French Language Blog

Want to Try a Nun’s Fart? No Really – They’re Delicious! Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in Culture, Vocabulary

Who doesn’t love a good French pastry? Even those who aren’t fans of sweets (they really do exist…) have to partake in these culinary treats while abroad to see what the big deal is. France is known for its pastries, but there are so much more than just les pains aux chocolat and les croissants. How about a nice nun’s fart?

Yup. You read correctly. In my opinion, les pets de nonne is one of the most scrumptious delights the French culinary world has to offer. Butter, milk, flour, sugar, eggs, rum, and sometimes honey all mixed together to make a thick cross between dough and batter that is then fried. They can be enjoyed at room temperature or hot, but I personally prefer them hot. My mouth is watering just writing about it.

So how do you make it, and more importantly, how did it get its goofy name?


Il y a deux origines pour ce nom: la première viendrait d’une religieuse qui aurait nommé cette pâtisserie “paix de nonne” parce qu’elle aurait fait cadeau de la recette à un couvent voisin pour assurer la paix.

Deuxième origine: Pendant la préparation d’un repas de la Saint Martin. Dans la cuisine de l’Archevêque de Tours, une novice nommée Agnies bousculée par une sœur aurait laissé tomber une cuillerée de pâte à choux dans une marmite de graisse chaude. La pâte dans l’huile fit un bruit étrange et sonore, rythmé, prolongé, semblable à un gémissement d’orgue qui frappa de stupeur l’oreille indignée des bonnes sœurs.

There are two origins for this name: the first comes from a nun who named this pastry “Nun’s Peace” [pet and paix are pronounced the same way] because she offered the recipe to a neighboring convent to insure peace.

Second origin: During meal preparation for Saint Martin. In the Archbishop of Tours’s kitchen, a cooking novice named Agnies was bumped into by another nun and dropped a spoonful of the choux pastry dough into a pot of hot oil. When the dough was in the oil, it made a strange and loud sound – it was rhythmic and extended and similar to the moan of a church organ which shocked the offended ears of the nuns.


Want to recreate this offensive sound in your own kitchen? Me too, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to make that sound when the dough is dropped in the oil. Doesn’t hurt to keep trying though:

20 cl d’eau
125g de farine
80g de beurre
4 œufs
1 sachet de sucre vanillé
½ c à c de sel
2 c à s de rhum brun
Sucre glace


  1. Ajouter l’eau, le beurre, le sel et le sachet de sucre vanillé dans une casserole. Garder sur le feu jusqu’à ce que le beurre fonde.
  2. Retirer la casserole du feu et ajouter la farine.
  3. Mélanger bien avec une cuillère en bois. Une fois homogène, verser la pâte dans un saladier en verre.
  4. Ajouter les œufs un par un tout en battant fortement.
  5. Ajouter les 2 c à soupe de rhum pour parfumer la pâte et incorporer-les bien.
  6. Faire chauffer la friture et y mettre la pâte par boules grosses comme des noix. Vous pouvez faire cela à l’aide de 2 fourchettes ou avec une poche à décor et des ciseaux.
  7. Arrêter la cuisson lorsqu’ils sont dorés et les égoutter sur du sopalin.
  8. Saupoudrer les pets avec du sucre glace.


0.85 cups of water
1 cup of flour
⅓ cup of butter
1 tbsp of vanilla-scented sugar*
½ tsp of salt
2 tbsp of dark rum
Powdered sugar
* This is a common ingredient in French pastries, but it’s not easy to come by in anglophone stores. You can order packets on Amazon, or you can mix 8 grams of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract for a similar result.


  1. Add the water, butter, salt and sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove pan from the heat and add the flour.
  3. Mix the flour and melted ingredients. Once you have a mixture between a dough and a batter, transfer to a glass bowl.
  4. Beat the eggs in one by one.
  5. Add the 2 tbsp or rum to flavor the dough.
  6. Make sure your oil is hot and add the dough in balls the size of walnuts. You can do with either 2 forks or with a pastry bag and some scissors.
  7. Remove the balls once they’re golden and place them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  8. Sprinkle the puffs with powdered sugar.


Bon appétit !

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About the Author: Josh Dougherty

Just your typical francophile. If you have any topics you'd like me to discuss, feel free to let me know!


  1. Tom Reidy:

    o.85 cup of water is too much
    20 cl. would be closer to 0.085 cup

  2. sunshine:

    Where can I just buy this??? One of those items again that you can’t find in US stores????