French Pastries of Southern France, Episode 34


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Every country has a tradition of sweet desserts, but what makes French pasties so famous? On today's show we are taking you on a Tour de France in Pastries, and specifically the pastries of the south of France. As you probably know, pâtisseries are to die for in France, and that's because there is a rich regional tradition for making the prettiest and tastiest desserts possible. When I lived in America I realized something important: in France it's not enough to make a beautiful pastries, it has to taste out of this world too! Let's sink our teeth in French pastries today!

French people don't eat patisseries every day, but when we do, we seek the best. We tell you all about it in today's show and the topic is so large that we divided it up in two shows. Today we concentrate on the pastries of Southern France, next week we go North. Enjoy!

Episode Highlights

  • How Do We Define French pastry?
  • Dessert Specialties of Southern France
    • Flan pâtissier
    • Gâteau Basque
    • Pastis Landais
    • Canelés de Bordeau
    • Clafoutis
    • Gâteau au yaourt
    • Croustade
    • Prunaux à l'Armagnac
    • Tarte Tropézienne
    • Les Navettes
    • Canestry in Corsica
    • Pogne de Romans
    • Échaudé in Albi
    • Crême Catalane and Rousquilles from Perpignan
    • French Dessert Traditions
    • Galette des rois (King's Cakes)
    • Crêpes at the Chandeleur (Candlemas)
Learn More: French Food and Wine
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clafoutis, the most generic and delicious of french pastries
Clafoutis

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French Food & Wine

11 Replies to “French Pastries of Southern France, Episode 34”

    1. Hello Kaye and welcome to Join Us in France! According to the Wikipedia article you point us to, “tourteau” means cake in the Poitevin dialect, so my guess is they think it’s dessert! I’ve never had it myself, you’ve convinced me to give it a try, then I’ll tell you if I think it’s dessert or not. Man, tough assignment 😉 In the meantime here’s the recipe for Tourteau Fromager by a French food blogger in English.

  1. I have found it difficult, almost impossible to find pastry goods made with cinnamon, here in France. I do believe I traveled to one region in France, it may have been Normandie or Bretagne, where I did find some cinnamon items but I am not sure even of that. In fact, when I go to Paris, I always make a point of having a cinnamon and sugar crepe as those are available there but don’t try to find such a crepe here in Bordeaux. I’ve yet to find one. In Spain, I found all kinds of pastry goods made with cinnamon and such a wonderful variety beyon that. There are only two places here in Bordeaux where I can find cinnamon rolls: Picard (these are not so good) and IKEA (these are actually quite good). And going a little bit beyond my cinnamon comment, I find the pastry goods in my home city to be almost the same, regardless of which boulangerie one happens to visit. I find that even the major chains like Paul and Brioche Doree carry the same, rather boring, pastries. I long for cannelle and a little more variety in selection.

    1. Hello Larry and welcome to Join Us in France! You make an excellent point actually. French people are not in love with cinnamon generally, unless you go all the way across the country to Alsace and the north east of France. There they love cinnamon and all sorts of “northern European” spices. And you’re right on-point too when it comes to bakeries all selling similar goods. French bakers are becoming better businessmen and they won’t continue to take chances with items that are not sure to sell. It’s too bad really, but I still find some occasional wonderful surprises here and there. For instance I’ll buy a “Jésuite” whenever I find one, and those are not as common as they used to be. Keep trying new bakeries!

  2. I’ve made a fruit tart from a recipe that calls for a spoonful of this and that for the directions. The recipe was given to me by my aunt’s really good friend who lives in France (my aunt and uncle lived in France for 12 years.) The tart has a pastry crust and is lined with chocolate/creme fraiche layer (thin) with canned pears and topped with an almond/creme fraiche mixture and baked and then dusted with powdered sugar. I’ve even used apricots instead of pears. It comes out beautifully. Have you heard of this style of pastry-dessert?

  3. My husband and I discovered navettes at La Cure Gourmande in Aigues-Mortes, along with chocolate olives! I think that’s the shop you were thinking of. There’s a branch on l’Île St. Louis in Paris. Expensive, but a great treat to take back from aa trip because they keep for quite awhile.