Daring Bakers: Paris-Brest
I was thrilled when I saw this was the challenge for November! I was less thrilled at my results, but still enjoyed this challenge and can’t wait to try my hand at Paris-Brest another time.
The November Daring Baker’s challenge took us for a ride! Luisa from Rise of the Sourdough Preacher challenged us to make Paris-Brest, a beautiful pastry celebrating the Paris-Brest bicycle race.
Happy Thanksgiving! Since things have been pretty crazy for us, as I am sure they have been you any of you celebrating Thanksgiving today, I am keeping this post short.
My most favorite part about this was making the incredible praline and creme mousseline. I could’ve eaten the caramelized hazelnut and almond butter on just about anything. A spoon is perfect. That goes into a pastry cream and then you mix that with butter. Few things could be better, in my opinion. But then you pipe that amazing goodness onto pâte à choux rounds and things get super delicious.
The pâte à choux didn’t seem to rise very well. Not sure what I did wrong there. I also didn’t have enough dough to make the 6 in the size called for in the recipe. I would make mine smaller next time, and try piping with a larger tip.
Even though my pâte à choux weren’t great, this was a delicious dessert that would be quite impressive to serve. I’ll definitely be trying this one again! Thanks, Luisa!
Pâte à Choux
- 1/3 cup water
- 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons whole milk
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup cold butter
- ¾ cup plus 4 teaspoons cake flour
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- two handfuls of slivered almonds
- egg, beaten, for the brushing
- Preheat oven to moderate 350°F and sift the flour.
- In a nonstick saucepan pour in the milk, water, sugar and salt. Add the butter in small pieces and put on medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil. Add the flour in one shot to the boiling liquid. Stir vigorously with a wooden spatula. Cook on the stove on a very low heat for a few minutes, until the dough becomes firm, smooth and homogeneous. The dough must be dry and detach from the bottom of the pan easily.
- If you have a stand mixer pour the mixture into its bowl. With the K beater stir the mixture on low speed for a few minutes, until it cools down a little. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well on medium speed. Before adding the next egg make sure that everything is well blended. This way, the air will be incorporated into the dough and when baking it will make puff the Paris Brest which won’t deflate out of the oven.
- If you don’t have a stand mixer proceed mixing the eggs directly in the pan where you cooked the dough, after allowing it to cool down. Work the egg with the wooden spatula until all the egg is incorporated before adding the next one. The dough should be smooth, like a thick cream.
- Cover the baking sheets with baking paper or a silpat mat. If you use baking paper you can trace some circles of 4¾ -inches (12 cm) to help you out piping the circles. I use a silpat mat that already is specially designed to help out piping, that could be helpful too. To pipe the Paris-Brest use a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch (10 mm) plain nozzle and pipe two circles, the outer one of the diameter of the circle you drew. Pipe a third circle on top, using the star-shaped nozzle. If you don’t have one use a fork to trace some lines on its surface, this will help the choux pastry to rise properly. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with slivered almonds.
- Bake in a moderate oven 350°F for about 23-25 minutes, in a static oven. To get rid of any moisture in the oven you can keep the door slightly open. This way the dough will dry out completely during baking. The Paris-Brest should be golden brown, with a uniform color. Let cool completely.
- 1/3 cup (2 ounces) whole almonds
- 1/3 cup (2 ounces) whole hazelnuts
- 6 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- Put the sugar into a non-stick pan, over medium heat. Add water and bring to a boil.
- When the sugar reaches 250°F/121° C (without thermometer you will need to reach the stage at which the sugar begins to boil and the syrup starts to become more and more dense), add the nuts all at once. Mix well with a wooden spoon to coat all the nuts in the sugar. At this point, the sugar will start to sand, i.e. crystallize again. Continue to stir. The sugar will melt a second time, this time caramelizing.
- Once all the nuts caramelize, remove the pan from the heat.
Pour the entire contents of the pan on a heat-resistant silicone mat or a piece of parchment.
- Let cool completely. Break into smaller pieces and grind in a food processor until a thick paste forms.
- Set aside or put in an airtight container and store in the fridge.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoon (45 ml) (2/3 oz) (20 gm) cake flour, sieved
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 3 oz praliné
- 1 vanilla pod, sliced open length wise
- In a small saucepan bring the milk to a boil with the vanilla pod. Put aside and let cool for about 10 minutes. In a bowl whisk the eggs yolks and sugar until they become white.
- Add the flour and whisk until all mixed through.
- Mix half of the milk in the egg, until all uniform. Pout into a small pan and put on medium heat. Add the remaining milk. Cook until the cream thickens, stirring the cream continuously. When thick transfer into a bowl and cover with cling film touching the cream. Chill until cool, an hour or two.
- In a bowl mix the softened butter with the praliné. Add to the cooled cream until homogeneous.
- Fill a piping bag with creme mousseline.
- Halve pate a choux and pipe creme mousseline around the bottom layer then cover with the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.