Delicious Renaissance Desserts!

Renaissance desserts are a wonderful way to have original, but authentic fun in the kitchen! Take a look at these EASY, SUCCULENT French recipes! Guaranteed success… and smiles!

Before getting to these unforgettable recipes just below, here a few quick facts about renaissance desserts:

It should be noted that it was really during the beginning of the 17th century that desserts took their place. Before this time, sugary and salty dishes were often mixed and it is difficult today to discern which dishes were main courses and which dishes were officially desserts. For example, quite a few recipes for sweet rice puddings have been found to contain chicken! Hmmm…

Most likely, it was Catherine de Medicis' famous Italian chefs who really got renaissance desserts going… first in Italy… then sweeping up into France.

The most common desserts were tartes, pies, flans, custards, rice puddings, rissoles, jellies, and sabayons. Almost all known for their very high sugar content! In fact, not only were renaissance desserts known for their large quantaties of sugar, but also for the unusual mix of sugar with vinegar, reputed to be a health tonic.

Here are some delicious recipes for you try:

Light Almond Milk Custard Recipe

Blanc Manger… This now typically contemporary French dessert was first created during the renaissance! No wonder it's stuck around for so long… it's just so good!!! A Blanc Manger is a light, dreamy, almond flavored custard… definitely one of the stars of renaissance desserts! Enjoy!

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Refrigeration Time: at least 4 hours


1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
Additional 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
6 oz. Ground Almond Powder
1 tbsp. Kirsch (or other cherry flavored liqueur)
1 drop Unsweetened Almond Essence
2 oz. Whipped Cream (use heavy cream and beat until it "whips")
8 Gelatin Sheets
Mint Leaves to decorate (optional)

How to Make It:

1. Make the almond milk by bringing 1 cup of water to boil with the sugar. Once boils, take off heat and stir in almond powder and kirsch. Put in a mixer or blender and mix until homogenous. Using a very fine strainer, drain excess water. Stir in almond essence and reserve.
2. Put the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water and let soak for 10 minutes. Remove for water and gently dry with a paper towel.
3. Once almond milk has cooled, pour about one quarter of almond milk into a separate bowl and add the gelatin sheets. Stir well. Pour this mixture back into the bowl with the rest of the almond milk and stir well.
4. Add remaining 2/3 cup sugar and stir until the sugar has melted. Let cool off while you make the whipped cream.
5. Once you have made the whipped cream, gently stir into the cooled off almond milk mixture. Pour contents into a cake mold (ribbed edges are best!) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Flip cake mold over onto a serving dish… decorate with mint if you wish… and serve!


If you want to add different essences, such as vanilla, or orange blossom, you certainly can! Just cut out the almond essence called for in the recipe above and make sure that you limit yourself to one essence at a time, otherwise you will over power the very delicate and delicious taste!

Of course, you can also decorate the top of your blanc manger with berries, such as currents or raspberries.

Serving Ideas:

Renaissance desserts are known for their newfound elegance compared to many of the former medieval desserts… so, don't hesitate to serve this stunning and delicious dessert on a tiered dessert server or other elegant serving dish.

This renaissance dessert can also be prepared in individual ramekins.

Apple and Pear Renaissance Pie Recipe

Tourte aux Pommes et aux Poires… This classic renaissance dessert is most likely what led to our contemporary version of an apple pie! A warm, sumptuous after dinner treat!

Preparation Time: 25 minutes (+ 10 minutes if making your own crust)
Cooking Time: about 40 minutes


1/2 lb. Apples
1/2 lb. Pears
2 oz. Butter
4 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
2 tbsp. Rose Water (if you can't find rose water, use white wine)
Additional Butter for baking dish

2 Pie Crusts (see recipe below or use a good pre-made crust)

How to Make It:

Preheat oven to 375°F
1. Put crust in refrigerator. Peel apples and Pears and cut into medium-thick slices.
2. Sauté fruit in the butter over a medium flame until tender. Stir in 2 tbsp. sugar. Then, take off heat and let cool off completely.
3. Butter baking dish. Take crusts out of refrigerator and roll out one crust so that it is about 2 inches larger than the pie dish. Fit crust into dish, so that edges are evenly overhanging. Fill with cooled apples and pears. Roll out second crust and cover the fruit. Fold over the edges and pinch to form a "crown". Put in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
4. Mix rose water and 2 tbsp. sugar. Take pie out of oven and cover top with rose water mixture. Put back in oven for a few minutes, until the top shimmers!


If you would like, you can sprinkle the bottom of the pie with a couple of tablespoons of ground almond powder. A favorite ingredient of renaissance desserts and often used in pies and tartes.

You can also make this same recipe by substituting the pears with peaches.

Last but not least, you can also soak 1/4 cup raisins in rose water for 30 minutes and then add the fruits right after stirring in the sugar. Serving Ideas:

Ice cream was invented during the renaissance by Italian chefs… so feel free to serve alongside this luscious pie!

Crust Recipe for Apple Pear Pie

Ingredients for Crust:

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 30 minutes

2 2/3 cup Flour
4 Eggs
8 oz. Butter (chilled!)
2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
2 tbsp. Ground Almond Powder (optional) Pinch of Salt

How to Make Crust:

1. Mix salt, sugar, and flour.
2. Cut chilled butter into small pieces and mix into flour with finger tips. Stop working batter once it looks like "sand".
3. Make a well and pour in eggs. Incorporate into flour using your fingers and a spatula.
4. Once homogenous, form a ball, place on a floured surface and knead for 10 seconds. Divide in half, form two separate balls. Wrap each one in plastic, or put in separate plastic bags. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

Fabulous Flan Recipes

If you would like to take a look at some very quick and easy flan recipes, click here. They may not be the exact same flans that were served as renaissance desserts, but flans do originate from this time period. Enjoy!!!

Succulent Rice Pudding Recipes

Yet another dessert which has its roots in the renaissance! To take a look at these wonderful and easy rice puddings, click here.

Medieval Desserts

If you would like to jump even further back in time, take a look at these delicious medieval desserts.

To return to the top of the page, click here: renaissance desserts.

As always, is proud to be your personal and authentic guide to French Desserts!

Enjoy these renaissance desserts! And… Bon Appétit!