French pastry is both an art and a science. The eye-catching decorations of this particular niche of baked goods are easily veganized, but the science behind light-as-air diplomat cream and tender tart crusts is not as easily modified. Last year, celebrity chef and serial entrepreneur Matthew Kenney partnered with the internationally renowned Ladurée patisserie to accomplish what many have failed to do: veganize French pastry. Since Maison Ladurée Plant Based opened its doors in Beverly Hills, our sweet tooths have discovered a plethora of delightful treats we had never heard of before. Here are the nine vegan French pastries you need to try along with recipes to try them at home. Alternatively, the vegan macarons ship nationwide.
Roughly translated to “1,000 layers,” millefeuille are light-as-air confections made with delicately crisp and flaky puff pastry stacked between silky pastry cream. The flavors are generally kept simple to allow the varying textures to shine. This is definitely a knife-and-fork dessert—beware of flying crumbs.
Make it at home: Easy Vegan Millefeuille Inspired by Gordon Ramsay by The Edgy Veg
Yes, we all know what a croissant is, and Matthew Kenney is not the only one to master a butterless version of this fan-favorite (check out Ridiculous Baking Co. if you’re in Los Angeles, L’Artisan Creative Bakery in Miami, or your local Whole Foods). However, we could not exclude these buttery tea-time pastries in this roundup. Ladurée offers plain croissants (which are wonderful alongside black coffee or used in a sandwich), rose croissants, and pain au chocolats (a rectangular sweet croissant filled with dark chocolate).
Make it at home: Vegan Croissants by Gena Hamshaw
Exclusive to Ladurée, a brunette is the invention of the brand’s executive pastry chef, Fabien Brunet. A top-seller, Kenney veganized this sweet creation for his plant-based concept. Treat yourself to a muffin-shaped, rich brioche bread filled with your choice of raspberry or matcha cream. It’s doughy, pillowy, buttery, and utterly blissful.
Make it at home: Vegan Brioche by Domestic Gothess (make this recipe in muffin tins then fill each with vegan Nutella, such as dairy-free Nocciolata)
Say it: mac-a-rhone, not mac-a-roon. Macarons and macaroons are two completely different desserts—the former is a delicate, almond flour-based sandwich cookie, the latter is a dense mound of coconut and chocolate. Ladurée offers a medley of dainty, pastel-colored macarons in a variety of flavors from salted caramel to passionfruit. The cookies are crisp on the outside, pleasantly chewy on the inside, and filled with a cream that bursts of flavor. We don’t understand how the French can stop at just one.
Make it at home: Vegan Macarons by Okonomi Kitchen
In the US, palmiers are more commonly known as elephant ears. They’re simple, crispy, and flaky (again with the flakiness) sweet pastries made by rolling puff pastry into a butterfly shape and sprinkling with granulated sugar. Pair your palmier with coffee or tea for a no-fuss afternoon treat.
Make it at home: Vegan Palmiers by French Butter Knife
6. Plaisir Sucré
These intricate desserts take cake to a whole new level. At Ladurée, each plaisir sucré consists of a crunchy hazelnut-meringue biscuit layered with a rich chocolate hazelnut ganache and topped with chocolate chantilly (whipped cream). No wonder this dessert is translated as “sweet pleasure.”
Make it at home: We searched the web, but it looks like the vegan pastry chefs are keeping their plaisir sucre recipes a secret. Here’s a visual breakdown of what’s in the dessert. We advise finding a vegan recipe for each component and putting it all together based on this visual. Bon chance!
The miniature tarts at Ladurée are tart in every sense of the word. Yes, it’s literally baked in a tart crust, but the intense lime filling lends itself to a tart-tasting experience as well. The potent pucker is tamed with a sweet topping of torched meringue. This treat may question your devotion to key lime pie in favor of its French cousin—the lime tartelette.
Make it at home: Vegan Lemon Tart with Meringue by Greens, Eggs and Yams
Essentially, this is a giant macaron. Roughly the size of a palm, Ladurée’s version features a bright pink rose macaron shell filled with rose petal and lychee cream, topped with fresh raspberries. It communicates the subtle flavors of rose without tasting like perfume, and the lychee offers just the right amount of sweetness. Take a picture before diving in—this is almost too pretty and dainty to eat.
Make it at home: Vegan Raspberry Rose Macarons by Crazy Vegan Kitchen (make them palm-sized to approximate an ispahan)
9. Bûche de noël
A bûche de noël is simply a Frenchified version of the American yule log cake. Not content with American buttercream or marshmallow mushrooms, Matthew Kenney’s bȗches are more of an artistic interpretation of a log. The two vegan options—a pink Marie Antoinette and a chocolate Marquise—are layered with divine biscuits, mouses, and pralines for surprise textures and sophisticated flavors in every bite. These are only around for the holidays, so pick up yours quick if you can.
Make it at home: Vegan Buche de Noel by Bon Appétit
Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and fitness enthusiast living in Orange County, CA.
Love the plant-based lifestyle as much as we do?
Get the BEST vegan recipes, travel, celebrity interviews, product picks, and so much more inside every issue of VegNews Magazine. Find out why VegNews is the world’s #1 plant-based magazine by subscribing today!