10 Classic French Desserts

France has a long and delicious culinary history. French Chefs were historically at the forefront of advancing culinary techniques and ingredients, and their classic dessert creations were all made possible by new ingredients, techniques and inventions. French Chefs were also resourceful enough to make mistakes into classics and to create tribute desserts for famous people. Read on to learn more about the flavors, techniques and histories of 10 Classic French Desserts.

1. Chocolate Mousse

French Chefs started using chocolate in the early 17th century and since then chocolate has become a superstar of French desserts. Mousse means foam, a classic culinary technique, chocolate mousse is made with whipped chocolate, eggs and whipped cream.


2. Strawberry Savarin

Named after famed French foodie Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Strawberry Savarin is a delicate buttery yeast leavened cake, soaked in liquor and served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.


3. Crème Brulee

Crème Brulee first appeared in the 1691 edition of Francios Massialot’s classic French cookbook, this amazing dessert combines creamy vanilla custard with crisp caramelized sugar.


4. Peach Melba

Famous French Chef Escoffier created Peach Melba for to honor Australian Opera Singer Nellie Melba after she sang Wagner’s Lohengrin Opera in London. Escoffier layered ice cream, peaches and raspberry puree in a Swan carved out of ice and garnished the dessert with spun sugar.


5. Éclair

There are endless combinations of tastes and flavors that can be used to make Eclairs. Made with pate-a-choux pastry dough and filled with creams, jams or jellies and topped with glazes and icings Eclairs were created by French Chef Antonin Careme.


6. Crepes Suzette

Named after French actress Suzanne Reichenberg, whose stage name was Suzette. Crepes Suzzette are jam filled crepes, flambéed in liquor. The crepes were used as prop in a play and Monsieur Joseph, owner of Restaurant Marivaux flambéed the crepes to add excitement to the performance and to keep the dessert warm for the actors to eat.


7. Cherry Clafoutis

A specialty from the Limousin region of France. Clafoutis is traditionally made with black cherries in a creamy custard like batter.


8. Tarte Tatin

This delicious upside down tart was created accidently in the 1880’s when the Chef at Hotel Tartin south of Paris overcooked the fruit for the pie. With nothing else for dessert the Chef covered the caramelized apples with buttery pastry and it’s been a classic dessert ever since.


9. Chocolate Soufflé

Chocolate and eggs are whipped together to make this light and delicious dessert. In the 1820’s the invention of new air draft heated ovens made it possible for famed French Chef Antonin Carame to create the soufflé, originally made in a pastry shell until ceramic soufflé dishes were invented.


10. Palmiers

Palmier is the French word for Palm Leaf, these delicious cookies are flaky and crispy and taste like caramelized sugar and butter. Palmiers are made with an unleavened croissant style dough using the Middle Eastern method of layering dough and were invented in France in the early 20th century.



Written by Amanda Ashley.