The November Daring Baker’s challenge took us for a ride! Luisa from Rise of the Sourdough Preacher challenged us to make Paris-Brest, a beautiful pastry celebrating the Paris-Brest bicycle race.
This has been in my baking to do list for a very long time so I was glad this challenge came up in the Daring Bakers. It's supposed to represent a bicycle wheel to commemorate the Paris to Brest bicycle race. Well my pastry certainly isn't very round. It's more like oval. But I did have problems in the baking of the choux pastry. After watching it rise wonderfully in the oven it deflated when I took it out. Maybe the oven temperature was too low, maybe the baking time was too short, or I took it out too soon. But it doesn't matter, instead of slicing each of it horizontally for the filling, I just put it on top of the other and I think it's as good as any. :)
*For the Choux Pastry:
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup + 2 tsp [100ml] whole milk
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1/3 cup [85 g] butter
100 g [3/4 cup] plain flour
3 medium eggs - slightly beaten
extra egg for brushing on top
- Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
- In a saucepan, combine milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil on medium heat while stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Add the flour in one go and stir vigorously. Bring the heat to low and stir continously until the mixture come together into a firm, smooth dough. It must be dry and should come away from the bottom of the saucepan easily.
- Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Using an electric mixer, add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. The dough will be smooth like a very thick cream.
- Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Draw 4 1/2-inch circles on the underside of the baking paper to help in piping the circles.
- Use a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch (10 mm) nozzle to pipe the pastry. Pipe the pastry dough into two concentric circles tracing the guide you drew previously. Pipe a third circle on top.
- Brush all over with the extra beaten egg and sprinkle the slivered almonds.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool inside the oven with the door slightly ajar.
*For the Praline:
60 g [1/3 cup] whole almonds
60 g [1/3 cup] whole hazelnuts
80 g caster sugar
1 Tbsp water
- Gently caramelise the caster sugar in a non-stick pan over medium heat.
- Add water and bring to boil.
- Add the nuts and stir to coat the nuts with the syrup. At this point the sugar will crystallize again. Continue stirring until the sugar caramelize again.
- Immediately transfer the nuts onto a baking sheet grease with oil. Cool completely.
- Break up into smaller pieces and grind in a food processor until you have a thick paste.
*For the Creme Mouselline:
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup caster sugar
3 Tbsp plain flour
85 g [1/3 cup] unsalted butter - softened
80 g praline
- In a heatproof bowl whisk the egg yolks and flour until combined.
- Bring the milk to boil in a saucepan on medium heat.
- Pour half of the hot milk in the egg yolk-flour mixture while whisking vigorously. Once mixture is well combined, pour it back to the saucepan with the rest of the milk and cook on medium heat while stirring continously.
- When mixture is thick and smooth, remove from heat and transfer to another heatproof bowl and cover the cream with cling film touching the cream. This is to prevent a crust to form on top. Let cool completely.
- In a bowl, combine the softened butter with the praline until smooth.
- Add the cooled pastry cream and mix until well combined.
- Slice the baked pastry horizontally.
- Spread or pipe the creme mouselline on the lower half and then carefully put the top half on.
- [Optional] Dust with some icing sugar on top.