recipe

Paris-Brest: the flavorful French dessert recipe you’ll love

Total time: 40 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
By Cookist
2051
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Paris-Brest (pronounced pah-ree brest) is an easy, rich French recipe you can make at home. An almond-studded choux pastry is split horizontally and filled with praline crème mousseline—a mixture of vanilla pastry cream, nutty praline paste, and whipped butter. It’s then dusted with powdered sugar, sliced, and served.

The name Paris-Brest comes from the name of a bicycle route that runs from Paris (the French Capital) to Brest (a town in Brittany). Because the pastry cream is piped in a ring shape, it’s said to mimic the spokes of a bicycle wheel, hence the name.

This dessert is a perfect balance of crisp on the outside, with creaminess on the inside. This is always a show-stopper dessert, we can guarantee that you will impress all your friends.

Paris-Brest Origins

Paris-Brest is said to have originated in the early 1900s, when Pierre Giffard, a newspaper editor, wanted to promote a race in an effort to encourage bicycle use. He asked a pastry chef to help him create a dessert to help with the promotion. Not only does the ring shape of the pastry mimic the spokes of a bicycle wheel, but it also represents the head wreath that Greek athletes wore after a victory.

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Paris-Brest Ingredients

Eggs – as with most baking recipes, use eggs at room temperature.

Milk – use full-fat milk for best results.

Sugar – use granulated sugar for the choux pastry.

Almonds – use slivered almonds.

Flour – use all-purpose flour.

Butter – use unsalted butter; if you’re using salted butter, omit the pinch of salt.

How To Make Paris-Brest

Making Paris Brest is easier than you may think.

Making the Choux Pastry

Place the milk, water, salt, sugar, and 80g of the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the flour. Stir vigorously. Return the pan to heat and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture into a medium bowl to cool a bit.

Once cooled, whisk 4 eggs until smooth add them to the cooled mixture little by little, and transfer them into a piping bag. Pipe the dough in a circular pattern, brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with almond slices. Bake until golden.

Making the Praline Mousseline Crème

In a saucepan whisk 2 eggs with sugar until smooth, add corn starch and mix well. Add the milk and stir well. Cook the cream over medium heat, making sure to stir constantly. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Assembling the Paris-Brest

Beat 160 g butter with a mixer until frothy, gradually add the praline mousseline crème, and continue to beat until smooth. Transfer the cream into a piping bag.  Cut the choux pastry in half horizontally and fill with the pastry cream. Decorate with powdered sugar and serve.

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Tips

The Paris-Brest is best served immediately, but if you want, you can make the pastry cream ahead of time.

After adding the flour (add it all at once), you’ll need to stir the ingredients vigorously until it no longer sticks to the pot. This allows the gluten to develop and will ensure that the pastry puffs up nicely when cooked.

Allow the choux dough to cool a bit before adding the eggs. If the flour mixture is too hot, the eggs will end up cooking, resulting in a gummy pastry that tastes eggy

If you want, use pistachios instead of almonds.

When cooling the cream, make sure that the plastic wrap touches the cream to prevent a film from forming on the surface.

How To Store Paris-Brest

Leftover Paris-Brest can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days. The choux pastry will become soggy because of the cream.

Ingredients
for the cream
Eggs
2
Sugar
150 g (3/4 cup)
Cornstarch
60 g (4 tbsp)
Milk
500 ml (2 cups)
butter at room temperature
160 g (2/3 cup)
for the choux pastry
Water
100 ml (1/4 cup + 3 tbsp)
Milk
100 ml (1/4 cup + 3 tbsp)
Salt
a pinch
Sugar
a pinch
Butter
80 g (1/3 cup)
Flour
120 g (1 cup)
Eggs
4
for decorating
sliced almonds
Powdered sugar

Instructions

In a saucepan whisk 2 eggs with sugar until smooth, add cornstarch and mix well.

Pour in milk, stir well and brew the cream thickly over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes.

Transfer into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.

Pour milk and water into a saucepan, add a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and 80 g butter, and set over medium heat.

When the butter has melted, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Return the pan to heat and cook the dough for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture into a medium bowl to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl whisk 4 eggs until smooth add them to the cooled mixture little by little, and transfer them into a piping bag.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Trace an 18cm/7″ circle on a piece of parchment. Flip the paper over and place it on a baking sheet.

Pipe one circle just inside your circle on the parchment. Pipe a second circle of pastry just outside the line and pipe the third ring on top of the other two.

Grease with beaten egg, sprinkle with almond slices. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 160C/320F and bake for another 25 minutes, let cool.

Beat 160 g butter with a mixer until frothy, gradually add cooled cream, and continue to beat until smooth. Transfer the cream into a piping bag.

Cut the choux pastry in half horizontally.

Pipe the cream onto the bottom half of the pastry.

Place the top half on top of the cream like a sandwich.

Decorate with powdered sugar.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

2051
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