Teatime in Paris! A Walk through Easy French Patisserie Recipes


In Teatime in Paris! Jill Colonna shows you the easiest way to make many French pâtisserie classics, while keeping it authentic, full of flavor, and creative. Not only has Jill cracked how the French create such tantalizing cakes but she’s also discovered how they can eat these beautiful pastries and stay slim! Jill guides you through a simple step-by-step process for each recipe to make treats such as teacakes, eclairs, cream puffs, macarons, tartlets and many more pastries that you’ll find on this mouth-watering journey through Paris.

This is a sweet walk around the “City of Light.” As Jill takes you from the easiest of treats to the crème de la crème, she points out some of the streets famous for the best pâtisseries in Paris, adding bits of history en route and plenty of baking tips, making the recipe tour fun and accessible.

Jill Colonna is the bestselling author of Mad about Macarons. She thought pâtisserie and macarons were hard to make when she first moved to France, after she fell in love with a Frenchman in her native Scotland.

Making the move to Paris in 1993, Jill couldn’t speak much French and had never needed to entertain before. Realizing her banana surprise with custard from a packet mix was not going to hack it with her French dinner guests, she needed to improve her culinary skills tout de suite in order to impress. Over the years she has gained confidence by learning cooking tricks from her French friends and family.

As a busy working mom, Jill began to make pâtisserie as a hobby-partly as a challenge, and partly for her budget. Calling herself a “lazy gourmet,” she loves exploring ways to make impressive-looking treats without spending too much time or money on them, while keeping the authenticity of pastry’s exquisite taste.

Previously a professional musician, Jill continues to enjoy playing flute and piano and also conducts chocolate shop and pâtisserie walking tours around St Germain des Prés in Paris.

Chocolate-Earl Grey Tartlets with Orange-Liqueur Crumble Puffs (Tartelettes Chocolat et thé à la Bergamote)

Chocolate Éclairs (Éclairs au Chocolat) kf 4

Chocolate-Earl Grey Tartlets with Orange-Liqueur Crumble Puffs (Tartelettes Chocolat et thé à la Bergamote)Chocolate-Earl Grey Tartlets

So many tea salons and chocolate shops in Paris serve cakes, pastries and chocolates that have been flavoured with speciality teasor herbal infusions. It’s so tendance (trendy), darlings. For the ultimate tea-in-cake salon, head to Rue des Grands Augustins or the Carrousel du Louvre. Founded in 1854, Mariage Frères was the first tea shop in Paris and now they also have a tea museum there. Tea came to Europe via Holland then to France in 1636 (and England 14 years later). During the 17th–18th centuries, although popular, it was considered a luxury item.

Louis XIV was reputed to have been a lover of tea as much as of mistresses. Madame de Sévigné, famous for her letters chronicling life in the royal court at the time, mentioned that it was the Marquise de la Sablière who initiated the Chinese fashion of adding milk to tea, a touch that the British later adopted. Personally I don’t see this fashion continuing much in Paris these days. I often have to remind servers several times to bring my tiny jug of milk and, Mon Dieu, some tea salons even charge you for it!

If you happen to have a little extra choux dough left, then make this your crème de la crème teatime tartlet. I suppose you could say the cream puffs have been “choux-laced”! A whisper of Grand Marnier™ brings out the orangey bergamot Earl Grey tea, but for busy gourmets you can leave the choux empty as chouquettes and dribble a little melted chocolate over the top.

Makes 4 tartlets

Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Chilling time: 2 hour

Temperature: 160°C/320°F fan (Gas 4)

Sweet pastry:

65g butter, at room temperature

35g icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

¼ tsp salt

½ egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

120g plain flour (all-purpose), sifted

Chocolate-earl grey ganache:

160g dark cooking chocolate

80g milk chocolate

240g cream

2 Earl Grey teabags

Choux dough:

35g water

25g milk

¼ tsp sea salt (or fleur de sel)

1 tsp sugar

25g butter

35g flour (plain, all-purpose)

1 egg

Grand Marnier™ pastry cream:

250g full-cream milk

1 vanilla pod

3 egg yolks

40g caster sugar (superfine sugar)

25g cornflour (cornstarch)

2 tbsps Grand Marnier™

Serve with Earl Grey tea

1. With half portion of the sweet pastry recipe on pages 106–9, make the plain or chocolate tartlets following the basic recipe (why not make the whole portion and freeze half of the dough). Bake at 160°C/320°F fan (Gas 4) for 12–15 minutes.

2. To make the ganache filling: Break up the chocolate into chunks in a bowl. Heat the cream with the earl grey teabags in a saucepan until near boiling. Take off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Remove the teabags and reheat the cream to nearly boiling. Pour half of the hot cream directly onto the chocolate.

3. Stir gently using a wooden spoon, add the rest of the hot cream and combine until the ganache is smooth and silky.

4. When the pastry is cool, pour in the chocolate ganache and leave to cool in the fridge for about an hour.

5. Make choux pastry following instructions on page 64 (except you are making a quarter quantity) or preferably use a quarter quantity of choux pastry that you have previously prepared, and pipe out about 12 choux puffs. Bake and set aside to cool.

6. Make the pastry cream following basic instructions on page 72 and set aside to chill for an hour, covered in cling film. When cold, whisk and add a teaspoon more of Grand Marnier™ to taste, if necessary. Put the cream into a piping bag with a 6–7mm (¼”) tip. Pierce a hole at the bottom of each choux puff and pipe in the cream.

7. Garnish each tartlet with three choux puffs. Set aside in the fridge.

8. Remove the tartlets from the fridge 20 minutes before serving, to bring out the flavours.kf 4

 Chocolate Éclairs (Éclairs au Chocolat)Chocolate Eclairs

Éclairs can come in all kinds of fancy packaging as if decorated for a catwalk fashion show but there’s nothing to beat a “plain” chocolate éclair. Apparently, following a recent French survey of chocolate éclairs in the “City of Light”, Stohrer, the oldest pâtisserie in Paris came up trumps in Rue Montorgueil. in 1725 Nicolas Stohrer was pastry chef to Louis XV in Versailles and opened his own pastry shop there in 1730. He may have invented the Baba au Rhum (rum savarin cake) dessert but this institution knows a thing or two about éclairs too!

Looking up éclair in the French dictionary, you’re given “a flash of lightening” as the translation. Well, given a bit of organization, you can make these as quick as a flash. Appropriately, the word, éclair, falls in the dictionary under éclat, which refers to something dazzling or brilliantly shiny. A chocolate éclair’s éclat comes from its glistening dark glaze (page 68).

Nut free

Makes approx. 8 éclairs

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Temperature: 160°C/320°F fan (Gas 4)

Chilling time: 2 hours

Choux dough:

75g water

50g milk

1 tsp sea salt (or fleur de del)

1 tbsp sugar

46g butter

75g flour (plain, all-purpose)

2 eggs

Chocolate cream:

200g milk

150g whipping cream

2 egg yolks

50g sugar

20g cornflour (cornstarch)

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g dark chocolate (at least 64% coca), broken into chunks

Chocolate glaze:

4g gelatine (2 x 2g sheets)

100g sugar

30g coca powder (100% unsweetened)

30g water

70g single cream

Serve with Assam, Earl Grey or Oolong teas

1. Follow the instructions on page 68 for the chocolate glaze and set aside to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F fan (Gas 4).

3. Prepare the choux dough following the instructions on page 64 (except you’re making a half quantity).

4. Using a 12mm (½”) plain or serrated tip, pipe out éclairs (about 12cm/4¾” long) on a baking tray covered with caking paper/parchment (or a silicone mat). Leave a good space between each mound, as they will expand during baking.

5. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes.

6. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

7. For the chocolate cream, heat the milk and cream in a saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Add the cornflour and vanilla extract and continue to whisk until smooth.

8. Gradually add the warm cream and return it to the pan, whisking constantly over a medium heat until thickened.

9. Remove from the heat, whisk in the chocolate bits until melted into a smooth, luxurious cream. Set aside and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

10. Pierce three holes at the bottom on each éclair and, using a piping bag with a small tip, pipe in the chocolate cream.

11. Prepare the chocolate glaze following instructions on page 68. Dip the éclairs in the glaze. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.