The history of French pastry goes back a heck of a long time. As far back as the 1200s they were making desserts and pastries. Puff pastry was created in 1540. Whipped cream came from France in 1660. Macarons date back to 1793. Ganache was invented in 1850. It's safe to say almost everything you love about dessert today owes the French a great debt. How everyone in that country isn't just terribly unhealthy and sticky with sugar fingers all day every day is a mystery that no one will ever be able to solve. The French just make amazing desserts.
People train their whole lives to master the fine art of French dessert making and pastries. A pastry chef, or pâtissier, can go to school and then work in a kitchen for years to perfect the craft of pastry-making. It may just be a donut to you, but it can be serious business to the French. And why not? Deliciousness is no easy task. If you feel like you know a little bit about French pastries, whether that's making them or just eating them, why not try your hand at identifying some? We bet you can't get them all. Take the quiz and see!
Pixabay by byrev
This French dessert is deep-fried choux pastry. What's it called?
A beignet is sort of kind of a French donut but closer to a fritter if we're being honest. Essentially it's just fried dough and it's been around since the days of Ancient Rome. If you want to try a good one and can't make it to Paris, there's always New Orleans.
Pixabay by cocoparisienne
Tell us the name of the dessert that looks like a fancy Oreo cookie (though it doesn't taste like one).
Macarons are essentially meringue cookies with a filling between them. They're not to be confused with a coconut macaroon which is basically a coconut cookie, but the two foods actually started as the same thing way back in the day. One recipe replaced almond paste with coconut was all.
Pixabay by RitaE
Do you know the name of this boozy little cake?
A rum baba, also called a baba au rhum, is generally a small cake that you thoroughly soak in syrup that's made from rum, hence the clever name. You can make larger versions of the cake but usually, they're meant to be individual desserts so you can enjoy the rum all for yourself.
Pixabay by espinosa
You need to caramelize fruit in a pan before you flip it over to make this dessert. What is it?
A tarte tatin is a kind of upside-down cake essentially, and while you usually make it with apples you could probably use any kind of fruit that you can caramelize in a pan like pears, peaches, pineapple or whatever.
Wiki Commons by Stijn Nieuwendijk from Amsterdam, NL
Any guesses what this pastry that was named after a hat is called?
The Jesuite gets its name from the triangular hat worn by Jesuits, traditionally. It's a flaky pastry filled with frangipane cream and then topped with almonds and powdered sugar. All things being equal, it doesn't look much like a hat.
Pixabay by la-fontaine
This dessert is essentially a very small sponge cake. Tell us what it is.
Madeleines look like cookies but are small sponge cakes from the Lorraine region of France. They're traditionally made in a shell-shaped pan which gives them their distinctive shape, although technically you could make them in any shape at all.
Pixabay by scholacantorum
What is this pastry that also goes by the unappetizing name of "pig's ear?'
Palmier, also known as a pig's ear, elephant's ear or palm tree, is oddly often shaped like a butterfly. Why not call it that? Who knows. It's made in a very similar way to a croissant, only the dough has no yeast so it doesn't rise.
Wiki Commons by traaf from Brest
You can make a savory version of this out of cheese if you want to. Name it!
A tuile is basically a crispy cookie or wafer that's very thin and often used as a kind of garnish. The word itself means tile because they're shaped to look like a kind of French roof tile.
Pixabay by takedahrs
As a coffee-lover, you know the name of this dessert, right?
The opera cake is a dessert made with almond sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup layered with ganache and buttercream. It also has some mysterious origins and may date back to 1960, 1955 or the 1800s depending on who you ask.
Wiki Commons by Allie Cooper
This dessert comes from the French town of Dax, which inspired its name. Know it?
The dacquoise cake is mostly made of meringue layered with buttercream, whipped cream and a cookie base. You can put a little fruit glaze on top of it as well because how is that ever a bad idea?
Paula Bisoc via YouTube
Which dessert gets its name from a language called Occitan?
Flaugnarde is a dessert made from fruit that is baked in a pan with a flan batter covering it. It can be made with fruit like apples, peaches, pears or whatever and looks like a big ol' pancake full of fruit when it's done.
Wiki Commons by Rystheguy
The recipe for this dessert was created to celebrate the publication of a book. What is it?
Tarte conversation, which literally means "conversation tart," dates back tot he 18th century when it was created to celebrate the publication of a book called "Les Conversations d'Emile." Must have been a heck of a book.
Wiki Commons by Eric Baker
What is this remarkably tall dessert very often seen at weddings?
The croquembouche starts as a fairly simple dessert; just choux pastry puffs. But to make it into a proper croquembouche you pile them into a cone and then drizzle the whole thing with threads of caramel. It can also be decorated with sugar or chocolate decorations to up the wow factor a bit as well.
Pixabay by chefjoannabarajas
Do you know this dessert that, if you're making it the proper, traditional way, requires black cherries?
A clafoutis (very similar to a flaugnarde) is made by laying down your black cherries in a pan and then covering it with a flan batter. Apparently, if you want to be ultra-traditional you'll include the cherry pits which slightly alter the flavor and also contain trace amounts of cyanide. Yum!
Jazzy the Baker via YouTube
This dessert often looks like a stretched-out pie or cake. What is it?
Darioles get their name from the mold in which they're baked which is a small cylinder that makes for an overall long-looking cake or pie when it's done. Savory ones can be filled with meat, cheese or veggies while dessert ones may have custard or almond cream
Wiki Commons by Marcin Floryan
Tell us the name of this dessert that is basically just pieces of crispy, fried dough.
Angel wings have found their way into cuisine all around the world and date back to Ancient Rome. Often they're a treat reserved for just before Lent. They're very simple and are just thin twists of dough fried and dusted in powdered sugar.
Wiki Commons by Luigi Anzivino
What do you call this pastry that isn't technically a dessert?
A gougère is a tiny little choux pastry puff which can be the start of a dessert in many cases, but in this one it's filled with cheese, making it a savory pastry. Sometimes you can up the ante by filling them with mushrooms or sausage as well.
Wiki Commons by Kostia9
Most people would probably just call this pastry a turnover. What else can it be called?
Bichon au citron is a type of puff pastry that would arguably be a turnover if you filled it with some kind of jam. However, since it's filled with lemon curd, it's a bichon au citron. Does it have anything to do with bichon dogs? That's a good question.
Wiki Commons by Vitriacus
This apple cake comes from Brittany in France. Name it!
A vitréais cake comes from the town of Vitré in Brittany. The town only has a population of about 18,000, so good for them for creating what would go on to become a world-famous dessert.
Cuisine Mauritian via YouTube
Which dessert's name translates to "well of love?"
The puits d'amour cake is generally a small cake that is filled with something like jam or vanilla pastry cream. The recipe dates back to the 1700s, and at the time there were two versions. One was a large cake meant to be shared and one was a small version meant for one person.
Wiki Commons by Varaine
In some places, they call this the "pie of the valley." Do you know its French name?
Clearly from the Alps, the tarte des Alpes is a jam-filled pie covered with a lattice pattern of pastry on top. It was traditionally made as a winter dessert with preserved fruit from the summer months included as a filling.
Wiki Commons by Wolfgang Meinhart, Hamburg
What do you call this bite-sized dessert treat?
The name petit four actually means "small oven" which is kind of weird, right? But not really! Back before gas ovens were a thing and the French were baking in big brick ovens, petit fours were cooked during the cooling process because it took the ovens so long to cool down between uses.
Wiki Commons by Popo le Chien
Some people call this an icebox cake. What is it?
The original recipe for a Charlotte doesn't sound super delicious. You'd dip stale bread in butter then line the pan with it and fill it with fruit puree or custard. There are dozens of other ways to make one, though, so stale bread isn't necessary.
Wiki Commons by Fuzheado
Tell us the name of this pastry that isn't just made with butter, it's made with sooooo much butter.
A Kouign Amann is a dessert that was called the "fattiest pastry in all of Europe" by the New York Times. For two cups of flour, you'll need about 11 tablespoons of butter which is, you know, a lot.
Wiki Commons by Kim
Basically, this is just a custard tart. What do our French friends call it?
Custard tarts, or flans pâtissier as they're known in France, are popular in numerous countries. The French versions are typically a little bigger around than a British one, but also thinner as well.
Pixabay by Holgi
You might know these little guys better as cream puffs. What are they?
Profiteroles are just little choux pastry balls filled with whipped cream, pastry cream or even ice cream if you're feeling fancy. If you want to go super nutty you can make a savory profiterole filled with meat or cheese.
Pixabay by LAWJR
What do you call this dessert that you bust out at Christmas?
The Bûche de Noël, or Yule log, is a traditional Christmas dessert designed to look like a literal log for festive reasons. It's a sponge cake and the frosting is often chocolate. It's made as a roulade which means the cake is rolled so inside there can be either frosting or jam filling as well.
Pixabay by ryokouruma
This little cake is flavored with rum and vanilla. Name it!
There's a custard center in a canelé and the outside is caramelized to make it a little crunchy because who doesn't like a crunchy, caramelized crust? They come from the Bordeaux region of France and pair nicely with wine.
Pixabay by 139904
You can find this famous French dessert in bakeries and supermarkets all across America. Tell us what it is.
Eclairs may be the most famous French pastry in the world, or at least some of the most popular. They're choux paste piped full of cream and topped with chocolate, which is kind of perfect when you think about it.
Wiki Commons by Georges Seguin (Okki)
The name of this dessert means "thousand sheets." Sound familiar?
The mille-feuille can be found in cookbooks as far back as the 16th century though its origins are unknown. It's made with puff pastry layered with pastry cream. It's usually about 5 layers, so the "thousand" part in the name is a bit of an exaggeration although the puff pastry can make it seem that way.
Wiki Commons by Luc Viatour
Which dessert could be easily mistaken for a croissant?
Pain au chocolat or "chocolate bread" in English is essentially made the same way you make a croissant, but it has some dark chocolate baked into the center of it.
Wiki Commons by Deror_avi
This pastry was created to commemorate a bike race back in 1910. Tell us the name of it!
Paris-Brest was created to commemorate the Paris-Brest-Paris bike race, because what says physical fitness and bike racing quite like a hazelnut-cream filled pastry dessert?
Wiki Commons by Sonia Geffrier
Which dessert is designed to look like the pope's hat?
A religieuse is made of choux pastry cases piled on top of each other to look like the pope's mitre. The inside should be filled with custard and then you can decorate the outside of the dessert with chocolate or buttercream.
Bradley Bakes via YouTube
This cake was named for an 18th-century food writer. What is it?
A Savarin gets its name from writer Brillat-Savarin back in 1845. Savarin did not name it himself; rather it was named for him by a pair of pastry chef brothers named the Juliens. If you soak it in rum it becomes a rum baba.
Wiki Commons by Trougnouf
You can trace the roots of this dessert back to 1847 in Paris, France. Tell us what it's called.
Named for Saint Honore, the bishop of Amiens and the patron saint of bakers, the St. Honore Cake is puff pastry with choux paste on top and cream puffs attached to it. It's usually decorated with whipped cream using its very own St.Honore piping tip. Fancy!
Maw Kitchen via YouTube
Do you know this pastry that was named by actress Brigitte Bardot?
La Tarte de Saint-Tropez or the tarte tropézienne is a filled brioche that was made in 1955 by a pastry chef from Saint-Tropez. Word is Bardot was filming the movie "And God Created Woman" at the time when she named it.
Patricerie via YouTube
The recipe for these desserts starts a lot like bread until some sweeter ingredients are added. What is it?
Viennoiserie is a catchall name for a family of baked goods basically, which includes things like croissants and turnovers. It's made with a yeast dough that you add cream and sugar and other ingredients to in order to fancy it up.
Wiki Commons by Tepeyac
Which dessert goes by the less sweet-sounding name "escargot?
Pain aux raisin is a breakfast pastry popular in France that is basically a croissant that was made with raisins. The type of dough it's made from, pastry in some cases or perhaps brioche in others, often depends on where it's being made.
Wiki Commons by Jvillafruela
Traditionally, the pattern carved into the top of this dessert tells you what's inside it. Do you know what it is?
From the Basque region of France, a Gâteau Basque or Basque Cake can have a variety of fillings. If the filling is pastry cream, then there's traditionally a crosshatch design carved into the top. If it's black cherry jam then a Basque cross will be on top and so on.
Wiki Commons by Franki71
Did they name this dessert after the pen or is the pen named after the dessert? Maybe it's neither! Name it!
The mont blanc is made with chestnut cream and meringue and looks like a tiny little bird's nest with a candied nut nestled into the top of it if it's made properly. Dust it with a little powdered sugar to get that "blanc" part down.
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