At some point in the recent past, it became trendy for Americans to celebrate Bastille Day -- the French national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison and start of the French Revolution in 1789. Hey, we'll find any excuse for a party, right?
If you're in need of inspiration for your Bastille Day menu, look no further than this irresistible list of 10 French desserts. It bypasses the more obvious ones -- chocolate mousse, pots de creme, creme brulee, etc. -- in favor of some really traditional confections that are so very delicious and so very French. Bon appetit!
-It's time to get over your fear of the Chocolate Souffle -- a puffy fragile pudding made of egg whites and melted chocolate. As someone who's successfully prepared this recipe in her own kitchen multiple times, I promise it really is easier than all the rumors would have you believe.
Easy Chocolate Souffle adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
- 2 tablespoons sugar (plus a little extra)
- 4 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 4 egg whites
- Grease insides and rims of four 6-ounce ramekins. Sprinkle with sugar and set on a baking sheet; set aside.
- Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Stir in cream until smooth. Divide in half. Cover and cool to room temperature.
- Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold half of the cooled chocolate mixture into the beaten egg whites until combined. Spoon mixture into prepared ramekins. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 400°F until puffed and golden.
- Serve immediately. To serve, open the centers of the souffles with two spoons and pour in remaining chocolate mixture.
-If you've ever seen Cherry Clafoutis, you would agree it's one of the prettier French desserts: rosy red cherries suspended in pancake batter-like dough with almonds and Amaretto.
-And, speaking of pretty, is there anything more aesthetically pleasing than little multi-colored macarons?
-Profiteroles are a perfect end to any French meal: It's just a fancy way of saying cream puffs that are typically filled with ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce.
-On the lighter side, a financier is small, moist Parisian teacake often served with whipped cream and fruit. I like the idea of actually flavoring the batter as in these Strawberry and Pistachio Financiers.
-Similar to the financier is the Petite Madeleine, a pretty little soft French cookie shaped like a scallop. You can make them plain or chocolate-flavored.
-Tarte Tatin is an upside-down fruit tart usually made with apples. Before it's baked, the fruit is caramelized in butter and sugar, which makes it all gooey and delicious.
-Of course, we're all familiar with the traditional crepe, but what about the Crepe Cake? It's layers of thin delicate crepes and chocolate pudding.
-The fancy-sounding Gateau Basque is actually a traditional crumbly tart from the Basque region that's filled with pastry cream and berries. This extra-special version calls for brandied cherries.
-Last but certainly not least is the ever-trendy Mille-Feuille, which is layers of crisp puff pastry stacked with pastry cream and fruit -- in other words, a Napoleon.
What's your favorite French dessert?