Paris-Brest, is a pastry that comes in a shape of a circle filled with hazelnut cream with toppings. As of today different versions exist with various kind of cream and nuts like pistachios and almonds…
Unfortunately for the many English speakers out there, despite how it’s pronounced the dessert itself has no resemblance to a woman’s bosom. Yes, it’s a common misconception assumed among English speakers in that the origin of the pastry is sexual or that the dessert comes in a particular dome shape.
In fact the origin itself might not be the first thing to come to mind.
The supposed origin is of a newspaper editor wanting bicycle use to become popular in the town of Brest and decides to launch a bicycle race from Paris to Brest. He wanted to promote the race and asked a pastry chef by the name of Louis Durand who eventually created this famous dessert in 1910.
The Paris-brest is shaped like a bicycle wheel to celebrate the cycling race and can be found in nearly every bakery in France; it is one of the classics. Furthermore, it has recently been popping onto numerous menus in the US. It’s one of those desserts that people in the states might not be know much about but only look over other tables and tell the server, “I want that!”
Note: 2 big Paris-Brest were made which serves for 30 people but ingredients can be adjusted based on the number of people.
Mix butter, brown sugar, flour, and coconut together in a large bowl using a spatula.
Mix until homogeneous and doesn’t stick to the bowl.
Knead the craquelin and roll it between two pieces of parchment paper until very thin.
Cut out circles the same size as your Paris-Brest.
Keep in the freezer.
Then prepare the choux pastry.
Put the water, milk, salt, sugar and butter in a pan and bring slowly to the boil over a medium heat.
Until the butter has just melted.
Remove quickly from the heat, add the flour all at once.
Beat vigorously until it forms a dough that leaves the side of the pan clean.
Put the pan back on a low heat and dry the dough for 20 seconds and then keep stirring away from heat for another 3 min. This step is for a maximum of water to evaporate from the dough.
Leave to cool slightly, then gradually add in the lightly beaten eggs.
Mix well between each addition until the dough is smooth and glossy. To know if you have the good texture, pass a teaspoon in the dough; if it close in less than 1 second it is too runny, if it doesn’t move it needs a bit more egg. With the right texture it takes around 5 second.
Hazelnut praline pastry cream
Then prepare the hazelnut praline pastry cream.
Put the milk and single cream into a medium saucepan at medium heat.
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, egg and yolk.
Add the corn flour.
Mix until it has a smooth consistency.
Poor 1/3 of the simmering cream/milk and mix.
Pour the mixture in the saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, whisking for the entire time until the custard is thick enough to hold the marks of whisk and the first bubble appears on the surface.
Add the pure praline.
Mix until it has a smooth consistency.
Put the clinging film on the pastry cream and refrigerate it while you prepare the rest.
Then prepare the custard.
Pour the milk, yolks, sugar in a and whisk until the sugar is fully incorporated and the yolks are a pale shade of yellow.
Stir over low heat until the custard thickens.
Stir for about 5 minutes until it leaves a path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, do not boil.
Chill for 10 min in the fridge.
Then prepare the butter cream.
Cut the butter in smaller pieces.
Cream butter with a hand mixer.
Add the custard.
Mix until it is all incorporated.
Then prepare the Italian meringue.
Put the water and sugar into a saucepan to make the syrup and swirl together and start to heat it up.
Add the egg whites to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
When the syrup reaches 115C, start to mix the egg whites on high.
Once the syrup reaches 118C, it shoud be having big bubbles but still runny. Take it straight off the heat and pour it in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl, continuing to whisk on high.
Continue to whisk the meringue on medium speed for about five minutes until you have a nice and glossy meringue. But it is recommended to whisk the meringue until it has mostly cooled down. You need to have a ‘bird beak’ when pulling out your mixer.
Then prepare the praline cream.
Start mixing the Italian meringue and the butter cream.
Whisk the hazelnut praline pastry cream to smooth its consistency.
Mix the hazelnut praline pastry cream to the rest of the mixture.
Put the clinging film on the praline cream and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours.
Finally let’s bring all the part together.
Pre-heat your oven at 180°C.
Spoon the choux pastry in a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle (2cm diameter).
Pipe your ring (17cm diameter) and little choux (1 to 1.5cm diameter). I have drawn under the parchment paper to make it easier for me. (Do not put the 2 circle too close like I did)
Pipe 20-25 little choux per ring.
Add the craquelin on top of your ring.
Bake the ring in the oven for 40 minutes and until it is well risen and golden.
Bake the little choux for around 20 minutes also at 180°C.
Once baked, remove from the oven and immediately slice the rings in half horizontally.
Cut the little choux in 2 and fill them up with pure praline.
Add a layer of pure praline at the bottom of the ring.
Add the little choux on top.
Spoon the praline cream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle, then pipe a generous amount of cream in a circular motion over the praline.
Place the pastry lids on top.
Dust with icing sugar.
Your Paris-Brest is now ready! You can enjoy it for dessert or bring it to events to share with friends!!