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French pastries - names and flavors

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Sep 4th, 2005, 09:45 AM
  #1
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French pastries - names and flavors

Wondering if anyone has a resource to learn about types of pastries that line the shelf in the local patisserie..

For instance, what are the differences (what's the flavor) of these?
- Napoleon (mille-feuille)
- Opéra
- Madeleine
and so on...
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Sep 4th, 2005, 10:34 AM
  #2
RJD
 
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My experience has taught me that you have to try them for yourself. Rigerous testing is necessary. Perhaps a one new pastry a day schedule. My own version of the testing, in addition to creating a small hazard to my health, leads me to suggest the Napoleans are best. But you have to check that out for yourself.
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Sep 4th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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My experience has been the same as RJD- testing is the only way !
My experience has involved lots of chocolate
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Sep 4th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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Perhaps we can start a French pastries thread!

1. Napoléon/mille-feuille

Layers of puff pastry with pastry cream sandwiches in between the layers. Thin layer of glaze on top.

2. Madeleine (see Proust)

Small sponge-like cookie often servee with afternoon tea. Shapes like an elongated shell and baked in special tins.
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Sep 4th, 2005, 10:52 AM
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I can already feel the fat cells expanding just from reading this.
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Sep 4th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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My favorite, and quickly becoming an endangered species .. those adorable little swans filled with real whipped creme.

I'm a sucker for palmiers too.

Nina
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Sep 4th, 2005, 11:23 AM
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On my first trip to Paris I walked by the windows full of pastries. Nothing special thought I (please, I was very young) and instead spent all my francs (I said I was young) at Bertillion. Towards the end of that first trip I finally caved. That first bite of an Opera bar is still vividly etched in my heart (and probably still on my backside, as well). I was addicted. Since then I have been heavily involved in field testing and my all time favorite is the Opera...no, it is the almond croissant...no, it is those little swans with whipped cream....oh heck, this could go on all day.
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Sep 4th, 2005, 11:26 AM
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I have not found the matchig names, yet, but I just Googled "french Pastries" and then clicked "Images". Wow! If you don't gain a pound just looking at those pictures, you are not looking as hard as I am.

We leave for Scotland and France next week and I promise to conduct further research for you addicted Fodorites.

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Sep 4th, 2005, 11:27 AM
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"..I'm a sucker for palmiers too.."

Definitions, please....
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Sep 4th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Another who loves palmiers! When I'm in France, I buy one in every boulangerie I see.
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Sep 4th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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I walk past a window full of pastries. I hear one calling my name and have to taste them all until I am sure which one was calling me.
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Sep 4th, 2005, 12:07 PM
  #12
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http://clvweb.cord.edu/french/abroad...hoto%20122.jpg

As my husband would say, "I can describe that in two words -










MMMMM - MMMMM !!
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Sep 4th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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ira
 
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Hi T,

There are so many of them.

I suggest that you do your own research.

Go into a shop. Point to something. Ask its name. Writr it down. Eat it.

If you like it, write a full description.

If you don't, don't.

Repeat as necessary.

Claim that you are writing a book on French pastries and deduct the cost from your income tax.

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Sep 4th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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Tavelnut, I'm an eater not a baker, so someone will have to help me out on this. A palmier is a flakey, flatish pastry made from puff pastry and sugar. It can be small like a cookie, or the size of your hand. They are golden brown in color. They are kind of crunchy. I just read somewhere what they represent but I have forgotten. They kinda look like fleur de leys. (sp)

Since they flake all over you and your clothes, they are best eaten rapidly as you walk down the street towards the next bakery.

Nina
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Sep 4th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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My favorite French pastry is the pithiviers, when classically made with almond paste - the kind you just can't find here in the U.S. The two components are, puff pastry and almond frangipane. I am also fond of them with some prune filling.

The flavor: butter, almond, sugar, butter. Did I mention butter?

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Sep 4th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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ira
 
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Don't forget macarons.
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Sep 4th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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I may be wrong, but I was taught that palmiers were to resemble "elephant ears"

And ira is right - this discussion must include macarons.

I will take lemon over chocolate any day.
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Sep 4th, 2005, 01:05 PM
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Palmiers are generally about 6 inches in diameter - the American version is called Elephant Ears if you are familiar with those. Palmiers are made from flaky pastry - with lots of butter of course - and sugar. The pastry is rolled with butter and folded and rolled with more butter and folded etc until there is a log of pastry with hundreds of thin pastry layers, when sliced forming a heart shape. They should not be crunchy, but maybe a tiny bit crisp on the outer edges, getting slightly chewy as you eat to the center. If overbaked, they become too dry so don't buy one that's dark. The store-bought packaged versions are tiny and crunchy, but the good ones are sitting on the boulangerie shelves even as I write this...calling out to me....
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Sep 4th, 2005, 02:24 PM
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Palmiers, surely, are thought to represent - palmtrees (or at least the conventional ways of drawing them).

And nukesafe should of course road-test and report back on pastries in Scotland: and not just shortbread and Tunnock's Caramel Wafers, either..!
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Sep 4th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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In Provence we found delicacies called, if I remember correctly, chouettes--little puffy balls of creampuffs glazed with an egg wash and then sprinkled with sugar crystals. Absolutely addictive.
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