Easy French Dessert Recipes

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Canneles Bordelais Recipe Recipe

Canneles Bordelais Recipe

07.30.10 by Jackie

Cannelés Bordelais are French miniature sweets from Bordeaux. The batter is very similar to crêpe batter; butter is melted in warm milk, then eggs, rum (I used Cointreau liqueur), vanilla, citrus zest and flour. The two most difficult steps are to be patient about letting the batter rest and to bake the cannelés at the right temperature or they can deflate rapidly.

The traditional baking method requires a special fluted copper mold, greased with beeswax (I used butter) for a golden outer crust and easy unmolding. I use silicone molds, which are not quite authentic but the results are just as delicious. After baking, the tiny desserts will have a thick, caramelized crust and a tender custard center. The contrast is very nice, and they're wonderful right out of the oven.

Canneles Recipe with Picture


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Asian-Style Strawberry Napoleon Recipe (Mille-feuille Fraise Noix de Coco Dessert) Recipe

Mille-feuille, called "Napoleon" in the U.S., is a very popular French dessert. Traditionally [according to Wikipedia], a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry, alternating with two layers of cream pâtissière, but sometimes whipped cream or jam. The top is usually glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) strips, and combed.

I’ve made traditional mille-feuilles many times before, and I was in the mood for a change. I assembled a gluten-free version using layers of Vietnamese coconut paper called bánh phông sữa. They are paper-thin sheets made of coconut milk, sugar, cassava and condensed milk. I flavored the dessert with fresh strawberries and a coulis de fraise, which is a strawberry sauce. This dessert is bake-free and so easy to create, that I had the girls do the assembly. They had so much fun putting them together and even more making them disappear!


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Lavender Creme Brulee Recipe Recipe

Lavender Creme Brulee Recipe

04.09.10 by Jackie

I've been waiting for the lavender in my garden to blossom to be able to make my own Herbes de Provence mix. I had so much extra lavender that I thought I'd make our family's favorite dessert. Yes, crème brulée strikes again! Lavender has a strong floral taste, so a little bit goes a long way. To enhance the lavender aroma, I added lavender extract that I bought at Sur La Table store in Palo Alto. I really thought that the unusual flavor would turn off the kids but my little munchkin loved the lavender dessert the most and kept saying "It tastes like a flower, I love it!"

It's the third season we're planting lavender in our garden and I've learned that the variety most commonly used for cooking is English lavender, not French! So be on the look-out English lavender the next time you stop at the nursery.

If you're searching for a fancy French dessert for your next dinner party, try this recipe! On the practical side, you can make the cup dessert 'way in advance and create the sugar crust at the last minute. That way you can focus on your guests instead of dessert while still serving something fabulous. Your guests will be in awe.

Fresh Lavender Picture


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Blackberry Creme Brulee Recipe

Blackberry Creme Brulee

03.11.10 by Jackie

Crèmes brulées are my mother-in-law's pêcher mignon, which literally translates to "cute fault" in French (which means guilty pleasure). I keep telling her that these custard desserts can be flavored with anything and she keeps challenging me. She brought home a whole case of blackberries from our local market and asked if I could make her favorite dessert cups with them.

So after flavoring crème brulée with lemon, cherry, butterscotch, matcha green tea and masala chai, I was able to prove to her that I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.  It has occurred to me though that maybe her "challenge" is just an excuse to get me to make more crèmes brulées. As long as I can come up with more flavors, I'll keep playing along. After that, she'll have to come up with a better reason!


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Tarte Tatin aux Pommes (Upside down Apple Pie) Recipe

Tarte Tatin sounds like a fancy dessert, but really, it's just an upside down caramel apple tart. I made a simple tart shell using dough called pâte brisée. Instead of filling the shell though, I placed slices of apples that were cooked in a caramel sauce into the mold and then covered them with the tart shell. The tarts then went into the oven to cook the shell. 

You really should eat these treats almost as soon as they come out of the oven. To plate, just flip each mold and the apples will now be on top. If you wait too long, the caramel will harden and it will be difficult to unmold.  If you flip the tart out and let it sit, the crust will get soggy. This has never been a problem at my house because the smell of freshly baking apples always manages to gather the entire family in the kitchen.


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