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Brioche:  A kind of sweet bread made with eggs and fat (butter gives the best results). Nice brioche can be enjoyed at Bonjour Brioche.

Buttercream:  thick cream made only of eggs, sugar and butter. Buttercream is used (in small quantities) in some pastries, and can also be used as a chocolate centre.

Couverture chocolate:  a specific type of chocolate containing a higher percentage of cocoa butter, so it can be melted and moulded easily into chocolate candy. Chocolate bonbons for example are usually made of a centered covered with couverture chocolate.

Croissant:  a roll made of puff-pastry. Try a croissant at Rahier Patisserie, Max's Market or Daniel et Daniel.

Eclair:  Just like a cream puff (see recipe), but with a long shape instead of a round shape, and topped with fondant. Patachou makes nice eclairs.

Fondant:  A sweet paste made by heating and beating a mix of sugar, water and a flavouring (usually vanilla, cocoa or coffee).

Ganache:  filling used in chocolate bonbons, made of chocolate and heavy cream (usually whipped and cooked).

Meringue:  A preparation made of baked beaten egg whites and sugar. Different textures are obtained by varying the ways of mixing the sugar and the egg whites, and varying the baking time/temperature. Meringue is most famously used to top lemon meringue tarts, but can also stand alone as a cookie when flavoured; try it at Fleudelys Patisserie.

Opera:  a classic French pastry made of very thin layers of coffee-soaked almond sponge cake, chocolate ganache and coffee buttercream, glazed with chocolate and sometimes decorated with gold leaves.

Pastry cream:  thick cream made with eggs, flour, sugar, milk and sometimes a flavouring (chocolate, coffee, vanilla...). Pastry cream is often used in French pastries, for example in the cream puffs, and is rather easy to make at home (see cream puffs recipe).

Praline:  filling used in chocolate bonbons, made of chocolate and a variety of roasted nuts.

Puff pastry:  a type of crust made of a large number of successive layers of dough and butter. When baked, puff pastry becomes flaky and light (croissants for example are simply puff pastry rolls). Puff pastry is difficult to make at home, but you can buy it frozen in a supermarket or sometimes at your local bakery.

Tarte Tatin:  a tarte Tatin is an upside down apple pie; the apples are put in the dish first on a bed of sugar, and the crust is added on top. The apples become very soft and caramelized, and the result is delicious. Great tarte Tatin can be enjoyed at Rahier Patisserie in Toronto.

Tiramisu:  An Italian pastry made of layers of mascarpone cheese cream, and sponge cake soaked in coffee and liquor. Dessert Trends makes delicious Tiramisus.