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20 Classic French Desserts to Impress

20 Classic French Desserts to Impress

Classic French desserts are the epitome of sophistication. These sweet delights range from deceptively simple to challenging: there is something for every skill level in this collection of tempting French dessert recipes!

20 Classic French Desserts to Impress, from Easy to Sophisticated // FoodNouveau.com

How many times have you imagined yourself sitting outside a Parisian café nibbling on a luscious dark chocolate éclair or trying to decide which perfectly formed macaron you will eat next? The French certainly know how to make the most delightful and sophisticated desserts!

But you can make your own favorite, classic French desserts right at home. Some are, admittedly, challenging and should be reserved for weekend projects. But, there are many recipes here that are deceptively simple and quick to whip up. People will think you’re a magician in the kitchen!

The key with French dessert recipes is to make sure you read the recipe in full before you start and to prep your workspace. Make sure you have your ingredients lined up and ready. Measure out the quantities before you start. And finally, familiarize yourself with any techniques you’re unsure of. Many of the recipes listed in this collection contain videos to help you! YouTube is also a great resource and you can also check out my Skillshare classes on French macarons and choux pastry (for éclairs) to get you started on your French baking journey.


1. Classic Madeleines

by Food Nouveau

Tasting a classic madeleine right as it comes out of the oven is an unforgettable experience. Learn how to successfully make them at home using clever tips and an easy recipe.

Classic Madeleines by Food Nouveau

2. Dark Chocolate Éclairs

by Food Nouveau

Chocolate éclairs are a timeless French pastry shop staple! While making homemade éclairs sure looks like an impressive feat, you’ll be happy to learn they’re surprisingly easy to make. Learn how to make them with the help of a detailed, step-by-step recipe, clever tips, and a video class!

Dark Chocolate Éclairs by Food Nouveau

3. Apple Tarte Tatin

by The Bake School

Apple tarte tatin is an easy French tart baked upside down in a skillet: the apples are baked in caramel under a layer of puff pastry or pie dough and the dessert is flipped to serve it, revealing a beautiful apple tart.

Apple Tarte Tatin by The Bake School

4. Classic French Lemon Tart

by Food Nouveau

This elegant classic French lemon tart is deceptively easy to make and has a delightfully rich, mellow lemony flavor that pleases all citrus lovers. Tips to make foolproof shortcrust pastry from scratch included!

Classic French Lemon Tart by Food Nouveau

5. French Fruit Tart

by House of Nash Eats

Fresh, colorful, and bursting with juicy fruit, rich pastry cream, a deliciously sweet pastry crust, and an easy fruit tart glaze, this French fruit tart recipe makes a showstopper dessert that is perfect for spring & summer!

French Fruit Tart by House of Nash Eats

6. Apple Frangipane Tart

by Food Nouveau

This nutty Apple Frangipane Tart is a delightfully comforting dessert that combines an easy press-in crust, a rich but not-too-sweet almond filling, and a gorgeous apple topping. It’s another one of those French desserts that looks spectacular but comes together easily. An obvious choice for cooler seasons!

Apple Frangipane Tart by Food Nouveau

7. Cherry Clafoutis

by Champagne Tastes

Cherry clafoutis is an easy, classic French dessert that’s part cobbler and part custard. It’s also a delicious way to use fresh summer cherries!

Cherry Clafoutis by Champagne Tastes

8. Flan Parisien

by Pardon Your French

Flans and custards of all kinds hold a high rank in French baking, and this Parisian Vanilla Custard Pie (more commonly known as a “Flan Parisien”) is no exception. This hefty pie features a sturdy, sandy blackened crust hiding a rich and creamy vanilla custard under a thick blackened skin. You’ll find it sold in most French bakeries, and basically every bakery in Paris, as it is unarguably a Parisian favorite.

Flan Parisien by Pardon Your French

9. Classic French Financiers

by Food Nouveau

Everything you need to know about French financiers, the elegant tiny cakes you can serve for tea or dessert, or make as a delicious edible gift. Includes several flavor variation ideas!

Classic French Financiers by Food Nouveau

10. French Macarons

by Food Nouveau

French macarons have long captured the hearts of francophiles worldwide. While macarons are notoriously difficult to make, with the right recipe and instructions, anyone can make them. Learn how to achieve this French treat in your home kitchen! This detailed recipe comes complete with troubleshooting resources and access to a video class.

How to Make French Macarons by Food Nouveau

11. Classic French Apple Cake

by Pardon Your French

A tender, buttery, rum-flavored crumb nestled with big chunks of apples makes the Classic French Apple Cake a delicious staple. Right before baking, the cake gets dusted with sugar to create a signature crackly top that makes it even more unique, all while letting the apples shine beautifully. It is a simple and timeless cake recipe, just sweet enough and with a delightful more-apple-than-crumb-ratio. A must for your French baking repertoire.

Classic French Apple Cake by Pardon Your French

12. Easy Orange Yogurt Cake

by Food Nouveau

Spectacular cakes don’t always need to involve complicated techniques and a full day’s work! This deceptively easy recipe for orange yogurt cake produces a light and fluffy treat you can enjoy as-is or garnish more creatively for special occasions.

Easy Orange Yogurt Cake by Food Nouveau

13. French Opera Cake

by Liv For Cake

A modern take on a French classic, this decadent Opera cake is rich, chocolatey, and packed with espresso flavor.

French Opera Cake by Liv For Cake

14. Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème

by Food Nouveau

It’s so easy to make luxurious French Chocolate Pots de Crème: only 5 basic ingredients are required to make this elegant French dessert! No fussy water bath baking either: mere minutes of stovetop cooking and a 3-hour hands-off refrigeration time will result in these rich and intensely chocolatey treats. Chocolate pots de crème are the perfect make-ahead dessert, too: you can keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days, if you’re the kind of person that has the willpower to make the pleasure last!

Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème by Food Nouveau

15. Chocolate Mousse

by House of Nash Eats

Light and airy Chocolate Mousse is rich, decadent, and unfussy but still sophisticated finish to any meal! This easy dessert recipe is great for making ahead for elegant entertaining, and divine with a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh raspberries or strawberries served with it!

Chocolate Mousse by House of Nash Eats

16. Classic Crème Brûlée

by The Flavor Bender

Silky, creamy custard, topped with a thin, crackly layer of caramel, this is the perfect crème brûlée. It’s a simple, yet elegant and decadent dessert!

Classic Crème Brûlée by The Flavor Bender

17. Oeufs à la neige

by By Andréa

Oeufs à la neige (eggs in snow) is a delicious dessert. It’s called this way because this dessert looks like there are piles of snow (cooked meringue) swimming in the custard. And all is covered with a crispy almond praline.

Oeufs à la neige by By Andréa

18. Poire Belle Hélène

by What a Girl Eats

Poires Belle Hélène is a classic French bistro dessert made with fresh poached pears, homemade chocolate sauce and French vanilla ice cream.

Poire Belle Hélène by What a Girl Eats

19. Classic French Crêpes

by Veronika’s Kitchen

Learn how to make the best homemade French Crêpes from scratch! Super easy to prep in a blender, they will be perfectly thin with slightly crispy edges.

Classic French Crêpes by Veronika's Kitchen

20. Salted Butter Caramels

by Food Nouveau

Salted butter caramels are an addictive treat you can buy at high prices in fancy gourmet stores. Did you know that you could easily make this classic French candy at home? This detailed recipe is complete with clever tips and detailed instructions that will breezily walk you through the process.

Salted Butter Caramels by Food Nouveau

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