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French Bastille Day Recipes to Celebrate the Day

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Say “oui!” to these authentic French recipes.

July 14 is Bastille Day, a French celebration day commemorating the start of the French Revolution. What better reason to whip up one of these authentic French recipes for Bastille Day, from baguettes to boeuf. 

French Fruit Tart Recipe With Mixed Fruit and Berries and vanilla custard pastry cream

What Is Bastille Day?

Bastille Day, called National Day or le 14 juillet in France, celebrates the storming of Paris’s Bastille prison on July 14, 1789. This date is the acknowledged start of the French Revolution, which resulted in the overturn of the monarchy and the fall of the ancien régime, eventually giving rise to an egalitarian, democratically-elected government.

Today, Bastille Day means celebration. Not unlike 4th of July celebrations in the United States, France celebrates with parades; fireworks; lots of blue, white, and red decorations; and–bien sûr–food.

le 14 jullet Bastille Day celebration in Paris
Bastille Day, or le 14 Juillet, celebration in Paris. [Photo by Joe DeSousa via Unsplash.]

What Do People Eat on Bastille Day?

In France, there are no official Bastille Day (14 juillet) foods. That said, it is generally a big day for picnics in France, with celebrations running all day long, well into the evening. Pack a perfect picnic with this article.

picnic spread with fruit, salad, olives, and picnic basket

What French Food to Cook: Bastille Day Recipes

These French Bastille Day recipes offer options for any type and size celebration. Cook a rich main course, pack a picnic lunch, or bake up a simple, elegant dessert. Here are the recipes you need to ring in Bastille Day with style.

Classic French Fruit Tart

This classic, easy French fruit tart recipe combines three equally delicious elements: a crisp, buttery crust, sweet and silky vanilla pastry cream, and heaps of fresh mixed fruit. The result is an elegant dessert that comes together easily and will be the hit of any party.

French Fruit Tart Recipe whole and mini tart

French Baguette Sandwiches

No one does picnic lunch like the French. Except you. Here are three classic baguette sandwiches that deserve to be in your repertoire, especially for a Bastille Day picnic.

3 baguette sandwiches jambon beurre goat cheese pan bagnant on paper mat lunch ideas

Authentic French Onion Soup

This classic French onion soup recipe is hard to beat. Rich in both color, texture, and flavor, this French onion soup epitomizes everything a hearty, indulgent soup can be.

crock of French onion soup with baguette and melted cheese

French Ham and Cheese Galette Complète

This French recipe is the real deal: a ham and cheese galette made with 100% buckwheat and topped with a smear of good salted butter and a creamy, sunny-side-up egg. This makes a perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner on Bastille Day.

ham egg and cheese buckwheat galette on plate with salad

Vegetarian French Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is always in heavy rotation in my home. Easy to make, hearty, and filling, this recipe makes a great vegetarian lunch or dinner all on its own, or with some crusty bread and butter.

mugs of french lentil soup with biscuit

French Radishes With Buckwheat Butter

One of the most simple and unexpectedly lovely treats I ever discovered in visiting Paris was radis beurre. Radishes and butter: a simple snack of spring French radishes, accompanied by good butter salted with flaky fleur de sel. You will love this elegant, simple little snack.

radishes with buckwheat butter on wooden plate

Boeuf Bourguignon

These red wine braised beef short ribs taste incredible, and require a lot less effort than you may think.

dish of tender red wine braised beef short ribs with noodles and salad

Baked Sticky Bun French Toast

OK, technically, this baked sticky bun French toast recipe is not classic French. But it has the word “French” in it, and tastes so, so good that it deserves a place at your breakfast table as soon as possible.

sticky bun french toast casserole with pecan caramel topping

Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche

Quiche is always in style in my book. This leek and goat cheese tart combines tender butter crust with a fluffy, eggy filling folded with cheese and savory ingredients like vegetables and bacon for a killer vegetarian quiche.

slices of easy quiche in pan with chives

Classic French Madeleines

This French madeleines recipe makes a tender, elegant sponge cookie that tastes lovely on its own or with a cup of good tea or coffee.

Real French Madeleine Cookies: The Recipe

Enjoy these très delicieux recipes for Bastille Day, or any time you need a little French cooking inspiration.

You’ll also enjoy: All About Champagne and French Mixed Fruit Tart

French Fruit Tart Recipe With Mixed Fruit and Berries and vanilla custard pastry cream

Classic French Mixed Fruit Tart

A classic French fruit tart with a buttery shortbread crust, vanilla pastry cream custard, and heaps of mixed fresh fruit, like berries. A chic and special dessert.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Pastry Crust (mixing + bake time, with an additional 2 hours chilling)45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keywords:: dessert, French, fruit tart, pastry cream, pie, vanilla custard
Servings: 1 x 8" or 9" tart
Print

Ingredients

For the Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the Pastry Crust

  • 1 recipe pâte sucrée (recipe follows in link, below)

To Finish

  • 2 pints fresh berries of choice, rinsed and fully dried, plus any other sliced fruit you’d like to use, such as sliced kiwi or mango
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam

Instructions

For the Pastry Crust

  • Complete the pâte sucrée through baking and cooling.
    TIP: This will take a few hours total, though most of that is inactive chilling and baking time. This can be done up to 2 days in advance; store wrapped or in an airtight container.

For the Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • Heat the milk with a couple tablespoons of sugar just until boiling. Remove from heat.
  • While the milk is warming, in a heat-proof mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, egg, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Whisk until the mixture is very smooth and lightened in color, about 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Whisking constantly, whisk about a quarter of the hot milk into the egg mixture.
    PRO TIP: This is called tempering. Tempering the eggs helps raise their temperature without cooking them, and helps emulsify them into the milk.
  • Pour the milk-tempered egg mixture into the pot of the remaining milk. Whisk to combine. Return the pot to the heat and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent “scrambled eggs” on the sides and bottom, until the magic happens and the pastry cream thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in the butter and vanilla and cook one minute more, stirring constantly. The pastry cream should make thick, lazy bubbles.
  • Pour the thickened pastry cream into a clean, shallow bowl set over an ice bath. Stir gently until the pastry cream cools to warm room temperature and no more steam comes off the top.
    PRO TIP: setting the bowl on a bag of frozen vegetables works great as an easy ice bath alternative, and there’s no risk of water splashing in.
  • Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap set directly on the surface of the pastry cream. This prevents a skin from forming on top. Chill.

To Finish

  • Transfer the tart shell onto a cardboard round or whatever serving dish you will be using. (Once it is filled with the pastry cream and fruit, the tart will be too heavy and delicate to move.)
  • Pour the pastry cream into the tart shell, leaving a ¼” brim. (If you have any extra pastry cream, enjoy it as a parfait with some fresh berries.)
  • Arrange a generous amount of fruit and berries in a layer over the pastry cream in your desired design.
  • Heat ¼ cup apricot jam with 1 tablespoon or so of water over medium heat, whisking, until thin. Strain, if needed, through a sieve. Use a pastry brush to gently dab the entire fruit tart with a thin layer of apricot glaze. Chill until ready to serve.

2 comments

  • Mitzy Khan

    5 stars
    Excellent. Tart turned out perfectly. A little time consuming, but worth it.

  • Jen Tisch

    5 stars
    Just lovely! This tart came out great and I was proud of myself for doing the pastry cream for the first time. I didn’t need to strain it or anything, so thank you for the good directions 🙂

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