The French are known for their unique flavors, history and complicated techniques when it comes to food. But when you really break it down, a lot of the processes they use are the same that are used anywhere else. It comes down to the amount of care put into the baking of a dessert and the quality of ingredients. The art of pastry was basically invented in France, and there are plenty of culinary and pastry schools that primarily teach French cuisine and technique. It's no wonder that the most delicious and fancy desserts do come from France!
When you think of a traditional bakery case, it could be filled with heaping mounds of cream or frosting, but in France, the shelves are filled with small pastries and desserts that are uniform in size and shape and mesmerize you with how perfect they are. Being a baker in France isn't just a job; it's a way of life. You have to eat, breath and sleep pastry and innovation. A lot of pastry chefs take inspiration from local legends or their family history to bring old French recipes back to life. Think you can name all of the French desserts in this quiz? Take it now to find out!
Which French dessert gets its name because it looks like a leaf but is popularly called an elephant ear?
A palmier is delicious because it's baked puff pastry rolled with cinnamon and sugar, and then rolled in that same mixture before it goes in the oven. They're sweet and crunchy and can be found in almost any bakery.
This is a popular layer cake made with almond and hazelnut meringue instead of a sponge. Can you name it?
Sometimes cake can lack texture, but when the cake is a Dacquoise, that's not the case. The meringue adds a crunch, while the cream in between the layers add the creamy and soft feeling you love about cake.
Which pastry is also called escargot, even though it's sweetened bread dough and not snails?
Pain aux raisins
This pastry uses croissant dough which is then rolled to look like a snail shell. This one in particular is rolled with raisins and pastry cream. In America, it's traditionally made with Brioche dough.
Coming from the area in its name, which French dessert is filled with sweet jam and covered in a pretty lattice pattern?
Bichon au citron
Tarte des Alpes
This dessert is specific to a certain region of France, and in other areas, it takes on other names and the recipe varies slightly. It's a shortcrust pastry topped with a delicious fruit jam and lattice-style pastry.
Named after the mold it's baked in, which puff-pastry dessert is filled with sweet almond cream?
In French cooking, a Dariole is just a mold, but it's also the name of the pastry baked inside of it. Puff pastry lines the mold and is filled with an almond cream and baked until golden brown. There's even savory versions!
The name is a combination of the main component and the caramel sauce it's drenched in. Which is it?
The origin of this dessert has been widely disputed, with one story saying it started as a mistake and another saying it was originally made for a little girl named Suzette. No matter where it comes from, this crepe with a butter-caramel sauce sure is delicious.
Which French dessert is actually just a general term for any treat containing nuts and sugar?
The two common ingredients in this dessert are listed above, with cream being a popular third ingredient. They can be filled chocolates, nuts mixed with caramel or a cookie that contains chocolate and nuts.
With peaches being the main flavoring, which French dessert was named to honor an Australian opera singer?
Peaches Melba is a dessert consisting of peaches and ice cream with a raspberry sauce. Renowned French chef Auguste Escoffier first made the dessert at the Savoy Hotel in London for the famed soprano, Nellie Melba.
Cake soaked in sugar syrup takes it to a whole new level. Which French dessert does just that, with a little extra pizzazz?
Baba au rhum
Baba au rhum is a cake baked in a cupcake tin that is essentially left out to dry for a period of time so it can be doused in a simple syrup made with rum. That syrup rehydrates the cake and makes it as moist as ever.
It's name means "a thousand layers," though it's not actually that tall. Which French dessert is made from notoriously layered pastry?
Coussin de Lyon
Gâteau à la broche
Mille-feuille is a layered dessert. Puff pastry is baked in sheets, cut to size and layered with things like pastry cream, whipped cream and other flavorings like mousse or jam. It can have lots of layers but not quite a thousand.
Which French sweet treat will leave you messy and sticky and is popular in New Orleans?
A beignet sounds like a complicated dessert, but it's quite literally fried dough. It's traditional square in shape, and once it's been fried, it's liberally covered in powdered sugar. Like, a mountain of powdered sugar goes on top.
Take a classic French breakfast, add chocolate and call it dessert. Can you name it?
Pain au chocolat
"Pain" means "bread" in French, and "au chocolate" means "chocolate," of course. This dessert is made with croissant dough, and in the middle is chocolate of some kind, whether it's chocolate chips or small strips of high-end chocolate.
Which dessert is light as a cloud, as rich as Bill Gates and requires a multi-step process?
Riz à l'impératrice
Chocolate is the most common flavoring for mousse, but it can really be flavored with anything! Fruit puree is a great choice, as well as things like lavender. Since the base is cream, egg whites or gelatin, it can take on some pretty strong flavors while remaining super light in texture.
Which French dessert, a candy made from candied fruit, is also topped with a thin layer of royal icing?
These have a texture similar to that of marzipan but are made with a paste of candied fruit and ground almonds. The main and most popular flavoring is melon. Most of the world's supply of these treats are still made in Provence.
It might look like a doughnut, but it's something else entirely. Which French dessert is made of choux pastry and filled with praline-flavored cream?
This layered dessert is full of flavor and texture. The main pastry is what éclairs are made of, so it's soft and crisp at the same time. Then you have the smoothness of the cream filling and the crunchy aspect of the toasted almonds on top.
This "cake" made from layers of macarons is named after a type of rose, hence the classic red hues of the dessert. Which is it?
The flavors are a combination of rose, lychees and raspberries in this Pierre Hermé dessert. The top and bottom layer are a red-colored macaron, and in the middle is a luscious buttercream with halved raspberries.
This creamy and sweet traditional French dessert would please even the smallest of mouths. What is it?
Pâte de Fruit
This smaller version of a pots de creme is great for parties or if you want just a little touch of sweetness after dinner. It's a custard-based dessert that can be flavored with almost anything and can be topped with fruit or brulèed.
Take a sweet, buttery crust and fill it with caramelized fruit. Which French dessert do you end up with?
This was another delight created by accident at the Hotel Tatin in France and then became their signature dish. Traditionally, the fruit used is apples, but it can also be made with pears and other stone fruit.
This French dessert, when translated, is essentially chocolate lava cake. Which one is it?
Fondant au chocolat
What we know as lava cake, the French know as fondant au chocolate. It's a soft chocolate sponge cake with a melted/undercooked filling that oozes out when you cut into it. It's traditionally served with vanilla ice cream.
Which dessert is a long and thin sugar cookie named after a cute part of your favorite furry animal?
Langue de Chat
The signature look of this cookie is where it gets its name. It's long, thin and takes on the appearance of a cat tongue when baked. It's a sweet and crunchy cookie, as opposed to a soft and chewy one.
Which fluted French shortbread cookie is made by hand at the bakery in which it was made popular?
Made at Boulangerie Polaine, these shortbread cookies (similar to those shown here) are made on a marble slab much in the same way as pasta. Then, believe it or not, the cookies are baked in a wood-fired oven, much like a pizza is.
Which French dessert is used as a sauce for other treats and tastes a lot like melted vanilla ice cream?
Marquise au chocolat
This is mostly a pouring custard for other cakes or desserts. The reason is tastes like melted vanilla ice cream is because that's basically what it is. It's essentially the custard that, when frozen, becomes ice cream.
Bring the heat to this widespread French dessert and see if you can crack the code to the sweet custard. What is it?
Riz à l'impératrice
Cooked vanilla custard gets covered in white sugar and then caramelized with a flame. That's the brûlée part. It's served in many restaurants, but it's also easy to make at home with the right equipment.
Pile it high with caramel and watch your guests jaw drop when you walk in with decadent showstopper. Can you name it?
This French dessert is a tower of cream puffs that are stuck together with caramel. It's designed to be a pull-apart dessert and is traditionally the centerpiece of a holiday table. It's a complicated technique but so worth it if you nail it.
A small French almond cake isn't fancy, but it satisfies even the strongest sweet tooth. Which is it?
There's a specific mold for these cakes so that they're perfect and uniform every time. The mold resembles a bar of gold, and that's likely where the name "financier" came from. But the name could also come from its popularity in the financial district of Paris.
Black cherries strike again with which classic French dessert that gets covered in a sweet batter?
Breton Butter Cake
Black cherries are the most traditional, but now there are all kinds of versions of clafoutis. The fruit of choice gets covered in a flan-like batter that gets fluffy when baked. It can be served with powdered sugar or soft cream.
Made with layers of almond sponge cake that have been soaked in a sweet coffee syrup, which dessert is then layered with decadent chocolate ganache?
This French dessert is very similar to the Italian dessert tiramisu. The main difference is that the French version uses almond sponge cake instead of ladyfinger cookies, and it's covered with chocolate ganache instead of cocoa or espresso powder.
Chocolate and citrus don't classically go together in many cultures, but in France, they do. Which dessert below showcases that flavor combination?
Orangettes are made of candied orange peel that is then covered in chocolate. It's sweet, it's tart and it can be just a tad bitter. But the flavors somehow work together. The candying of the orange peel softens it and brings down the bitterness.
This dessert seems like a no-brainer, but there is an art behind the construction of these small, round chocolate confections. What are they?
French lemon tart
The name makes it sounds fancy, but a mendiant is a circle of chocolate studded with nuts and dried fruit. The combination can be whatever you like, but the classic is raisins, hazelnuts, figs and almonds.
Which seashell-looking cake has a dainty name and an even daintier mouthfeel?
No one knows the exact origin of the Madeleine cake, but there are several theories. All you need to know is that to make them right, you need the special fluted pan that gives them their signature seashell look.
This sweet and crisp French dessert element below lends itself to many other fillings and accoutrements. Can you name it?
The name implies a crust, and that's exactly what it is! It is any kind of base for things like pies or galettes. It's traditionally a puff pastry or other flaky pastry like phyllo. Croustades also can be filled with savory treats, such as shrimp and dill (shown here).
This dessert utilizes many of the elements in this quiz, like the ladyfinger and mousse. The ribbon tying at the end finishes it off. Which dessert is it?
Choux à la crème
This dessert can be served hot or cold, but either way, it's a trifle of flavor and texture. There are now so many different varieties out there, but originally, it's said to originate from a word meaning "dish of custard."
This sweet treat can be served fluffy, toasted, baked or as a layer in a pavlova. Which crisp and chewy dessert is it?
Cookie au citron
Meringues are typically a cookie made from a mixture of egg whites, sugar and a stabilizer. They can be flavored and colored with pretty much anything and need to be baked low and slow to get the signature crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside mouthfeel.