Chefs know the importance of good pastries. They are essential in the culinary world; perhaps the main reason why some chefs dedicate their entire lives to the creation of pastries alone! Those considering dedicating their life to the world of pastries and sweet treats, should begin and never stop mastering the six iconic French pastries below:
A staple in the continental breakfast, the croissant is created daily in millions of bakeries around the world. Crispy and flaky on the outside, but soft on the outside, buttery and just a little sweet, it is a pastry that every chef–pastry chef of not!–should know how to make!
When someone says “pastry,” the chances that they are thinking of eclairs is very high. This undying classic may even be the reason “pastry cream” is a term people use! The best news is that it is easy to make. Almost every pastry course in Manila will include this in their roster because not only is it delicious, but the ease in which it can be learned is a confidence booster for students. Made with a light dough and filled with a cream filling (the flavour choices are as high as the sky), and with that classic layer of chocolate on top, it is indeed iconic!
Buttery dough and a caramelized sugar crust, what is not to love with a kouigan aman (pronounced kwijn a’ mānn)? The crispy dough is similar to that of a croissant, and it is slowly folded in multiple layers. Butter and sugar are spread and sprinkled in between each layer for even distribution of flavour and texture. Those serious about their French pastries should find a baking school that can properly teach this easy to create, but difficult to execute sweet.
It is no secret that the French love butter. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that they have created a cake and named it for their favourite ingredient! Similar to a pound cake, but slightly more crumbly, it may or may not have a layer of fruit or fruit jam in the middle. A must-learn in almost all pastry arts short courses, this delicious dessert is not just a staple in the world of pastry, but it is also one of the most versatile.
Is there any pastry more iconic than the macaron? In the last two decades, this sweet treat has not only dominated the media and store windows, but many an aspiring pastry chef choose to take their pastry arts class just to learn the macaron. Why? Because these two cookies sandwiching a ganache or cream is so tantalizing! The cookies themselves are made of nuts, but have a meringue texture. The balance of soft, but chewy, but crispy cookies is a challenge for many baking school students. Add the multitude of variations one can make for the cream or ganache, and you have a dessert that chefs can craft pastry arts short courses just for it alone!
Almost every European country has a version of an apple cake or pie, and for the French it is the tart tatin, which is an apple tart baked pastry side up. Delicious and soft, yet crunchy where it needs to be, it is an excellent combination of texture and flavour.
Perfecting these iconic pastries takes time, practice, and maybe a baking school that offers a pastry arts class that helps students master their technique the French way. Find a pastry course in Manila, like Enderun Extension’s Diploma in Pastry Arts, that teaches these and more!