Paris Brest

Paris-Brest Gâteau Recipe - Bruno Albouze - THE REAL DEAL

Paris Brest Gâteau Recipe.

Yield 2 Wheels 8 Servings each or 16 Individual Paris-Brest Cakes.

For the history, the Paris Brest cake was created in 1910 by pastry chef Louis Durand, upon request from the organiser of a bicycle race between Paris and Brest. The cake has a large ring shape resembling bicycle wheels. This race began in 1891 and it's the oldest cycling event still being run.

Praliné Recipe / Hazelnut Paste
4 ounces (120g) almonds
2.7 ounces (80g) hazelnuts
A pinch of salt
7 ounces (210g) powdered sugar, granulated or pearl sugar.

Toast nuts in a hot skillet or in a 375ºF (190ºC) preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile make caramel a sec (dry caramel). In a hot saucepan add sugar over medium high heat and cook until it turns brown but not dark brown. Then, add the remaining sugar and cook until melted and brown. Turn off the heat and fold in the toasted nuts. Transfer the caramelized nuts onto a silicon mat and let cool completely. Break into pieces (save some to be crushed for stuffing). While the food processor is running, throw in the caramelized nuts pieces and blend for 5 minutes or until it turns into paste. Save 8 ounces (250g) for the praliné mousseline and refrigerate praliné leftover for months for later use.

Pâte à Choux Recipe.
Yield 2 Wheels 8 Servings each or 16 Individual Paris-Brest Cakes.
1/2 cup (125ml) water
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
8 Tbsp (125g) unsalted butter
1 tsp (5g) salt
2 tsp (10g) granulated sugar
1 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
4 to 5 ea. (200g to 250g) large eggs
Powdered sugar for dusting and sliced almonds.
Bring water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, quickly stir in flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from sides for about a minute. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or whisk if using a Magic Mill Mixer. Mix on low speed for about 1 minute to get the steam out and cool down a bit, then add two-third of the eggs at once and beat on low speed until a soft peak forms when batter is touched with your finger. Add one more egg and the last one if necessary. Follow the same method if mixed by hand using a rubber spatula. However, cool down mixture for 5 minutes before adding eggs otherwise it may cook the eggs rather ending up having dots. A stand mixer cools down mixture much faster though preventing this from happening.
Piping Wheels
On a parchment paper, draw a 6 inch (15cm) circle; flip over parchment so then the ink wont be in direct contact with the batter. Pipe a thin 1/2 inch (1.2cm) thick ring of dough just outside the 6 inch circle that is drawn on the parchment. Pipe another ring outside the first ring making sure the ring of dough are touching. Pipe a final ring of pâte à choux on the top, along the center seam between the first two rings of dough. Dust the dough with powdered sugar and coat with sliced almonds. For the individual Paris-Brest, pipe out 16 ea. 3 inch (8cm) diameter wheels onto 2 large baking sheets (8 cakes per tray) lined with a silicon mat or parchment using a 1/2 inch (1.2cm) open star pastry tip. Unbaked piped pâte à choux can be refrigerated a couple of days or frozen for weeks before being baked; place frozen wheels on a baking tray and bake right away in the preheated oven.

Bake in a preheated 350ºF (180ºC) oven. Bake pâte à choux in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes; bake one sheet at the time. Do not open the oven door during baking or it will deflate. Then, turn oven off leaving the door ajar for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire rack. If using a convection oven, the baking time may be shortened by 5 minute or so.

Praliné Mousseline Cream

1.4 cups (350ml) milk
1/3 cup (60g) granulated sugar
4 ea. (80g) egg yolks (freeze egg whites for later use)
1.2 Tbsp (20g) flour
1.2 Tbsp (20g) corn starch
4 Tbsp (60g) high quality unsalted butter, at room temp

To whip with the chilled custard
8 ounces (240g) praliné paste
10 Tbsp (150g) high quality unsalted butter, at room temp

Bring milk to a simmer. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar to blend and add flour and corn starch. Turn off the heat. Whisk hot milk gradually into the yolk mixture. Return custard to the stove, bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes on medium high heat whisking constantly. Turn off the heat and whisk in the first 4 tablespoons (60g) butter. Transfer custard onto a tray lined with plastic wrap, cover with plastic wrap in contact and let cool to room temp then chilled.
Beat chilled custard on high speed for one minute or until smooth. Then, mix in the praliné paste. Add 10 tablespoons (150g) butter and continue beating until creamy and fluffy; about 5 minutes. The praliné mousseline can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Paris-Brest Assembly
Split the pastry shell in half horizontally. Pipe the praliné mousseline into the hollow center of the shell twice; the first layer should fill the bottom shell straight. Then, the second layer should be nicely designed. Hold the piping bag at 45 degrees. Squeeze out filling forming an horizontal 8 shape motion; (only for the large Paris-Brest).
Add some crushed caramelized nuts in between the two mousseline layers or on the top of the last one. Pieces of nougatine leftovers can be used in place of caramelized nuts if preferred. Put hat back on each shell, dust with powdered sugar and serve. Better served right away!. Paris-Brest can be however stored wrapped in the refrigerator a couple of days. Enjoy!

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