Following the Trail of Pastries in a French Patisserie
French pastries are all the rage across Australia and there really are just too many to cover on this one page. They come in a variety of delicate delicious creations which are great with a nice cup of coffee, as a snack to tie you over before lunch or dinner or as a treat as you catch up with friends and family.
With so many to choose from, let’s take a look at some of the more popular pastries that you are sure to find in a French Patisserie:
Most believe that a croissant is French through every single one of its flaky layers to its interesting core. But the fact is that the concept of a croissant was actually born in Austria where it was called “kipferl.” The French adapted & adopted this recipe and somewhere along the way it lost its Austrian garb and donned a French one. Not that we are complaining of course…
A sinful amount of butter in kneaded into the dough that is folded & refolded scores of times and the airiness, flakiness and butteriness of the croissant is something very few can resist. As you bite into it, the exterior will crackle which is like an announcement of what you will find in the filling.
These days croissants come in many different flavours. In fact here at Ganache Patisserie, we make a plain, chocolate and almond flavoured croissant which ads a nice variety to our menu.
This is a very thin and long pastry that is made with choux pastry. It is filled with delicious pastry cream & then topped with an icing. In French, éclair means lighting and some say that the pastry is called that on account of the light that gleams of the fondant icing coating. (quite an unconvincing explanation, but then it doesn’t really matter when what you are eating is so delicious). The classic presentation is a vanilla-scented filling with a chocolate icing, but you will find a number of variations such as coffee, black currant, caramel and of course chocolate.
This one’s a little difficult to pronounce but try saying “queen ahmahhn”. These round pastries are made from croissant-like dough which is folded & re-folded and then baked in rounds. The origin of these layered dough puffs with a caramelized sugar crust lies in the Breton region of France. Roughly translated, this name means butter cake.
This is a very elegant gateau that is made of very thin layers of delicious cake that is soaked in coffee syrup. This is then layered with chocolate ganache and coffee butter-cream. It is typically assembled in a large rectangle or square and then sliced perfectly into large slices before serving.
Macarons are essentially meringue-like cookies that are made with ground-nuts. But a creative baker in Ladurée in Paris decided to sandwich some ganache or rich cream which created these yoyo-shaped heavenly goodies. You will find a range of flavoured macarons across French Patisseries in Australia.
This particular pastry is also called a “Napoleon” but the common name is Mille-Fueille which is pronounced; “meel-fway”. Translated, it means thousand leaves, which comes from the very thin layers of the pastry that is topped with icing and layered with rich pastry cream. The marbled effect makes a very elegant cake decoration.
This is a like a cream puff but sort of tricked-out in its making. Typically, it will have 2-tiered choux pastry. This is very skilfully graduated in size & then filled with delectable pastry cream. Every pastry will have very pretty icing. When piped vanilla cream and chocolate icing is used to decorate this pastry, it sort of looks like a nun’s habit and that’s where its unique name comes from.
This is a take-off on the popular upside-down pineapple cake. It is a very popular Apple tart which is baked very interestingly, pastry side up and is then flipped just before it’s served. This is what allows the gooey butter & sugar to drip all over the softened apples. The popular story of its origin is that a flustered baker accidently flipped the tart, but ended up serving it that way and it soon turned into a classic French pastry.
Heaven in a Pastry
These are just a few of the taste-bud tantalizing pastries that you will find in most French Patisseries. But don’t be surprised if you find that they are not exactly as they have been described here… After all, creativity cannot be shackled and when it comes to French-Style baking, the sky is truly the limit. If you are in Sydney and have an appetite for sampling a variety of different French Pastries, then stop past our patisserie at Castlecrag and try them for yourself.
Thanks for reading,
(02) 9967 2882