Classic French Macarons
French macarons (made with almond flour, and distinct from their coconut cousins, macaroons) require some practice and patience. But even if they're not perfect, they're always delicious--and gluten-free. This recipe calls for a simple orange buttercream filling, which can be adapted for a wide variety of flavor combinations.
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar gougeres are perfect on New Year's eve with cava.
Brown Butter Pistachio Financiers
Top Chef winner Kristen Kish adds ground pistachios and nutty brown butter to her adorable little cakes, based on a classic French petit four.
Pistachio Cream-Filled Eclairs and Cream Puffs
These light pastries are filled with a terrific pistachio-studded pastry cream and topped with a creamy glaze.
Peach and Berry Croustades
Shelly Register, the pastry talent at Aubergine restaurant in Newport Beach, California, and at Village Bakery in nearby Costa Mesa, wants her desserts to take people back to their childhoods. If you didn't grow up eating French fruit tarts, Register's will make you wish you had.
High-fat, European-style butter is the key to these high-rising and delicious croissants.
Gerald Hirigoyen's airy beignets (doughnuts) can be deep-fried a few hours in advance and recrisped in the oven just before serving.
Pain Perdu with Roasted Plums
Los Angeles pastry chef Karen Hatfield sprinkles her egg-soaked bread with cinnamon sugar before cooking it, creating an excellent crispy crust. She then tops the French toast with roasted plums and creme fraiche, creating the ultimate breakfast (or dessert).