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Easy-peasy French pastries 

Easy-peasy French pastries made affordable and delectable. 

Tarte au citron (Lemon tart) 


For the all lemon lovers out there! Reduce the sugar for a tangier result. 


1 roll (400g) shortcrust pastry, defrosted 
1 lemon, zested and juiced 
3 lemons, juiced (1 cup juice total) 
¾ cup (150g) castor sugar 
125g bu er, cut into cubes 
4 eggs Edible flowers (optional)  


1 cup sugar 
1 cup water 
2 lemons, sliced 


  1. Grease a 23cm round loose-bottomed tart tin. 
  2. Roll the pastry out into a circle large enough to fi t up the sides of the tin. 
  3. Press pastry into the base and sides of tin, prick base all over with a fork. Freeze for 20 minutes. 
  4. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  5. Cover base of pastry with baking paper and add rice or beans to weigh down. 
  6. Bake for 12 minutes, remove paper and beans and bake for another 4-6 minutes, until golden. Remove and cool. 
  7. For the lemon curd, add the lemon zest, juice, sugar and butter to a pot over medium-low heat. 
  8. Whisk the mixture until sugar has dissolved and butter is melted, then add eggs and whisk to combine. 
  9. Increase heat to a gentle simmer and whisk until the mixture is thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Do not overheat as you will scramble the eggs. 
  10. Pass the lemon curd through a fine mesh sieve into a jug to remove any unwanted specks of egg or lemon seeds.
  11. Pour curd into tart base, smooth over with a spatula. 
  12. Bake tart for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely before refrigerating for 3 hours. 
  13. For the candied lemon slices, add the sugar and water to a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. 
  14. Add the lemon slices to the boiling mixture and cook for about 15 minutes, until translucent.
  15. Remove and drain on a wire rack until cool.
  16. Remove the tart from mould and place on a serving plate.
  17. Decorate with candied lemon slices and edible flowers, then slice to serve.

Cook’s note 
Cooking your lemon curd with a few lemon seeds will aid in creating a stable consistency as the seeds contain pectin, a natural thickening agent.  


Basil pesto palmiers 


A pop of savoury in between the sweet goes down a treat. Swap out the basil pesto for sun-dried tomato pesto, or add grated Cheddar for a saltier punch. 


1 packet (400g) puff pastry, defrosted 
4-5 Tbsp (60-75g) basil pesto, plus extra to serve 
1 clove garlic, grated 
½ packet (20g) grated Parmesan, plus extra 1 egg, whisked   


  1. Unroll the pastry on a flavoured surface and use a rolling pin to work it into a 2mm, even rectangle. 
  2. Spread pesto and garlic evenly over pastry surface. 
  3. Sprinkle evenly with the grated Parmesan. 
  4. Starting at the one long side, tightly fold inward toward the centre of the pastry until halfway. Fold the other long side inward until the two rolls meet up and form a log. 
  5. Brush the log where the two folds will meet with the egg wash and press together to seal. Halve the pastry. 
  6. Slice the pastry log in half, wrap both in clingfilm and freeze for 20 minutes, until firm. 
  7. Preheat oven to 200°C. 
  8. Remove clingfilm and slice pastry into 1cm-thick discs using a sharp knife. 
  9. Place on a lined baking tray and brush with egg. 
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden and crispy. 
  11. Arrange the palmiers on a serving tray, sprinkle with extra Parmesan and serve with extra pesto, if you like. 

Cook’s note 
These can be made a few days in advance. Follow the steps below to form the pastry and slice into discs before freezing in an airtight container. To cook, brush frozen palmiers with egg and bake at 200°C.  


Fool’s pain au chocolat  


Experiment with your favourite chocolate, or try dark chocolate for a deeper flavour.   


1 roll (400g) puff pastry, defrosted 
4 bar one chocolates (52g each), sliced into 3 lengthways 
2 eggs, whisked 
3 Tbsp milk


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. 
  2. Roll out pastry to 2mm thick, trim the edges to create a clean rectangle. 
  3. Halve the pastry lengthways, then divide into 10 smaller rectangles. 
  4. Place a piece of chocolate along the end width of one rectangle, roll over to enclose and add another, taking care to seal the edges as you roll (this keeps the chocolate secured inside). In total, add 2-3 pieces of the chocolate to each pastry sheet. 
  5. Brush the end fold with the egg and seal. Repeat with the remaining pastry and chocolate.
  6. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. 
  7. Place the pastries on a lined baking tray a few centimetres apart from each other. 
  8. Mix the egg and milk in a bowl. Brush pastry surfaces evenly with mixture. 
  9. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn heat down to 180°C and bake for another 10 minutes until golden and puffed. 
  10. To serve, dust with icing sugar and enjoy.

Cook’s note
You can alter the size of these pastries by placing the chocolate along the length of the pastry instead of the width. This will help create a wider, thicker pain au chocolat. 


Honey, peach and cinnamon galette  


Use any stone fruit you have at home, slicing thinly to ensure the fruit is cooked through. 


1 roll (400g) shortcrust pastry, defrosted 
1 egg, whisked  


2 peaches, sliced into thin wedges
2 plums, sliced into thin wedges 
½ tsp vanilla essence 
1 Tbsp corn flour 
2 tsp ground cinnamon 
3 Tbsp brown sugar 
1 egg, whisked 
3 Tbsp butter, melted 


Honey, to drizzle 
Vanilla ice cream, optional 


  1. Roll out the pastry into an oval, brush edge with egg and fold inward to create a 1-2cm border. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. 
  2. Combine the fruit, vanilla, corn flour, cinnamon and 2 Tbsp sugar in a bowl, mix together with your hands to distribute the flour and spice evenly. 
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  4. Arrange the portions of sliced fruit together on the pastry, creating natural curves to fill up the space. 
  5. Brush the pastry border with the egg and sprinkle with remaining sugar. 
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, remove and brush fruit with melted butter, bake for another 10-15 minutes until pastry is golden and fruit is glistening. 
  7. Remove and drizzle with honey before slicing and serving with a scoop of ice cream, if you like.

Local Twist Recipes & Styling: Sjaan Van Der Ploeg  
Photographs: Zhann Solomons 

Also read: Different pastries and how to use them

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