Appears in

The French Kitchen: A Cookbook

The French Kitchen

By Joanne Harris and Fran Warde

Published 2002

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The names of French desserts are a translator’s nightmare: le gâteau is a generic term for ‘cake’, although perplexingly, le cake refers to a kind of tea bread. The word tarte covers a wide variety of recipes, from the open fruit tarts to the upside-down Tarte Tatin, but there is no true word for ‘pie’ – unless we count tourte, which is most often used as a term of abuse. And as for translating some of the bizarre names of the confections to be found in French pâtisseries – it is almost impossible. Many of them are religious in origin – Saint-Honoré has a cake named after him, filled with whipped cream and sugar.