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Paris Brest

This is said to be the creation of a chef who wished to honour the famous bicycle race of the same name. He made the cake circular and inflated like a bicycle wheell.

ingredients

serves 4 - 6
1 quantity choux pastry (see below)
egg white, to glaze
1/2 oz (15 g) flaked almonds

praline cream:

1 oz (25 g) whole blanched almonds
3 oz(75 g) caster sugar
1/2 quantity Creme Patissiere made with 2 oz (50 g) sugar (see below)

to decorate:

icing sugar

method

1. Shape or pipe choux pastry into one 8 inch (20 cm) ring or several small rings on a greased baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes.

Pierce the sides to release steam, then cool for 10 minutes. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with flaked almonds.

2. Return to oven for about 5 minutes until brown and crisp. Cool on a wire rack.

3. Make praline cream filling. Place blanched almonds and sugar in a heavy based pan. Heat gently until the sugar melts. Stir

briefly. Pour on to an oiled baking tray. Cool. Grind or finely crush into a powder. Stir into creme patissiere.

4. Slice through the choux rings, fill with praline cream and replace tops. Dust with icing sugar.

pastry cream fillings (creme patissiere)

2 oz (70 g) caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 oz plain flour
pinch of salt
1/2 pint (225 ml) milk
1/2 vanilla pod
1 strips of lemon peel
pinch of ground mace
2 1/2 fl oz (75 ml) double cream, whipped

1. Beat together the sugar and eggs until thick, light and creamy.

2. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt and gradually work into the mixture until smooth. Put the milk in a pan with the vanilla pod, lemon peel and mace and bring slowly to the boil. Remove from heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes for the flavours to infuse. Strain.

3. Gradually pour the milk on to the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Return pastry cream to the pan, bring almost to the boil, stirring all the time to prevent the mixture burning. Simmer, but do not boil, for about 2 minutes until thickened. Strain. Leave to cool.

4. To prevent a skin from forming, rub the surface with a knob of butter or press non PVC film directly on to the surface. Refrigerate until needed. Pastry cream will keep for 2 days. Before serving beat the mixture until smooth, stir in whipped cream.

choux pastry

2 1/2 oz (65 g) strong plain flour, sifted
5 fl oz (150 ml) water
2 oz (50 g) butter
2 eggs, beaten

1. Sift flour on to a sheet of greaseproof paper. Place the water and butter in a small pan and heat gently until the butter melts.

2. Bring to the boil and immediately add the flour. Beat rapidly over the heat for about 1 minute until smooth. Remove from the heat and beat for about 5 minutes until cooled.

3. Gradually beat in just enough egg to form a smooth, glossy, stiff paste. Shape as required.

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