Paris-Brest

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WHAT'S SPECIAL
Paris-Brest is a classic French dessert that pays homage to the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race. Created in 1910 by a pastry chef from Maisons-Laffitte, its circular shape is designed to resemble a bicycle wheel, celebrating the endurance of the cyclists. This exquisite pastry combines the lightness of choux dough with the richness of a praline-flavored cream, offering a delightful blend of textures and flavors.

Paris-Brest

The Paris-Brest was created to commemorate the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race, thereby linking its identity to both French patisserie and the nation's cycling culture. Its popularity has only grown, making it a beloved dessert across France and around the world.
The contrast between the nutty, buttery filling and the light pastry is simply irresistible, making it a favored choice for special occasions.
For this recipe, where the dough's consistency is critical for proper rising and puffing during baking, precise measurements are non-negotiable. Measuring ingredients in grams provides a level of accuracy that volume measurements simply cannot match.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Assembly Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 6 individuals or 1 large Paris-Brest

Equipment

  • Piping bags
  • Round nozzle
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • basting brush
  • cooling rack
  • medium saucepan
  • whisk (or electric mixer)
  • mixing bowl
  • small saucepan

Ingredients
  

For the Choux Pastry:

  • 120 ml water
  • 120 ml milk
  • 113 g butter (unsalted )
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 eggs (+ 1 extra to brown the choux pastry)

For the Praline Mousseline Cream:

For the Assembly:

  • powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • sliced almonds (for garnish)

For the Praline Insert:

Instructions
 

For the Choux Pastry:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Prepare the equipment: baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, piping bag and tip.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine water, milk, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.
  • Return the saucepan to low heat and continue to cook the dough for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, to dry it out slightly, until the mixture forms a smooth dough and pulls away from the sides of the pan..
  • Beat in eggs one at a time until the dough is smooth and shiny.
  • Pipe the dough into a large circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet: use parchment paper, on which you have formed a circle on the reverse side.Follow the guide, and form a first circle. Lay a second one inside the circle, stuck to the first.Finally, put a third on top of the first two.
    For about 6 individuals Paris-Brest, make several circles (2 ¾ inch each). A single layer of paste is enough.
  • Beat a whole egg and brown the dough. Place flaked almonds on the dough.
  • Then bake until puffed and golden, about 25-30 minutes. Let it cool on a cooling rack.

For the Praline Mousseline Cream (Mixture of Pastry Cream and Butter):

  • Pastry Cream: In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk and 60 g of sugar.
    While the milk is heating, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add the flour and starch. Add a little hot milk to relax everything.
  • When the milk comes to a simmer, pour it over the previous mixture and mix. Return everything to the saucepan over medium heat. Mix until the cream boils and thickens. Pour the cream into a dish and cover with plastic wrap. Reserve in the fridge.
  • Mousseline by adding butter: The butter must be “soft”, it must be worked so that it becomes so (soft butter, not liquid). It must be able to incorporate well into the cream. Cream and butter must be at the same temperature.
  • Using an electric mixer, relax the pastry cream by whipping it lightly in a mixing bowl. Add the butter little by little. The cream will whiten and increase in volume.
  • Finally add the praline (previously melted in the microwave or double-boiler - praline should not be hot) and whisk for one more minute.
  • Reserve the mousseline cream in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes.

For the Praline Insert:

  • In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream. Just before boiling, remove from the heat and add the praline to melt it. Mix well until you obtain a creamy and smooth mixture.

Assembly and Finishes

  • Slice the cooled choux pastry in half horizontally.
  • Prepare 2 pipping bags (fluted tip 8) filled with the praline mousseline cream and praline insert.
  • Pipe the praline mousseline cream over the bottom half of the pastry. Then insert a little praline and cover with a layer of rosette cream. Finally, finish with an additional line to fill the hat. Place the top half back on.
  • Place the top half back on and sprinkle some icing sugar as a final touch.

Notes

  • Serving: Best served the day it's made, but can be assembled a few hours before serving. Keep refrigerated until serving.
  • Praline Paste: Homemade praline paste adds a personal touch and richer flavor.
  • Variations: Experiment with different nuts for the praline paste, such as hazelnuts or almonds, to vary the flavor profile. You can also use different choux pastry shape: individual éclairs or puffs.
Keyword French dessert, Paris-Brest, Praline cream

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