Famous French Desserts

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Many famous French desserts have come to be all time kitchen classics, such as bread pudding, while others pock mark the expensive dessert menu of restaurants around the world (creme brulee comes to mind)…

Revered in the food distribution industry for their simplicity, classic flavor combinations, unique textures, and visual appeal, these classic French desserts are sure to please.

Some famous French desserts below are quick and easy to cook and can be done simply in any home kitchen, give or take a few culinary gadgets… and others require a bit of expertise~

- just don’t be intimidated by those French desserts on an expensive restaurant menu. Because, it all comes down to understanding – and that’s where I come in — and the reason for this site. To share knowledge, and rejoyce in the ability to learn. Blessed be~

…eventually I will update a free recipe for each of the famous French desserts I discuss, and a brief description of the techniques and it’s history on this page… I strive to over deliver great content so I don’t end up wasting your time.

Now lets dive in, shall we?

Chocolate Satin Mousse is a form of light and creamy dessert classically made from egg yolks, sugar, a base flavoring (chocolate), and whipped egg whites. Cream or milk is often used to lighten the dish and aid in melting the pure chocolate. This satin mousse recipe is to die for…

Chocolate Souffle are not unlike a mousse in key ingredients (above)- with the exception that they typically contain flour in addition and are baked (rather than cooled)- which provides structure to the egg white inflated base (again chocolate)…

One could say that the chocolate mouse and souffle are two sides of the same culinary coin. One is cooled (yin) and one is warmed (yang) in its production.

The Clafoutis is a classic custard-like baked French dessert.Traditionally a Clafouti incorporates whole un-pitted cherries baked in a pancake like batter in a deep dish. Other fresh fruit can also be baked in this fashion but are known as “Flaugnarde“.

Custards are baked egg-liquid mixtures that use the congealing effect of cooked egg yolks to create a thick, almost rubbery, end product A good custard should hold an edge when cut. There are both savory and sweet custards, such as quiche or flan.

Creme Brulee is a classic French baked custard dessert consisting of a rich vanilla-custard base topped with a layer of hard caramel, typically created by caramelizing sugar under a broiler or with a butane torch.

The earliest known reference of this famous French dessert is in François Massialot’s 1691 cookbook, later translated into english during the early eighteenth century.

Creme Caramel or Flan is yet another delicious French custard dessert, typically with a layer of soft caramel on top, as opposed to the Creme Brulee which has a hard caramel top.

Famous French Desserts

A common theme in French cooking involves understanding the unique and varied effects of heat on food and this is most exemplified in the mousse/souffle & creme brulee/flan dessert dichotomies…

Crepes are a famous French dessert originating from the northwestern region of France, Brittany. Although, crepes are typically served as a dessert, topped with chocolate nutela, whipped cream, or a slew of berries, they can also be served as savory main dishes.

Creperie’s are takeaway restaurants or stalls serving crepes as a form of fast food on every highly visited street in Paris, from the Louvre to the Tour Eiffel. Others creperies may be more formal sit-down restaurants, cafes, or brasseries.

…because crepes are served both as a savory (main) or a sweet (dessert) dish in France, Creperies tend to incorporate a wide variety of ingredients on their menus.

Perhaps the best known example of this classic dessert is Crepes Suzette : a hot sauce of caramelized sugar, orange juice, lightly grated orange peel and liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) on top a sweet crepe.

Flourless Chocolate Cake is a type of cake made from an aerated chocolate custard, not unlike a baked chocolate mousse – or a souffle minus the flour. Typically the batter is made from egg, sugar, and chocolate, with the egg whites being whipped and folded in to provide air and is finally baked in a bain marie to bake the dessert evenly. This is a great gluten free French dessert.
Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes is similar in composition, but may contain a little flour. The key component is that this famous French dessert is often presented collapsing into itself. This has recently become common in many French restaurants.

Fruit Tartlets are another one of those famous French desserts found in the many bakeries and patisseries throughout France. These cute 3″ brown butter tarts are typically filled with a vanilla pastry cream filling and topped with neatly arranged fruit. A glaze of simple syrup will do the job of keeping the berries preserved and adding a glossy coat to the end product.

Madeleines or petite madeleine are a traditional small sponge cake from Commercy, a commune of the Meuse département in northeastern France. This butter and lemon flavored cake has a most distinct shell shape pattern imprinted unto it from the shell-like depressions in the aluminum trays they are baked in.

Traditional madeleine recipes include very finely ground nuts (usually almonds) as well as common cake ingredients such as flour, eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla. These treats are sometimes eaten for breakfast with a nice warm mug of chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) or a cafe au lait (espresso with milk). Other times they are eaten as a 4:00pm snakc throughout France with nutela hazlenut chocolate smeared up on it.

Tarte Tatin is an upside down apple tart in which the apples are caramelized in sugar and butter before being baked.

This famous French dessert became the signature dessert of the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France beginning in 1898, from which it originates.

In North america Tarte Tating is best made with the firm Golden Delicious apples, which are not the type used in conventional American-style apple pies.


Tuile is a butter + confectionary sugar batter that is cooked to make paper thin cookies to top desserts. The process involves smearing tuile paste onto a silicon pad with a layer of cardboard or silicon on top the sil-pad that has triangle or rectangular negative space – creating triangle or other shapes of tuile on the silicon pad. The pad is then placed in an oven and watched carefully while it cooks and hardens. As it begins to turn golden, remove it from the oven and either let them air dry flat or remove them from the sil-pad and let them droop on a baking pin to add a curve in the cookie..

Ice Cream is yet another wonderful dessert that can be enjoyed as is or as an accompaniment to many other famous French dessert. Best of all, this is a simple dessert recipe. Ice cream merely involves cooking up a batch of Creme Anglaise and putting it in an ice cream mixture. To flavor the ice cream one simple adds them on the stove.

It should be clear by now why it is important to master the fundamental cooking basics before proceeding to more daunting and difficult culinary creations.

Because French Cuisine is empirical, everything ahead builds upon the foundation that came before. Advanced dishes and desserts merely involving the integration of many simple dessert recipes and techniques – for example, a molten lava cake topped with tuile, fresh fruit, and accompanied by honey lavender ice cream. This is just three recipes pooled into one famous French dessert.