisserie

Words: Tam Selley

The French know a thing about a thing when it comes to baking. They have a real knack for whipping up snazzy cakes, tarts, and various cream and chocolate-filled treats. If you’ve ever perused the counter at a pâtisserie (a bakery specialising in said pastries and delicious cream-filled treats) and wondered what the fork most of all those golden, buttery creations are, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve listed some of the most common French pastries that you’ll find at most bakeries so you can wonder no more.

french pastries

French Pastries You’ll Find at Your Local Pâtisserie

The Croissant

Every human on this planet will know the humble croissant. Soft, delicate, rich, buttery and crisp all in one seemingly simple pastry. Making croissants is a timeous task and a testament to the importance of butter in French baking. This flaky creation is yielded by adding outrageous amounts of butter into the pastry dough followed by lots of folding and refolding. The result is a light and airy masterpiece laced in rich buttery flavours with a distinct cracking exterior.

For ultimate indulgence try this delish Baked Caramel Custard Croissant Pudding

Pain Au Chocolat

french pastries

Okay, so this is basically just a chocolate croissant but its reputation is deserving of its own independent feature. The Pain Au Chocolat encompasses the same soft, rich, buttery and crisp attributes as the croissant mentioned above, with the addition of rich, dark chocolate encased in the centre. Eaten warm, it will melt your heart.

Elegant Éclairs

These elongated cream-filled treats are another well-recognised French pastry, even from your childhood days. Éclairs are traditionally made with a choux pastry with creme patisserie piped inside and topped with a chocolate icing. You’ll even spot eclairs at local supermarkets in the bakery section (these won’t be as good as the real deal though).

We’ve got a super simple recipe for classic Chocolate Éclairs.

Pain Aux Raisin

The French rendition of a good-old Chelsea bun, minus the icing. This spiral-shaped brekkie pastry translates as ‘raisin bread’ and is made with a leavened butter pastry, dotted with raisins and filled with a creme patisserie and frangipane (almond) filling.

Macarons

french pastries

If food could represent love, the macaron would definitely be the ambassador. These elegant meringue cookies are delicately sandwiched around a flavoured creme filling. What they are most famous for is their unique and tricky-to-master texture. The macaron has a paper thin crispy exterior that follows through to a soft, chewy centre that’s quite literally, irresistible. Not to be confused with a macaroon.

Macarons can be tricky to make but we’ve got your back in the macaron-making department. Give our Lemon Macarons with Lemon Curd recipe a go.

Canelé

This famed Bordeaux dessert is recognised for its caramelised exterior and soft vanilla centre. These sweet treats are quite small so if you’re anything like us, you’ll be able to throw a couple of them back. Delish served with chantilly cream.

Paris-Brest

french pastries

This wheel-shaped praline pastry was created to commemorate the Paris to Brest bicycle race in 1910 and we’re thrilled that it stuck around. It’s made with a ring of choux pastry filled with a buttery hazelnut creme patisserie and topped with flaked almonds and icing sugar.

Kouign Amann

Hailing from Brittany in France, this crunchy pastry is conjured up with a croissant-like dough consisting of loads of butter and added sugar. The name literally translates to ‘butter cake’ and that’s the most perfect pair of words we’ve ever seen. It’s basically a crunchy caramelised croissant and we’re 100% onboard.

Tarte Tatin

Fig-Tarte-Tatin

The Tarte Tatin is one of the most classic French pastries. Rumoured to have been created mistakenly by a flustered baker, this upside-down tart has won the hearts of many across the pastry-loving landscape. Traditionally made with apples, the tart is baked pastry side up so that all the golden sugar and butter drip onto the fruit once flipped over before serving.

Try your hand at our Tarte Tatin

Mille-Feuille

The mille-feuille is basically a French version of a Napoleon and translates as ‘thousand leaves’. This is most likely to represent the very many layers of paper-thin puff pastry which sandwich rich pastry cream. It’s also casually known as a vanilla or custard slice.

Brush up on your pastry knowledge with our list of different types of pastry you can bake and cook with.

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