We are very committed to Macarons. This doesn’t mean we don’t have the deepest appreciation and respect for other pastries—particularly French ones! Invented sometime in the 1800s from a pastry that originated sometime in the 1500s, a Religieuse is… kind of like a snowman made out of profiteroles? It consists of two round choux pastries in different sizes, with the smaller one stacked on top of the larger. Each section is piped full of flavoured crème pâtissière, covered with ganache, and decorated with ornately piped buttercream frosting. ‘Religeuse’ actually means ‘nun’. The shape of the pastry is not meant to look like nuns, though, (that would be scandalous!) but rather a Pope’s Mitre (or, ahem, ‘hat’.) If you’d like to try your hand at them, The Guardian has a detailed recipe with photos for every step!
And if you’d like to kick things up (or down?) a notch, you could attempt a Courtesan au Chocolat: the fictional pastry from Mendl’s in Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel. A parody of the Religieuse, it has an extra choux-ball, making for a three tiered treat! Probably unsurprisingly, there are actually recipes/guides online. This one from Betty’s Magazine looks amazing.
Go on and channel your inner Agatha.