Dig a fork into this Paris Brest.
An exquisite dessert. this creation is made from choux pastry piped into a circle, covered in flaked almonds and filled with a mixture of praline, creme patissier and whipped cream
For the choux:
• 125ml/5oz water (125g)
• 60g/2.5oz unsalted butter
• 75g/3oz plain flour
• 2 small eggs (plus one extra, if needed)
•1⁄2 teaspoon salt
• 75g flaked almonds
1 Place the water and butter in a saucepan and bring to boil slowly.
2 Remove from heat and add the flour all in one go, beating fiercely all the time.
3 Return to the heat and continue to beat. The mixture should start to form a soft ball that comes away from the side of the pan. Once this happens, remove from the heat.
4 Working quickly so that the eggs do not scramble, add one egg and beat in quickly and very well until the dough is smooth.
5 Add the second egg, beating well until well mixed in. If necessary, add further a further egg or part of an egg to make a dough that is shiny, soft and drops easily off the spoon.
6 Fill a pastry bag fitted with a wide nozzle with the choux paste and pipe it into three concentric circles about 10cm/4″ in diameter on top of one another. Repeat this process until you are out of choux paste.
7 Sprinkle the tops of the pastry generously with the flaked almonds.
8 Bake in oven 200oC/400oF for about 25 minutes or until well cooked and beautifully brown
9 Set aside to cool and when cool split horizontally using a sharp knife.
NOTE: If the flaked almonds on the choux rings are browning too quickly, reduce the oven temperature. If the rings are still soft after baking for full time, turn down the oven temperature to 160oC/325oF and cook until crisp and dry – probably another 10 to 15 minutes.
For the praline:
• 125g/5oz caster sugar
• 250g/9oz hazelnuts and almonds, with skin on
1 Place the sugar in a pan and on a low heat.
2 Allow it to brown gently (to a terracotta colour) without any stirring (you can swirl using the pan handle, but no stirring).
3 Add the hazelnuts and almonds to the caramel and mix together.
4 Pour out and leave to cool.
5 Blend to a smooth and very delicious paste in a food processor. Set aside until ready to assemble.
For the confectioner’s custard/ creme patisserie:
• 2 egg yolks
• 20g/3⁄4 oz sugar
• 7g/1⁄4 oz flour
• 125ml/4 ozs milk
• 1⁄2 vanilla pod
• 50ml rum or cognac
1 In a bowl, beat the egg yolks well with the sugar.
2 Mix in the flour, ensuring that there are no lumps.
3 Place the milk in a saucepan. Scrape the inside of the vanilla pod into the milk and bring the milk slowly to the boil.
4 Once boiling, pour the milk onto the egg mixture, beating all the time with a whisk so that the eggs do not curdle.
5 Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Stirring vigorously all the time, return the saucepan to the heat and briefly bring up to the boil. Immediately turn down heat.
6 Cook until the mixture is thick and the flour cooked – the taste of starch must have disappeared.
7 Remove from the heat. Allow to cool before whisking in the rum or cognac.
For the final assembly:
• 200ml/9oz double cream icing sugar, to sprinkle over
1 Whisk the cream to soft peaks. Be very careful not to over-beat so that it is too stiff.
2 Mix the praline and the confectioner’s custard together.
3 Fold the cream into the praline/custard mixture.
4 Place the praline mixture into a pastry bag with a nozzle. Gently pipe ‘blobs’ of the cream next to one another around the bottom of each of the choux circles.
5 Gently place the flaked almond covered top onto this. Finally, sprinkle with icing sugar.
Recipe and imagery courtesy of Cookery School