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Paris Brest

          

Paris-Brest is a ring-shaped pastry, filled with cream and sprinkled with almonds and icing sugar. It was created in 1891 by a pastry cook whose patisserie was situated along the route of the bicycle race from Paris to Brest. His idea was to bake his eclairs in the shape of bicycle wheels for the cyclists. This race was a precursor to the Tour de France which started in 1903.

Ingredients:

  • 150 g + 1 tbsp butter
  • 1½ + 1/3 cups water
  • pinch salt
  • 1¾ cups + 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 8 eggs + 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp + 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornflour
  • 2 ¼ cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup flaked almonds
  • extra flaked almonds and icing sugar

Instructions:

Choux pastry

  • Melt the 150 g of butter with 1 1/2 cups water in a saucepan, then bring it to the boil.
  • Remove from the heat, add the 1 1/2 cups flour at once with the salt.
  • Return to heat and beat continuously until it comes away from the side. Cool.
  • Beat in 7 eggs one at a time, until shiny and smooth then beat in 1 tbsp castor sugar.
  • Draw a 20cm wide circle on the back of a piece of baking paper (as a guide).
  • Put the choux pastry in a pastry bag with a ¾ inch wide tip.
  • Pipe a ring of pastry over the guide then pipe another ring directly inside the first one.
  • Keep piping circles on top of the first two.
  • Brush the ring with a beaten egg and sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes at 400 deg then reduce to 350 deg for another 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack.
  • Slice the ring in half horizontally, making the base twice as deep as the top.
  • Take off the top and scoop out any uncooked pastry from the base. Allow to cool.

Creme patissiere

  • Whisk the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar together until pale and creamy.
  • Sift and mix the cornflour with the tbsp flour.
  • Put the milk and other 1/4 cup sugar and the vanilla bean in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, then strain over the egg yolk mixture, stirring continuously.
  • Pour back into a clean saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to make smooth.
  • Boil for 2 minutes, then stir in the tablespoon of butter.
  • Allow the mixture to cool completely.

Praline

  • Grease a sheet of aluminum foil and lay it flat.
  • Put 1/3 cups sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat gently until sugar dissolved.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until deep golden, then quickly pour in the sliced almonds and pour onto the greased foil. Spread it out a little and allow to cold.
  • When the praline has hardened, grind it to a fine powder.

Then finally...

  • Mix the praline into the cold creme patissiere.
  • Spoon the creme patissiere into the bottom of the choux pastry ring, cover with the top.
  • Dust with icing sugar and serve.

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