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Desserts created in Paris

Paris is worldwide known for its gastronomy and especially its viennoiseries and pastries. It is not only a tradition but also an art of living; Parisians like to stroll in front of the windows of bakeries, enter them and succumb to the many sweet wonders. To delight your taste buds, let's look back at the 100% Parisian gourmet recipes and their history, each more enticing than the next.

The Saint Honoré


The Saint Honoré is named after the eighth bishop of Amiens, patron saint of bakers and Picardy.

It was invented around 1850 by Auguste Jullien, a young pastry chef from the Chiboust bakeries and pastry shops, who was the most famous Parisian pastry shop at the time on rue Saint-Honoré.

At first, this cake looked like a large brioche filled with custard cream. When Auguste Julien founded his own pastry shop, he reviewed the recipe and had the brilliant idea of using a shortcrust pastry base and making balls of choux pastry, which he garnished with cream, fixed with caramel.

A real delight and an essential dessert of French pastry that great chefs regularly revisit according to their desires and creativity!

The Millefeuille

Millefeuille is a piece of pastry made of three layers of puff pastry, two layers of custard and an icing sugar top. Its name refers to the superposition of sheets of dough that compose it. It is garnished with fruit, flaked almonds, jam or chocolate.

It was created by François Pierre de La Varenne in 1651 and perfected by Marie-Antoine Carême, chef of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord. But it was in 1867 that the pastry chef Sergent offered this dessert to his customers at the Seugnot pastry shop, then located at 28 rue du Bac in Paris in the 7th arrondissement.

Quickly, this dessert sold by the hundreds every day. Today, it is still experiencing a real craze from Parisians but also beyond the French borders!

The religieuse

If the mystery still hangs over the name of this pastry, we know that it dates back to the 19th century. Some believe that it would have been named after it because the colour of its icing is reminiscent of that of the nuns' robes.

It was in 1856 that this delicacy was created in the fashionable café: Frascati. Located on boulevard Montmartre, at the corner of rue Richelieu, the famous establishment, initially known as Jardin de Frascati, unknowingly gave birth to one of the most emblematic desserts in French cuisine.

However, at the time, the nun had a different form from the one we know today. It was a square of choux pastry filled with custard cream and topped with whipped cream. It was only at the end of the century that she took the shape of a large cabbage topped with another small stuffed cabbage, all iced and decorated with butter cream volutes.

The Opera

Consisting of a succession of Mona Lisa biscuits soaked in coffee syrup, ganache, coffee butter cream and covered with chocolate icing, the opera is a real delight. But who imagined this divine cake?

It was invented in 1955 by the pastry chef Cyriaque Gavillon, then head of the Dalloyau company. It gives this dessert a very refined rectangular shape and greatly reduces its sugar content to make it light.

For the choice of name, some claim that it was the wife of the pastry chef who named the cake "opera" in homage to the dancers who frequented her shop. Others believe that this name refers to the scene at the Palais Garnier, as flat and brilliant as this delight.

But five years after the creation of Gavillon, Gaston Lenôtre created his own Opera and claimed authorship. It was not until 1988 that the newspaper Le Monde decided to attribute its paternity to the Dalloyau house!

The financier

The financier is a rectangular little cake made from almond powder and egg whites. It was born in Lorraine in the Middle Ages, in a convent in Nancy where he was then known as "visitandine" because he was made by the sisters of the Order of the Visitation of Nancy. It seems that the sisters created this cake to avoid losing the egg whites, while they used the yolk as a fixative for their painting. However, this little cake was forgotten after the Renaissance, like all almond pastries, because it was believed at that time that this ingredient was a poison.

It was the pastry chef Lasne who, in the 1890s, brought this delicacy up to date by giving it the shape of a gold ingot, his shop being located near the stock exchange and most of his customers being financiers. So he has the brilliant idea of creating little almond bites that can be eaten without getting his hands dirty. There is also another anecdote according to which Swiss pastry chefs reproduced the recipe for visitandine. Whatever its origin, this specialty is worth gold!

The rum baba

Rum baba is a savarin served soaked in rum syrup. It originates in Poland and more precisely in "babka", a large round brioche in the shape of a crown, garnished with dried fruit and sometimes flavoured with lemon, which is usually served at Easter. The word babka means "old woman" or "grandmother" in Polish. This dessert was made by King Stanislas Leszczynski of Poland, father-in-law of Louis XV, who was in exile in France in the 18th century. Then Duke of Lorraine and installed at the Château de Lunéville, he asked his pastry chef Nicolas Strohrer to find a solution to make the kougelhopf less dry. The latter sprinkled the Malaga wine brioche with saffron and added pastry cream with currants. The result was a revelation for the Duke who, being a fan of the Tales of 1001 nights, named it "Ali Baba"! Then, the pastry chef put himself at the service of the King of France and opened his own shop: the "Pâtisserie Stohrer" at in Paris, which still exists. He improved the dessert, especially by soaking it with rum, and popularized it beyond the French borders.

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