Favorite French Dessert?

Jan 30th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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Favorite French Dessert?

What's the favorite dessert French use to punctuate their meals?

Well it turns out that rather plebean ice cream takes the cake - getting 13% of the vote (actually ice cream and sorbet were lumped together as one unit), followed by fruit tarts (10 %) chocolate mousse (8 %) profiteroles and tiramisu each at 7%.

What the heck are profiteroles and tiramisu? Never heard of those in my 37 years of visiting France??
PalQ is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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All of those beautiful desserts and the favorite is ice cream?!?! I personally would choose creme brulee, but apparently my choice isn't very popular.

I've never heard of profiteroles, but tiramisu is an Italian desert made with ladyfingers, espresso and mascarpone cheese...delicious if done correctly.

tcreath is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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profiteroles are like a small cream puff with a chocolate glazze on top.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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Profiteroles are little choux pastry balls filled with whipped cream, creme anglais or some sort of custard, piled up and with a chocolate sauce drizzled over.

A Chocolate Eclair is a long finger-shaped version of the profiterole.
julia_t is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:15 AM
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Pear tarte with an almond crust!
Guy18 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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My faves: tarte tatin, creme brulee, crepes filled with Nutella!
DejaVu is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:19 AM
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you are citing interesting things.

Profiteroles are my favorite French dessert and I find it astonishing that you have never heard of them in 37 years of visiting France. That's like saying you've never heard of chocolate mousse. They are a very traditional and common French dessert (basically small puff pastry with vanilla ice cream stuffed in them, topped with shavings of almonds and warm chocolate sauce). Well, used to be more common, but that's the problem as they are a little work when served properly so some restaurant don't have them on the menu anymore (properly, the puff pastry must be fresh that day, and the chocolate sauce should be warmed and served immediately).

It may be they are just perceived as more old-fashioned, as a lot of places don't serve chocolate mousse as much, anymore, either.

Tiramisu isn't French as far as I know, but I don't like if very much. It is far far too common at French restaurants and frequently mediocre IMO. I think it's really Italian. Some mushy cake concoction that has no real personality, IMO.
Christina is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:20 AM
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I absolutely second DejaVu's choices!! It is my life's mission to find the perfect creme brulee - the one where you can stand a spoon up. And I excavate underneath the caramelised sugar so that I can savour that for last. My dentist would kill me!!
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:27 AM
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Here's a photo of a profiteroles, though this one is messy. I have seen them everywhere.

cigalechanta is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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There's even a wonderful recipe for profiteroles in Ina Garten's Barefoor Contessa goes to France cookbook!!
capecodshanty is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:41 AM
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And at christmas time, they arrange the profiteroles (the little round ones, that is, because sometimes profiteroles can be longish, like mini eclairs)in a tall pyramid shape, stuck together with burnt sugar and bound with lacy strings of spun sugar wound round and round to form a showy display called a 'croquembouche'.
Mathieu is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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I love ile flottante, tarte tatin, un croquembouche (which consists of small cream puffs stacked up into a conical shape and glazed with spun caramel),and Angelina's Mont Blanc. Paris Brest is pretty good, too!
grandmere is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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Mathieu, missed your post or wouldn't have explained croquembouche--sure is good, though, isn't it?
grandmere is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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It is grandmere, and if I may say so myself, I've become quite a dab hand now at making them too; starting from the hot choux pastry to make the puffs, all the way through to piping them up with the thickened creme patissiere, then building the pyramid and finally spinning the threads to wrap around the structure.
I sure didn't first make it for the love of it, but did because I was piqued by the challenge of the whole process of making one. My kitchen was a proper mess by the time I finshed that first effort, but I surprised even myself with the end result which turned out betetr than I expected. It is as much an engineering effort as a culinary one.

Practice makes perfect, and I've made quite a few since then, thankfully now in about half as much time and mess.
(I'm not a chef - far from it - in case you were wondering, but do love food).
Mathieu is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Tarte tatin with flaming Calvados.
A close second was the Pears Helene (pears covered in chocolate) at Bastide Moustiers.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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Mathieu, I am really impressed! Spinning the threads scares me off. Hats (toques?) off to you!

We have a bona fide French bakery in Pgh.,where the baker makes a lovely croquembouche, and the chef here at the univ. where I work does a fine one, also.
grandmere is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 12:38 PM
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Vous etes tres gentille, grandmere.
The spun sugar isn't that difficult once you get the hang of it, but working with heated sugar in all instances is truly a kitchen challenge.

Since this topic is about favourite french desserts, I'll offer one of mine - a simple but well made 'peche melba'. Truly sublime, if made with properly ripened peaches and a smooth, rich vanilla ice cream are a must.
Mathieu is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 02:05 PM
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I had profiteroles on my very first trip to Paris, and have been hooked ever since.

Indeed, they are not on the majority of menus unfortunately.

The best I've had so far is at Au Pied du Cochon.

luveurop is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 02:17 PM
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Mathieu, I am so impressed with your profiterole proficiency. Yum, I love French profiteroles. I've had them with the pastry cream and with vanilla ice cream. Christina is correct, they are not on a lot of menus because they are a bit of work. Alas, I ordered some in a cafe St. Remy and they were still frozen, so some places are doing it the easy way.
Peche Melba, Paris Brest, Poached Pear ... I need a trip to France.
Luisah is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 02:46 PM
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The best dessert I ever had in France was at a Relais & Chateau property near Carcasonne... involved prunes and oranges!! My next best has been several that incorporate chestnuts.
Grandma is offline  

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