Top 6 French Pastries You Should Know

Top 6 French Pastries You Should Know

Top 6 French Pastries You Should Know
11 Apr 2022


These golden, flaky, bow-shaped pastries are made with pure butter and mildly sweetened yeast dough. Croissants can be tricky pastries to master. If made the right way, its white-yellow interior should be slightly elastic when pulled from the centre, ready to be covered with a dab of butter or fresh jam.

Croissants have their roots in Austrian Kipferl, a traditional yeast bread roll popular in central Europe. Culinary legend says that croissants originated in 1683 as a celebration of the Austrian victory over the Ottoman Empire, with their shape supposedly imitating the crescent moon found on the Turkish flag.


An éclair is a pastry with a magnificent glaze, a crispy exterior and a soft doughy inside commonly filled with rich vanilla cream. They derive their name from the way light reflects the coating of confectioners’ glaze on top of the pastry. While they were introduced at the turn of the 19th century, the oldest éclair recipe is found in the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book! While its chocolate version is a classic, new fillings like green tea and lemon cream are becoming increasingly popular across the world.


Brioche is a traditional sweet treat from France that’s a cross between a pastry and a bread. Rich and decadent, it’s loaded with butter, milk and eggs. The bread’s soft, flaky texture has been enjoyed for centuries, especially in Normandy, a place that’s famous for its high-quality butter.

Some claim that brioche was invented by the Norman Vikings, who settled in France in the 9th century and brought along the secret of making butter. The word “brioche” is taken from the words “bris” and “hocher,” meaning to knead and stir, and appeared in print for the first time in 1404. With added ingredients, like fresh fruit and cream, brioche forms the base for many local desserts.


Profiteroles are chocolate-covered puff pastries filled with either pastry cream, whipped cream, custard or even ice cream. While puff pastries are popular today as a sweet snack, they were originally invented as a savoury pastry filled with cheese and herbs. By the mid-19th century, the puff was well known as profiteroles in France and England and often decorated to resemble swans or pyramids.

The name of these small choux buns originally signifies a small gift. Choux pastry is seen as difficult to master, and only becomes much easier once you’re familiar with the basics.


Beignets are squares of deep-fried pastry dough sprinkled with powdered sugar and traditionally served hot. Originally from France, it became popular in Acadia, Canada in the 17th century when French settlers introduced it to the region. Many Acadians later moved to Louisiana and brought their culinary traditions with them. Today, the beignet is commonly associated with the French Quarters of New Orleans where they are often served with chocolate mike or café au lait.

Mille Feuilles

Creamy, flaky, and delicate, this French dessert can be literally translated as a thousand leaves. Mille Feuilles consist of thin layers of pastry topped with cocoa, almond, or vanilla icing. The filling may even include jam, whipped cream or custard. The myth that mille Feuille’s other name, the Napoleon, refers to the emperor is a common misconception. In fact, it’s a reference to the Italian city of Naples, which is known for its layered desserts.

The art of pastry-making is one of the oldest and most popular traditions in France. While most French classics are made with basic pantry ingredients, they are considered difficult to master. To get that perfect choux and flaky pastry every time, learning the art of baking from a professional chef is always a good idea. The diploma programmes in bakery and pastry arts at École Ducasse India and AtSunrice Singapore, will equip you with the essential skills and techniques you need to create classic and contemporary pastries. That way, you can begin your culinary career with confidence.

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