I absolutely love Paris-Brest, although you hardly ever see it for sale anywhere. I used to be so scared of making choux pastry, years ago I made some eclairs that were shocking. There wasn’t any space in the pastry to add the cream and when I tried to dip them in the icing they snapped in half and it was a complete mess.
I have had varying success over the years with choux pastry and I have featured Paris-Brest on this blog a few times. It wasn’t until I found Edd Kimber’s choux pastry recipe in his book Patisserie Made Simple, that I have been able to make choux pastry without any fear or trepidation.
The other thing I love about Paris-Brest is the filling, a delicious creme mousseline flavoured with hazelnut praline paste – if you thought Nutella or Biscoff was addictive then you need to try this stuff. It’s basically liquidised caramelised hazelnut.
This entire Paris-Brest recipe comes from Edd’s book, which is a book I strongly recommend you buy if you want to learn how to make patisserie at home. You need hardly any fancy equipment and it’s full of lots of classic recipes.
Also can we take a moment to discuss the fact that I have posted three recipes this year already! There is obviously a risk that I have peaked, but by 2021’s standards I am doing pretty bloody well 🙂
- 60 g Unsalted Butter Diced
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Caster Sugar
- 40 g Plain Flour
- 45 g Strong White Bread Flour
- 3 Medium Eggs
- 120 ml Water
- 25 g Flaked Almonds
- 1 Egg for for glazing
- 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- 500 ml Whole Milk
- 2 Large Eggs
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 200 g Sugar
- 75 g Cornflour
- 250 g Unsalted Butter softened, diced
- 75 g Hazelnut Praline Paste
- Icing Sugar for dusting
- First make the creme patissiere, put the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. In a bowl mix the sugar, cornflour, egg yolks and egg together until pale in colour.
- Gently pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and stir the whole time to combine and make sure the eggs don't cook. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir or whisk until the creme patissiere is thickened.
- Take 125g of the butter and add it to the creme patissiere slowly until it is melted and combined. Place into a bowl cover with a layer of clingfilm and press it on the surface of the creme patissiere and place it in the fridge to cool.
- Make the choux pastry, preheat the oven to 185C (165C Fan) Gas 4 and line two baking trays with baking parchment, using an 8cm cookie cutter, draw 4 circles on each baking tray evenly spaced apart and turn the paper over so the circles are on the reverse. Ensuring you have 8 circles in total.
- Put the butter, salt, sugar and 120ml water in a medium pan over a medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and the mixture is at a rolling boil, add the flour and quickly stir together with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough.
- With the pan still on a low heat, stir vigorously for 2 minutes, then tip the dough into a bowl and beat for a few minutes until it stops steaming. These two actions help to cook the flour and dry out the dough, which in turn helps it to absorb more egg. This helps the choux pastry to expand properly as it bakes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully absorbed before adding the next. Depending on the flour used and how much water evaporated as you made the dough, the choux pastry will need varying amounts of egg, so the above is given as a guide.
- With this recipe I usually add two eggs and then very slowly start adding the remaining egg, checking the texture of the dough after each addition. You are looking for a dough that has a shine and when it is lifted from the bowl, it should fall from the spatula in a ribbon that forms a "V" shape. If the dough doesn't contain enough egg, it won't expand properly and will be prone to cracking as it bakes; if there is too much egg, the dough won't hold its shape and will collapse as it bakes.
- To prevent the dough from drying out and forming a skin, immediately put the dough into a piping bag with a large star shaped tip fitted.
- Pipe circles of choux onto the prepared baking sheets and brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle them with the flaked almonds. You want your Paris-Brest to be the same width as the nozzle. They will puff up, if you make them too big you won't be able to make 8. Be sure to pipe inside the circle or on the line.
- Place the trays of choux pastry in the oven to cook for 35 minutes until the choux has risen and is golden. You may find you need to turn the trays after 15 minutes to ensure the pastry colours evenly.
- Turn off the oven and leave the choux pastry in the oven for 30 minutes to dry out further. Remove the paris-brest from the oven and leave them to cool before filling them.
- To finish the creme mousseline take the remaining 125g of butter and beat it in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Remove the pastry cream from the fridge and whisk it to loosen it. Allow it to come up to room temperature. If it is too cold it will make the butter set again.
- Add a small amount of the pastry cream to the butter and beat until it is smooth and completely combined. Keep adding the pastry cream until it has all been mixed in. Finally add the praline paste and mix until fully combined. Place the creme mousseline in a piping bag fitted with a french star tip.
- To assemble the paris-brest take a serrated knife or a bread knife and gently slice the paris-brest in half so that you have two circles. Pipe the creme mousseline onto the base of the Paris-Brest and top with the other half of the Paris-Brest. Dust the finished pastry with icing sugar.These are best eaten the day they are made, but should keep for 24 hours in the fridge before going soft.
Thanks for reading.