Paris-Brest = a giant donut inside a donut
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oops, I slept through my 6:45am alarm today and missed some of my art class this morning. I better make sure I don’t repeat this during my stage. I stayed up way too late sketching petits gâteaux and petits fours for our homework. I felt exhausted for the rest of the day.

And Paris is experiencing some belated hot summer weather these days. It’s been close to 30°C (with humidity) all week and it’s going to continue into the next. This means that the subway ride to and back is almost unbearable during rush hour and it smells like sewage walking through the tunnels. A colleague once told me after his trip to Paris that the Toronto subway was very clean in comparison. It’s so true.

But back to baking. We made Paris-Brest today. A pastry created in 1891 in celebration of the Tour de France.  The name, Paris-Brest, signifies the route of the race (Paris to Brest and back to Paris) which totals 1200km! Remember this when you see the mound of buttercream that goes inside this pastry.

Piping our pâte à choux dough into large circles. We use a tart ring as a guide, piping 0.5 cm from the inside edge. For the Paris-Brest, we had to pipe 3 rings to give it enough volume.

Cooled and ready for piping.

Cut at 1/3 of its height from the top.

Fill the base with a delicious praline cream. The praline cream is made from praline paste, crème pâtissière, and butter whipped together. The praline paste is made from cooking ground almonds, hazelnuts, sugar and a bit of water until it caramelizes. Then it's cooled and ground into a paste which looks like peanut butter but incomparable!

For the smaller ring, we poked holes and piped a lemon cream inside.

Now the smaller donut goes inside the larger donut, on top of the praline cream. Since the smaller donut was a bit too small, I had to do a little surgery as you can see. Nobody will know under the mound of buttercream that's going on next!

Praline cream to cover the smaller ring. We used a large star tip. This cream was so good I kept eating it with some of my mini profiteroles. by the end of class, I must have consumed at least 1/2 a cup of praline cream.

The top of the donut is reassembled and the Paris-Brest is complete.

Side view of delicious praline cream.

Cross section of the Paris-Brest. Remember, it's a 1200km race, you're going to need that buttercream.

We had extra pâte à choux which we used to make chouquettes, mini profiteroles sprinkled with pearl sugar. Aren't they adorable?

I ate more than 10 of these during class, it was especially good with the praline cream.


Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!