As is the way in many European cultures, the French love to celebrate special occasions with food. And not just any old food, often dishes are created just to celebrate a particular event, at times becoming just as iconic that the event they were created for.
One such dish is the Paris-Brest. This delicious choux pastry was created at the turn of the 20th century to celebrate the annual bike race from Paris to Brest, and is shaped like a doughnut to resemble a bike tyre. The pastry is sliced through the middle and filled with a light and creamy hazelnut praline. Back then, the cyclists competing in the race would snack on these sweet treats (a far cry form the carb gels that pro cyclists have nowadays), but now they are available in most patisseries in France.
To watch the how to make Choux Pastry video click here
- 125g water
- 125g full fat milk
- 10g caster sugar
- 10g salt
- 110g unsalted butter
- 135 plain flour
- 245g free range eggs, about 5 eggs
- Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
- In a deep sauce pan bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to the boil.
- Once the butter has melted, take the sauce pan off the heat and ad the sifted flour. Return the pot to the heat and dry the choux pastry for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the choux pastry to a mixing bowl and add the eggs one a time, make to incorporate each egg before adding another one, you can use an electric mixer like a Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment to make it easier.
- Using a piping bag, pipe the choux pastry in a ring shape, brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with coarsely chopped almond.
- Bake in hot oven for 40 minutes.
- 135g hazelnuts
- 90g caster sugar
- Toast the hazelnuts in the oven.
- Make a dry caramel with the sugar, make it the same way you would for a normal caramel but without water.
- Pour the caramel over the toasted hazelnut and leave to cool.
- Blitz the hazelnut in a food processor until you have a smooth paste.
- 180g milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 40g egg yolk, 2-3 yolk
- 30g caster sugar
- 20g corn flower
- 15g butter
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until slightly white. Then add the corn flour and whisk until mixed through.
- Bring the milk and vanilla pod, seeds scrapped out, to the boil.
- Pour the hot milk over the eggs and whisk until dissolved. Cook over medium heat until it start to boil, then cook for a further 1 minutes.
- Transfer the crème into a clean bowl, cover with glad wrap and leave to cool in the fridge. Make sure the glad wrap touches the crème!
Crème Mousseline Praliné:
- 90g unsalted butter, soft
- 255g crème patissière
- 40g hazelnut Praline
- 40g Hazelnut paste
- pinch of slat flakes
- Whisk the crème patissière until smooth, then add the hazelnut paste, hazelnut praline, salt flake and whish until combine.
- Add the soft butter little bit a the time and whisk for 3-4 minute until homogenized.
Build the Paris-Brest:
- Cut the choux pastry in half, so you have two rings.
- Sprinkle hazelnut praline and toasted almonds on the bottom half
- Using a piping bag with the star nozzle, pipe the crème mousseline on the bottom half.
- Put the top part of the ring back on and sprinkle with icing sugar!
Enjoy straight away for dessert or afternoon tea!