Making Jésuites, a French Patisserie Classic
Jésuites from the market in Old Cahors, 2008
Each visit to France has had its own flavor as we explored both city and countryside, north and south, examining the differences.
I love the constant street noise in Paris, even after midnight, but I also love the deep quiet of the dark countryside at 2 a.m.
Both city and country have one thing in common: Incredible outdoor food markets, filled with produce, cheese, meat and baked goods. The baked goods found in Paris seem a bit more inventive and elegant while the pastries of the south are rooted in tradition.
So it is with Jésuites, triangular-shaped puff pastries filled with frangipane (almond paste) and coated with powdered sugar or rich cream frosting.
Called Jésuites because they were once coated with chocolate (which would have resembled the long cassock of the Jesuit priest), the pastry triangles are a staple of the patisserie.
I tried making my own as a sort of Mardi Gras celebration, and while I made them the easy way, they turned out to be delicious.
Jésuites (makes four)
- 1 8-ounce package crescent rolls (or package of puff pastry)
- 1 can almond paste, softened (about two tablespoons per Jésuite)
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg white for an egg wash
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut or separate obtuse triangles. If you are using crescent roll dough, the triangle will be already scored. (I mistakenly cut off the peaks of mine, but as you see from the photos shot in Cahors, Jésuites have long peaks. Sometimes I am obtuse.)
Once the almond paste is soft enough to work with, spread about 2 tablespoons evenly each on top of four of the triangles. Next, match the shapes with other four triangles, sealing the edges.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and placed the Jésuites on the sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes, keeping on eye on them so they turn only a golden brown. Remove from oven. Coat with egg wash and then dust with powdered sugar.
Although the aesthetics of my first attempt left something to be desired, the texture and flavor were not unlike the Jésuite I first tasted in France.
|Jésuites from my oven, Wisconsin 2014|
Read more about Jésuites from the very knowledgable Marolyn at The Vagabond Gourmet. Her recipe is much fancier than mine, and I plan to try it next.
Jésuites remind me a bit of beignets. And since it is nearly Mardi Gras, I share this recipe from Nicole at Gluten Free on a Shoestring, which is hands-down the best blog for celiacs.
|My first Jésuite, Cahors 2008|