Paris Bakeries

A couple of days ago it was le 14 juillet, Bastille Day.  I was reminded that this time last year I was playing visitor and traveller around Paris.  I spent a week in this captivating city with a mission.  Visit as many delightful Boulangeries et Pâtisseries as possible.

My experience of a bakery as a child went something like this.  Walk into shop.  Ask for desired item (for example, Lamington).  Wait for sales assistant to extract item with a set of tongs from the display area, then pop the item inside a plain white paper bag, and thrust across the counter for payment.

In stark contrast, the Boulangerie et Pâtisserie in Paris is an experience. Pâtisserie boutiques present their creations like works of art.  Macarons, chocolates, pastries are all eagerly showcased to full advantage.  The care and attention taken is beyond words.  The bread you find in a Boulangerie is bold, crusty and chewy.  It is always fresh and smells heady.  The accompanying packaging to present your macarons, or pocket your baguette, is often striking in itself and serves to highlight the deliberate effort to deliver nothing but quality. 

So after much walking, admiring and tasting, I present my top visits during that week. They truly were some of the best bakeries and pastries in Paris.

:: Pierre Hermé :: is undisputedly one of the pastry masters in Paris.  Visiting a boutique is an experience, a true sensory overload.  The pastry is exquisite.  Faultless.  You cannot make a bad choice if you tried.  { Read more here … }
72, rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris

:: Ladurée :: is French through and through … it has a certain je ne sais quoi.  You cannot visit Paris without a visit.  And if you are obsessed with the macaron (like me!), you probably will not be able to stop with dropping in just the once.  { Read more here … }
21, rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris

:: Gérard Mulot :: is an institution in Paris.  Visit and take in the impressive macarons, les petits gateaux, and les chocolates on offer.  If you plan to visit Paris, book yourself in to a “behind the scenes” tour organised by the Paris Tourist Board.  It is priceless.  { Read more here and here … }
93 rue de la Glacière, 75013 Paris

:: Fauchon :: is modern and slick.   Expecting a simple éclair with chocolate glaze?  Think again.  The pastries are vibrant and bold.  Make sure you pick up some of their famous madeleines.  { Read more here … }
30, Place Madeleine, 75008 Paris

:: Gosselin :: is known for its baguettes.  It truly is one of the best bakeries in Paris.  They make great sandwiches which are perfect to pick up while sightseeing.  Popular with locals and tourists alike.  { Read more here … }
258 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007 Paris

:: Poilâne :: is a destination boulangerie.  There is an outstanding selection of sourdough, definitely not to be missed.  The petit store is just adorable, too.  { Read more here … }
8 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris

:: Maison Kayser :: is deservedly known for its croissants.  Wickedly rich, but light.  They practically melt in your mouth.  They are a taste sensation and certainly one of the best pastries in Paris.  { Read more here … }
14 Rue Monge, 75005 Paris

:: le Boulanger de Monge :: is a little gem.  Grab a baguette, then pick up a few items at the near by markets at Rue Mouffetard for your own Paris picnic.  { Read more here … }
123 Rue Monge, 75005 Paris

:: Chez Angelina :: serves hot chocolate that is out of this world.  A (not so healthy!) dose of hot chocolate plus coffee – served with deliciously warm milk – kick-started my Boulangeries et Pâtisseries challenge.
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

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Lemon glazed madeleines

The lovely Gine at i dolci fammo felici recently posted some adorable madeleines.  I was instantly reminded of the fluffy, buttery shell shaped cakes I tasted in Paris last year at Fauchon

A few months back I did bake some chocolate madeleines, but Gine’s post reminded me I still needed to tackle the more traditional lemon.  Madeleines are my favourite sweet petit French treat – behind macarons, of course!

The recipe is courtesy of David Lebovitz.  I followed it to the letter and was easily able to produce some tasty little shelly treats.  The simplicity and elegance of these little cakes is just so charming.  I will certainly be making more!

{ Lemon Glazed Madeleines }
Adapted from The Sweet Life In Paris by David Lebovitz

* Ingredients *

Batter:
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
zest of one small lemon
9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds

Icing:
3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water

* Directions *

1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
3. Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)
4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
7. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by 3/4’s (you’ll have to eyeball it, but it’s not brain-surgery so don’t worry if you’re not exact.) Do not spread it.
8. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.
9. Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they’re cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.
Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they’re best eaten the day they’re made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. I don’t recommend freezing them since the glaze will melt.

Makes 24 cookies

fauchon

Next stop on my Paris Pâtisserie et Boulangerie expedition was Fauchon.  My Francophile friend, C., strongly urged me to include a little wander about Place de la Madeleine in the 8th arrondissement.  She is a true gourmand with impeccable taste, so I knew it was a ‘must visit’.

My partner is not so mad about patisserie as myself, but the mention of cheese, cured meats, and wine and you have his attention.  So we wandered to that gastronomically enriched area to take in the delightful stores.  We perused Hediard, la Maison de la Truffle and Maille for the most fabulous savoury delights.  Then my sugar radar forced me to wander over to Fauchon.  I would have had a serious conflict with Ladurée also in plain view had I not already dropped by the 6th arrondissement boutique.

At Fauchon, you are immediately impressed by the slick, modern presentation of the store.  There are no simple éclairs here!  The most vibrant decorations adorned these Pâte à choux treats.

Fauchon is also known for their madeleines.  I adore these little buttery cakes, so purchased a ‘souvenir’ tin full to take home with me.  With our taste and visual sensors surely heightened at this stage, we purchased a little snack to satisfy our developing hunger.  We then took a wander along the river to wrap up our day.  Paris, je t’aime.

Fauchon
24-30 place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris