When it comes to pastries, no other country holds a candle to France. From croissants to macarons, cafes all over the world offer up these delicious bites to people of all ages. However, when it comes to baking your own French pastry, it may be intimidating to think you are able to at all.
Luckily, some of the most famous French pastries can be made from the comfort of your own kitchen, transporting you to wide boulevards and outdoor bistros in minutes. These are two of the best pastries you can make from home.
One of the most beautiful – and delicious – French pastries is the macaron. Granted, your homemade version may not be as spectacular as some found at the world’s top bakeries, like Amadeus Patisserie (Amadeuspatisserie.com), but that doesn’t mean you can’t try!
For macarons you’ll basically make a simple meringue cookie from egg whites and sugar, and then sandwich them with a delicious crème, icing, or ganache.
1 ¾ cups confectioner sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups of almond meal
4 egg whites
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp almond extract
Frosting, jam, or any other filling
Mix confectioner’s sugar and almond meal together, and then sift into a bowl. Separately, beat the egg whites until they get frothy, slowly adding the almond extract and granulated sugar. After about three minutes they should start to form peaks. Add the egg whites to the other mixture, and mix until it is smooth in consistency. Add to a pastry bag, and use to make 1 inch round shapes on a parchment sheet. Allow them to dry for about an hour, until firm, and then bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. After they are allowed to cool, sandwich them together with the filling.
While there are plenty of ready-to-bake croissant products, there is nothing quite like the aromas and classic taste of a real French pastry. You’ll need your basic baking products to create the dough, but of course, croissants are all about the fold and crust. The key to capturing the classic croissant taste? Be sure to brush them with a mix of egg yolk and milk for the perfect brown and flaky crust.
2 cups flour
1 ¼ sticks butter
½ cup milk
3 tbsp sugar
25 grams yeast (fresh)
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp milk for the crust
Combine sugar and yeast in a bowl and stir, adding in ½ cup milk. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and the salt, and combine with the butteruntil crumbly. Add the milk mix until reaching dough-like consistency, knead into a square shape, and cool in the freezer (30 minutes) or in the fridge (2 hours). Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, and cut dough in into triangles (about 8). Roll starting from the wide part of the triangle, until the shape is formed. Allow them to rise for a few hours before brushing them with the yolk and milk, and baking at 450 degrees for 8 minutes, and lowering to 375 degrees for another 10, or until browned.