Sugar in French Desserts: What You Need to Know ?
Now, it should come as no surprise to learn that sugar is a rather important component in French desserts. After all, sugar plays a rather significant role in most desserts. However, you shouldn’t automatically assume that the French use the same kind of sugar as everywhere else.
In reality, there are several kinds of French sugar used in pastries and other sweet dishes. And, they can all be rather distinct. If you wish to get a better understanding of the kind of sugar ingredients utilised, then here are the components to be aware of:
Sucre Cristallise/Sucre Cristal
This is what you would refer to as plain white sugar or granulated sugar. Nonetheless, in many parts of the world, white sugar is made from cane sugar. In France, though, you are more likely to find sugar crystals made from beet sugar.
As you can imagine, this kind of sugar is used in a wide variety of desserts, including tasks. You will often find that it is what is sprinkled on top of crème brulee. An interesting fact is that beet sugar tends to caramelize a bit differently from sugar that is derived from cane.
Sucre Vergeoise and Cassonade
In France, brown sugars can be a little bit more complex than what most people are used to. This is because they can come from different sources. Sucre vergeoise is a brown sugar that is derived from beet sugar. It is quite similar to white sugar - the only difference is that it has been sprayed with a syrup.
If you are looking for something more authentic, then consider cassonade. This kind of sugar comes from cane sugar and is separated from white sugar before it is processed. Now, cassonade can come in light or dark versions and often consists of large, irregular crystals.
Like the white sugar, it can be used in any number of recipes that requires a form of granulated sugar. In particular, it is utilized if the recipe calls for a form of brown sugar.
High-grade, traditional cassonade can be rather difficult to come by these days. You are more likely to find overly processed versions. While these are perfectly fine, the taste won’t be the same when added to desserts. Thus, you could consider substituting a low-quality cassonade with white granulated sugar and maple flavor.
In the rest of the world, sucre glace is referred to as icing sugar or confectioner’s sugar. It is soft, powdery, and dissolves almost instantly. More often than not, this type of sugar is used to as a finishing touch for a wide variety of pastries. Sucre glace is pretty similar to the rest of the icing sugars found around the world. The only marked difference is that, in France, silica is added to the sugar instead of cornflour. This ingredient helps the sugar to flow more smoothly.
You are more likely to recognise this kind of sugar as pearl sugar. It has larger grains and doesn’t melt when exposed to heat. It is due to this that is used to add texture to various desserts. And, in the case of chouquettes, it is used for decorating as well.
These days, the sugar isn’t as easy to come by in France. It is something that most specialised pastry chefs are likely to use in their baking.
This type of sugar is more or less indigenous to France. It has fruit-based pectin and citrus acid added to it. As a result, the sugar cooks faster. It is due to this that it is often added to jam and fruit-based sauces.
It works wonders for homemade jams. This is what you need to know about the kind of sugars that are used in French desserts. As you can see, there is quite a bit of variation here. However, every ingredient helps to produce a delicious French treat.
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