Paris-Brest – LV Giveaway

Paris-Brest La Patisserie des Reves

I’ve made Paris-Best on the blog before and it was reasonably successful, but I’d always wanted to try it again. Liverpool Victoria Insurance gave me the perfect excuse to repeat this recipe when they provided me with a cycle safety kit to give away to one of my readers.

The link between cycling and patisserie has always been a strong one, I assume this is mainly because of the passion the French have for both. The Paris-Brest is named after the bicycle race it was created for and clearly mimics the shape of a wheel. Although the race no longer exists, thankfully we still have the pastry.

I enjoy cycling a lot, living in Oxford cycling is a common feature of our roads. Some parts of Oxford are well-lit, provide separate cycle lanes or have very wide roads, other parts have none of these things and I know for some people the thought of riding a bike at any time of year can be daunting, let alone considering cycling in the dark in winter during rush hour.

There are so many benefits to cycling though, the health factor and the fresh air for one, although I admit cycling in the wind and rain is far from pleasant! In most crowded cities, roads that are closed to cars can be (legally) accessed by bike and when I’m commuting, there’s nothing more rewarding than cycling past queues of cars stuck in traffic.

If you’re nervous about cycling in Winter, LV have put together an infographic that details a number of things you can do, to make yourself feel safer and more comfortable on the roads.

infographic_final

My main tips for cycling in winter would be; get some decent bike lights, it’s worth spending the money, Lezyne are a good brand. I think rechargeable lights are a great idea too, that way if you’re commuting to work and your lights are getting a bit dim, you wont get caught out as you can charge these from your computer at work using a USB connector. I would also recommend a bright jacket and a helmet. I know there’s a lot of controversy around wearing helmets and safety, but I personally feel safer wearing one. Also, try to carry out some basic cycle maintenance, keep your bike clean, oil the chain and learn to fix a puncture/change a tyre, it’s much easier and cheaper than taking your bike to a shop!

Now back to the recipe, the Paris-Brest is a choux pastry and I chose to make the version I’d seen in my La Patisserie des Reves cookbook. I was nervous about making this recipe as the La Patisserie des Reves book really is a poor translation and I knew that something would probably be wrong with the recipe. However I had wanted to attempt their signature Paris-Brest for some time. So I took the challenge and made this recipe.

The first hurdle was realising that I had twice the required amount of choux needed for this recipe. I didn’t think this would be a problem and so I made some choux buns as well. I was to find out later that the filling I had was just enough for one Paris-Brest and there was none leftover to fill any choux buns. A little disappointing, but I used this as an opportunity to see how well choux pastry freezes. I have adjusted the recipe accordingly so that it will now make two of this Paris-Brest, or one Paris-Brest and some choux buns.

The choux pastry is made by creating a roux of flour, butter and water, before adding eggs, until you have a soft pliable dough.

Choux Pastry

This Paris-Brest differs to the normal versions in that a ring or wheel of pastry is created by piping conjoined choux buns rather than one continuous ring. The instruction in the book told me to pipe inside a pastry ring to create the circle and top with rounds of streusel pastry.

choux_piped

The recipe wasn’t clear as to whether the choux pastry should touch, or whether the ring should be left on whilst cooking. Partway through the cooking time, my choux was no longer in perfect circles and they looked more like keystones. I removed the pastry ring and this helped a little, but it still looked quite squashed. I have come to the conclusion that the cake ring should be removed and the choux buns probably shouldn’t touch each other when piped to allow for expansion.

After it’s cooked the choux is allowed to cool in the oven for 30 minutes, before it is cut in half and filled with a praline cream. The praline cream is made using a product called hazelnut praline paste and this Callebaut version is very good. You could always use Nutella, but if you can get hold of the real stuff it’s much better.

Paris-Brest La Patisserie des Reves

 

PARIS-BREST
Author: 
Recipe type: Patisserie
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
This is a delicious recipe for two large Paris-Brest, perfect for an occasion or to wow your friends and family over a cup of coffee.
Ingredients
  • ***Streusel Pastry***
  • 50g Plain Flour
  • 50g Brown Sugar
  • 1 Pinch of Fleur de Sel
  • 40g Butter at room temperature
  • ***Choux Pastry***
  • 125ml Semi-Skimmed Milk
  • 125ml Water
  • 110g Cold Butter cut into pieces
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • 1 Heaped Tsp of Caster Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 5 Eggs
  • ***Praline Cream***
  • 310ml Semi-Skimmed Milk
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 60g Caster Sugar
  • 30g Cornflour
  • 2 Sheets of Gelatine (4g)
  • 140g Cold Butter, diced
  • 160g Hazelnut Praline Paste
  • ***To Decorate***
  • Icing Sugar
Instructions
  1. To make the streusel combine flour, sugar and fleur de sel in the bowl of a food mixer. Knead with the paddle attachment then add the creamed butter.
  2. Continue on a medium speed until the butter mixes with the dry ingredients to form a dough.
  3. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper to about 2mm thick, then place in the fridge or freezer.
  4. When chilled use a pastry cutter to cut out 16 rounds of pastry 3cm in diameter, return to the fridge.
  5. To make the praline cream, put the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water. Add the milk to a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  6. In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale, then add the cornflour. Mix will to get a smooth paste.
  7. Add half the milk to the egg mix and whisk, then pour this into the pan of remaining milk and mix again. Bring to the boil and whisk constantly.
  8. When the cream is thickened take it off the heat and add the melted gelatine (make sure you squeeze out all of the water), the hazelnut praline paste and chilled butter.
  9. Combine everything together then whizz with a stick blender for a smoother cream. Pour into a dish and cover with clingfilm, making sure it touches the surface of the cream to stop a skin forming.
  10. When the cream is completely cold, put it in the bowl of a food mixer and whisk it for 3 minutes until light and use immediately.
  11. To make the choux pastry, pour the milk and water into a saucepan then the butter cut into pieces. Bring to the boil then tip in the sifted flour, salt and sugar in one go.
  12. Stir carefully, a dough will form immediately. Continue stirring over a medium heat for 1 minute to eliminate any moisture.
  13. Then pour the dough into the bowl of a food mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the whole eggs one at a time, making sure they're fully mixed in before adding the next egg.
  14. This should give you a smooth glossy choux pastry. To check if the pastry is ready, score a deep line through the surface with your finger, the line should close together very slowly.
  15. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and draw a 16cm circle on each sheet of greaseproof paper. Turn the paper over and pipe eight balls of pastry 4cm in diameter on each circle. Start with the four main points of the circle and then fill in the four remaining holes. Don't worry if the buns aren't touching, they will by the time the choux is cooked.
  16. Lay the streusel pastry on each of the choux rounds on both pastries and cook in the oven on 170C (Fan Oven) for 45 minutes. Then switch off the oven and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  17. When the choux is at room temperature, cut it horizontally through the middle (do this gently with a pastry knife as the choux will separate).
  18. Use a piping bag or tablespoon to place mounds of praline cream on the bottom half of both Paris-Brest. To finish replace the top of the choux and sprinkle with icing sugar to decorate.
Paris-Brest La Patisserie des Reves

LV have very kindly donated the following cycle safety kit including a high-vis rucksack cover, a set of lights, a saddle/handlebar pouch that can store your mobile phone and some spare inner tubes! A toolkit featuring a puncture repair kit, tyre levers, pump, and an allen key tool.

Cycling Kit

To enter, simply leave a comment below detailing why you should win the kit and what you enjoy about cycling. A winner will be picked at random after Midnight on Saturday 17th January 2015. The competition is open to UK entrants only.

Thanks for reading.

Angela

Link up your recipe of the week
This competition has closed and the winter cycling kit has been won by Isabella Sewell. Updated 19/01/2015 10.30am.

22 Responses

  1. Mathilde Mgi

    Oh I love that post ! Linking patisserie and bike with the Paris-Brest of course 🙂 Well I guess not many girl link the two… but I find it great. I have to try to make some very healthy cakes for my boyfriend this season when he’s racing. Hope it will taste as good as nice but rich cakes 🙂 I love Paris-Brest !

    Mathilde

    • PatisserieMakesPerfect

      I knew you’d appreciate it Mathilde! Flapjacks are a great healthy bake, I can’t wait to see what you come up with. My boyfriend is doing a big cycle ride in September, so any ideas will be great. I love Paris-brest too, so delicious.

  2. Natalie Crossan

    I’d lvoe to win the kit as I’m desperately trying to impress my friends with my baking!

  3. Jodie Dodd

    ooh, i forgot to mention a show i came across a few weeks ago while channel surfing: the great british baking show! is it any good? i’m recording it, so excited to see what they create. i’ve heard of the great british bake-off show, is this anything like that?

  4. Jodie Dodd

    what a fantastic prize and so perfect for you to pitch! the paris-brest looks good too. at first i thought it had some sort of chocolate mixed in since the color is so dark. and oh my, there’s something better than nutella?! 🙂 x

  5. jayne

    I love cycling on the paths by our beach, but unfortunately there is no lights there so i currently use my bike light and a torch!

  6. PatisserieMakesPerfect

    I’ll cycle to you and bring you a slice 🙂 Thanks for being kind, this was hard to photograph due to the ever disappearing light and the squished appearance! xx

  7. Jaye- Cardiff in a Tea Cup

    It looks yummy! It’s always interesting to try a recipe when you know it may be flawed. It allows you to put your own stamp on it.

    I agree about the lights! My husband is an avid cyclist and commutes home at midnight. I’m hoping to be able to cycle with him when my health allows.

    • PatisserieMakesPerfect

      Commutes at midnight? Wow then lights are very important. I do hope you feel better soon as cycling is such good fun. Thanks for the kind comments about the Paris-Brest, the combination of hazelnut and chocolate tastes amazing. I want to try this again now to get it to look perfect.

  8. Coriander Queen

    Love this post! I think I should win because I have a lovely new (well, second hand!) bike to take out in the countryside to try and get fit, and judging on the bumpy cycle paths the inner tubes and puncture repair kit would be well loved! The Paris-Brest looks delicious! x

    • PatisserieMakesPerfect

      A new bike (new to you) sounds very fun and it’s a great way to get fit. Just be sure to wrap up warm. Thanks for the kind comments about the Paris-Brest. x

  9. Michael Hawkes

    That looks so so good. Going to add this to me “To try” list (which is ever growing).

    Also, I’m signing up for the bike to work scheme this month so some safety stuff would be great. I’m planning in a cycle with my dad from York to the Isle of Mull (they’ve recently moved from one to the other) for later on in the year, to raise some money for Charity.

    • PatisserieMakesPerfect

      I know what you mean about an ever growing to try list! I think I almost have the whole year of blogging planned already!

      Good luck with the bike ride, I have a road bike, but I really need to ride it more, a few 30 mile rides here and there isn’t really enough!

      • Michael Hawkes

        Yeah I have so much planned in, and then on top of that I’m going to do a bunch of basics stuff. Then my diabetic friend has asked me if I can do some recipes for her too. It just keeps on growing.

        Thanks! I’m hoping it comes off, I started training recently. 30 mile rides are great though!

  10. Nova

    That looks amazing…I don’t think trying to give up cake today was a good idea!

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