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A Brief History Of Paris-Brest Dessert

Paris-Brest pastry is one of the most famous classic French desserts; the round pastry, in the form of a wheel, was created in 1910 by Louis Durand, pâtissier of Maisons-Laffitte, at the request of Pierre Giffard, to commemorate, the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race initiated in 1891. It became popular with riders on the Paris–Brest cycle race, partly because of its energizing high caloric value.

The Paris-Brest is one of the most delicate French pastries, and it should be mastered to get the CAP Pâtissier [Pastry Chef Diploma]. The most crucial part is making Choux Pastry (see the recipe); the recipe is divided into three parts, and the last one is the combination of the dessert or [assemblage]. It is a dessert to impress, for a special occasion or holiday day, like Christmas.

YIELD: 6-8 Servings

Choux Pastry (pâte à choux)

  • 62 g           water
  • 62 g           fresh whole milk
  • 55 g           butter
  • 2 g             salt
  • 2 g             sugar
  • 70 g           all-purpose flour
  • 125 g         egg (2 extra-large eggs)
  • 50 g           granulated sugar
  • 50 g           chopped almonds

Pastry Cream (Crème pâtissière)

  • 125 g        fresh whole milk
  • 10 g          cornstarch
  • 30 g          granulated sugar
  • 30 g          egg yolk
  • 12 g          butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2           vanilla beans

Hazelnut Praline Butter Cream

  • 50 g           granulated sugar
  • 20 g           water
  • 150 g         whole egg
  • 30 g           egg yolk
  • 135 g         butter at room temperature
  • 90 g           hazelnut praline

Final Touch To Decorate The Paris-Brest

  • Powdered sugar
  • 8 g          chopped caramelized hazelnuts or toasted almond flakes

Method & Preparation

How To Make Choux Pastry?

  1. Preheat the convection oven to 200°C (thermostat. 6). In a pan, add water, milk, sugar salt, and butter, cut into pieces, and bring to a boil. As soon as the liquid boils, add the flour all at once. Continue heating, stirring regularly with a spatula until the batter is smooth. Continue to stir for about 2 to 3 more minutes until the batter dries out and doesn’t stick to the edges of the pan. Immediately pour into a bowl.
  2. Add the eggs one by one. The batter is ready when it becomes ribbon-like. Put in a pastry bag with a #12 piping tip. Draw a 22-cm circle on a silicone baking sheet and turn this upside down onto a baking sheet. Using this circle as a guide, make a sausage-shaped crown on the outer edge of the circle and another crown inside the “first one”, just touching it. Ten put another sausage-shaped crown on top and in the middle of the “first two”.
  3. On a second baking sheet covered with a silicone baking sheet, make a fourth crown of a slightly smaller diameter than the outside of the triple-crown. Immediately, sprinkle with the mixture of large-grained sugar and chopped almonds.
  4. Place the baking sheets in the oven. After 15 minutes of cooking time, place a spoon into the oven door in order to keep it propped open. Cook for an additional 35 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack.

How To Make Pastry Cream?

  1. In a pan, mix together with a balloon whisk the milk and 15 g of the sugar. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and with a knife, scrape the inside. Add the vanilla seeds and bean to the milk-sugar mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  2. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and the cornstarch, then add the warm milk while stirring. Pour the mixture into the pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove the vanilla bean. Cool the cream to 60°C and add the pieces of butter stirring well. When the mixture is smooth, cool rapidly. 

How To Make Hazelnut Praline Cream?

  1. In a pan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Heat to 120°C. In a mixer bowl equipped with a whip, whip the eggs and the yolks until they become white.
  2. Add the sugar heated to 120°C while stirring until completely cooled. In another bowl, whip the butter until creamy.
  3. Add the egg mixture, followed by the hazelnut praline. Continue to whip until the cream is smooth. Use immediately.

How To Make Praline Mousseline Cream?

  1. Whip together the praline buttercream and the pastry cream. 
  2. Put the cream in a pastry bag with a whipped cream piping tip.
  3. Keep the Praline Mousseline Cream aside, in a cool place.

Assemblage Of The Paris-Brest

  1. Cut the top of the triple-crown in two just slightly above the middle, sprinkle with powdered sugar and put aside.
  2. With about one-third of the praline mousseline cream, make a small spiral on the base of the crown. Sprinkle with the caramelized hazelnuts.
  3. Place the second crown on top and with the cream make a braid-like circle that slightly overflows from the edges of the crown. Place the previously set aside powdered sugar-crown on top. Serve immediately.

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Credits: Photo By Deror_avi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52196662.

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