The Paris Brest is a French pastry that was created by the French pastry chef Louis Durant for the bike race “Paris – Brest” that goes from Paris to the city of Brest in France. That is why the shape of this pastry looks like a bike tire.
The key elements of this pastry are the Praline, which is a paste made of caramelized chopped almonds and hazelnuts and a mousseline cream that is based on the praline. to make a good Paris Brest you should before that make a good Praline.
beside that the dough used in the Paris Brest is a classic choux pastry.
I keep the weights of the ingredients in grams to avoid rounding them and giving you wrong measures, I suggest you to use a scale that indicates the weight in grams.
The supplies you will need
- A stand Mixer or a hand mixer
- Silicone backing mat
- Digital scale
- Parchment paper
- Tip PF16 (For the choux pastry)
- Tip E8 or Ateco 827 (For the mousseline Cream)
For the Choux Pastry
- 125 g water
- 125 g milk
- 8 g sugar (Optional)
- 100g butter
- 150g flour
- 250g eggs
- Pinch of salt
For the Praline
- 240 g almond or half Almond half hazelnut
- 160 g sugar
- 15 g water
For The mousseline cream with the praline
- 500 g milk
- 120 g sugar
- 80 g egg Yolks
- 75 g cornstarch
- 220 g butter (room temperature)
- 150 g praline
Making The praline
- In a large pan bring the sugar and the water to a boil over medium heat.
- When the temperature reaches 249F (121 c) add the almond while stirring, don’t worry if the sugar crystallize, it is the normal process it will melt again.
- Once the sugar and almonds caramelize remove it from heat and put it on a Silicone backing mats, allow to cool .
- Once the mixture is cold, break it in small pieces and chop them in the food processor (big pieces could damage your food processor). in the beginning it becomes a powder, then and after a couple of minutes it will be a thick paste, at this stage keep chopping until you get a peanut butter texture like in the picture below.
(The quality of the praline depends of the power of the food processor, I usually use a KitchenAid food processor because it is strong and the result is perfect).
Making the mousseline cream with the praline
- In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat.
- In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks and the sugar, add the cornstarch, and mix until smooth and free of lumps.
- Add the heated milk gradually to the egg yolks mixture while stirring, return on heat for 1 minute, keep stirring until the pastry cream becomes thick, remove from heat and add (110g) of butter, while the butter is well incorporated in the pastry cream, put the whole mixture in a bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap on the surface, allow to cool.
- In another bowl add (110g) of butter and whip it until it becomes creamy.
- Add the PRALINE while stirring, once the praline is incorporated Add ¼ of the cold pastry cream, whip the mixture well while adding the rest of the cream on 3 times.(for best results use a Balloon whip)
- Allow to cool.
Making the choux pastry
- In a saucepan bring the sugar, the water, the Milk, the Butter and the salt to a boil over medium heat.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and add the flour, stir well and fast until you get a smooth dough.
- Put again the saucepan over medium heat to dry the dough, Stir vigorously until the mixture detaches from the sides of the pan (This process is really important, it prevents the choux pastry from cracking in the oven).
- In a large mixing bowl, put the dough and start adding the eggs one by one while mixing, the result should be homogeneous.(for best result use a Flat Beater).
- Put the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a PF16 tip, pipe circles of dough onto the Silicone backing mat, leave 2 inches of space between them.
- Bake 30 minutes in a preheated oven 350 F (180c) without opening the oven door.
NOTE: the Tip that I used in this recipe is called PF16 (Petit Four 16 mm), this kind of tips are the most used to make the Paris Brest and other famous French pastry, it is really important to have them in your kitchen at least the tips (PF 16, PF 14) unfortunately this specific tips are not available in all stores and it is a little bit expensive (I found them on amazon and that is where I bought them).
Montage of the Paris Brest
- Cut the Paris Brest in two pieces (Like a burgers) and fill them with the Mousseline cream (use a pastry bag fitted with the tip E8 (Stare shape E8, 8 Teeth), if you don’t have the E8 you can use the Ateco tip 827 with 8 teeth)
- Pipe the cream on the first part of the Circles then cover it with the second one.
- Decorate the surface with icing sugar.
The Paris Brest has an incredible taste, so to be able to do it often, I make the praline days in advance and I keep it in the fridge several weeks.
Don’t forget to put the Pastry in the fridge before tasting .