Cake and cycling enthusiasts know that the Paris-Brest was so named by the pastry chef Louis Durand because his home was located on the passage of the mythical eponymous cycling race. He therefore created a cake in the shape of a bicycle wheel in tribute to this sporting event. The choux pastry wheel is traditionally filled with praline cream and covered with slivered almonds.
After a few years of crossing the desert, this pastry is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Modern versions are now less sweet, refined, rich in intense, much-loved pralines. The Paris-Brest inspires young pastry chefs who like to take it in other directions; Paris-Tokyo, Paris-New York, Paris-Menton, Paris-Dinard, etc.
Here are some tips from Chefs to ensure that Paris-Brest is a success every time:
- When preparing the choux pastry, beat the eggs in an omelette (rather than adding them individually). They incorporate better and allow you to measure out exactly the quantity needed to obtain the texture of your choice.
- As always with choux pastry, cooking is tricky so do some preliminary tests with your oven.
- Individual formats are easier to make than a large cake with several slices.
- An extra cracker helps the dough develop properly. Prepare it several days before and freeze it.
- If the buttercream slices then there is no alternative but to start over.
- Don't forget the pinch of fleur de sel .
Below is the recipe for Paris Brest from chef Sébastien Dégardin in Paris:
- For about 12 people
- Preparation 3 hours
- Cooking 45 to 55 minutes
- Freezing 3 hours
The Ingredients of Paris-Brest :
- For the brown sugar and almond mixture : 100g chopped almonds - 100g brown sugar
- For the cracker : 110g flour - 120g brown sugar - 90g butter
- For the choux pastry : 250g whole fresh milk - 250g water - 10g caster sugar - 10g fleur de sel - 230g butter - 260g flour - 450g whole eggs
- For the buttercream : 300g caster sugar - 80g water - 90g whole eggs - 40g egg yolk - 500g fine butter
- For the vanilla pastry cream : 275g fresh milk - ½ vanilla pod - 88g egg yolk - 120g caster sugar - 60g flour - 65g fresh butter
- For the praline mousseline cream : 1000g butter cream - 400g smooth almond-hazelnut praline - 600g pastry cream
- For the runny crunchy praline : 500g crunchy almond-hazelnut praline - 50g water
- For the almond nougatine : 130g of fresh milk - 120g of glucose - 315g of butter - 380g of powdered sugar - 6g of pectin NH - 375g of chopped almonds
- For the finish : QS icing sugar - QS caramelized almonds and hazelnuts
Paris-Brest recipe :
- The Brown Sugar and Almonds Mixture : mix the brown sugar and the almonds. Reserve in a dry box.
- The Craquelin : mix the flour with the brown sugar. Add the cold butter cut into pieces, mix with a mixer fitted with the leaf tool until a homogeneous paste is obtained. Immediately roll out between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Let cool and cut into 4cm diameter discs. Reserve in the refrigerator until assembly.
- La Pate à Choux : Heat the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter. Sift flour. When the mixture is boiling, add the flour all at once. Dry this panade by stirring briskly with a wooden spoon preferably, until the mixture detaches from the edges. Once dried, remove it to a stand mixer fitted with the leaf tool and add the eggs in several batches. When the dough is finished, pipe the puffs using a size 12 plain nozzle and make balls 6cm in diameter. Place the cracker discs on the cabbage, brown and sprinkle with the brown sugar-almond mixture. Bake for 30 to 45min in a deck oven at 180°C. After cooking, remove and set aside until assembly.
- Buttercream : make a syrup with the sugar and water. Cook it at 120°C. Meanwhile, beat the yolks and the eggs in a mixer fitted with the whisk. When the syrup is cooked, pour it over the eggs, in 3rd speed. When the mixture is lukewarm, remove the whisk and insert the foil tool. Add the cold butter and whip the cream at 2nd speed. To book.
- The vanilla pastry cream : bring the milk to a boil with the vanilla. Blanch the egg yolks with the sugar then incorporate the flour. Pour the boiling milk over the egg yolks and bring everything to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. After cooking, discard the cream in a mixing bowl. Add the butter when the cream is at 45°C, mix well and remove to a plate. Reserve in the refrigerator.
- The Praline Mousseline Cream : Whip the butter cream, heating it slightly. Add the praline then the pastry cream. Whip everything in a mixer then set aside until ready to assemble.
- The Flowing Crunchy Praline : mix the praline and the water. Pour the praline into 3cm diameter Flexipan moulds. Put in the freezer for 3 hours then unmold and set aside until assembly.
- Almond Nougatine : bring the milk to the boil with the glucose. Add the butter while whisking, then the sugar mixed with the NH pectin in rain. Cook the mass at 106°C. Add the chopped almonds then lower the device between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Freeze. Heat a plate of nougatine in an oven at 170°C. for 15 minutes. After baking, cut into 5.5cm squares and mix the trimmings. Reserve until assembly.
- Assembly and Finishing : cut the puffs in 2 (⅔ and ⅓ in height). In the base of the cabbage, pipe the praline cream with a fluted nozzle. Insert the praline disc in the middle of the mixed nougatine. Finish with a nice rosette of cream. Leave for a few minutes in the refrigerator, then lay the top of the cabbage. Sprinkle the Paris Brest with icing sugar and decorate with a 5.5cm square of nougatine with 1 caramelized almond and 1 caramelized hazelnut.
Do not hesitate to share your results in comment as well as your variants or your suggestions. Tell us what is the next chef's recipe you want to discover on our Pastry Blog.