Paris-Brest

Nicolette van Niekerk
A beautiful, traditional french pastry made with Choux pastry ring and Creme Patissiere (Pastry Cream). Lightly dust with icing sugar and flaked almonds to present it. This dish was part of the French Summer Wedding Menu shoot we have done and the full post and article can be found here.
The history of Paris Brest Pastry (prounounced “pa-ree brehst’), dates as far back as when the first annual bicycle tour in France started, 1891). The race starts in Paris then continues to the town Brest and returns to Paris again. Commonly known as the “PBP” race. 
The same year the race started, a baker alongside the route of this tour, decided to make a round choux pastry and fill it with a praline flavoured cream. Obviously then resembling the wheel of a bicycle! Clever 🙂 

Paris Brest. Photo by Yolande Marx.

Paris Brest. Photo by Yolande Marx.

Paris Brest
Serves: 6

Ingredients
1 Choux Paste Recipe *
15g Flaked Almonds
1 recipe Creme Patissiere *

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180℃.
2. Pipe a double ring on a baking tray lined with baking paper / teflon sheet.
3.  Bake for 30 minutes or until brown on the outside and firm to touch.
4. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Ensure the pastry is dry and cooled down before cutting through it. 
5. Scrape out any excess pastry from the middle making it hollow on the inside.
6. When cooled completely, pipe the Cream Pat and sprinkle with almond flakes.
Paris Brest. Photo by Yolande Marx.

Paris Brest. Photo by Yolande Marx.

 
* Pâte à choux (Choux Pastry)

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 30 minutes

Yield: 750g

Ingredients:

125ml Water

125ml Milk

100g Butter

2.5ml fine salt

150g Plain Flour, sifted

4 Eggs (lightly beaten)

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Melt the butter with water and milk in a saucepan then bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and add all the flour at once and a pinch of salt.
  3. Return to the heat and beat continuously with a wooden spoon to make a smooth and silky paste that comes away from the side of the pan. Continue to mix for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and beat on medium speed until cool to the touch.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, until shiny and smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl from time to time.
  6. To check if the dough has the right consistency, lift the beaters of the mixer. If the dough stretches for about 5 cm before it breaks, it is ready. If the dough stays at a stiff peak, another egg will be needed.
  7. Store in a pastry bag in the fridge for up to 2 days. 

To bake the Choux:

  1. First pipe the choux onto a lined baking tray into circles.
  2. In order for the Choux to get the maximum lift, it needs to be baked in a preheated oven of 180°C early in the process. Never open the door during the early baking phase.
  3. After the first 15 minutes of baking, reduce the heat to 170°C and cook for another 15 minutes to allow the choux to to dry out.
  * To make the Creme Patissiere Recipe:
Makes 500ml

Ingredients:
6 Egg yolks
125g Castor Sugar
30g Corn flour
10g Plain Flour
550ml Milk
15ml Vanilla Essence /1 Vanilla pod
15g butter

Method:
  1. Whisk together the egg yolks and half the sugar until pale and creamy. Sift the corn flour and flour and mix well.
  2. Put the milk, remaining sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring just to the boil and then restrain over the egg yolk mixture stirring continuously.
  3. Pour back into a clean saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously –it will be lumpy at first but will become smooth as you stir.
  4. Boil for 2 minutes then stir in the butter and leave to cool.
  5. Transfer to a clean bowl, lay cling film on the surface to prevent a skin forming, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.