Thursday 12 May 2016

Paris Brest

I was looking around for choux recipes to try out, and I came across the story of Paris-Brest. This is a patisserie created in 1910 to celebrate the Paris-Brest-Paris cycling race, which I know of as a slightly insane audax cycling event. It's a baking challenge with it's history steeped in cycling, I clearly had to make it!

I have now received my new piping nozzles...nice big ones, which make doing choux a lot easier. I found a recipe for Paris-Brest (I'd only ever seen mini ones before, not full size ones), and then tweaked it. It's an almond-flavoured thing, and I love marzipan, so I added a layer of it to the middle, and I did the buttercream as a meringue base...partly as it's lovely, and partly as I have a lot of egg whites!

I had a few issues...I initially did the bake at 190'C for 30 minutes, and the entire thing collapsed (under-baked massively). I quickly did a second one, and baked this for 40 minutes at 190'C, then another 10 minutes at  160'C (to make sure it dried out fully). This worked better, though the layers were not quite high enough to easily cut through. I think I may have more success with less layers of choux (I went 3/2/1...perhaps just 3/2 would be better, or even 2/1). I also had the ring split, as it expanded, leaving me a rather broken wheel.

Paris-Brest Recipe

Marzipan Ingredients

  • 200g Ground Almonds
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • ½tsp almond essence
  • 35g egg white
1) place the icing sugar and almonds in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, and mix on low speed

2) Add in the egg white and essence, and continue to mix until a paste is formed, and it smooth

3) Chop off ~80-100g of it, wrap the rest in cling-film and place in the fridge

4) Pre-heat oven to 190'C

5) Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment.You may want to use the base of a 22cm cake tin as a template

Choux Ingredients

  • 130g water
  • 130g milk
  • 130g butter
  • 12g caster sugar
  • 6g salt
  • 160g strong flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (to brush)
  • 100g flaked almonds

1) Place the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a medium sized pan over a low heat

2) Heat and stir until the butter is melted, and the mixture is just beginning to boil

3) Remove from the heat and quickly add the flour, stirring vigorously

4) Return to the heat, and stir for 4-5 minutes to cook the paste

5) Place the mixture in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix for a couple of minutes to cool slightly (you;ll get a lot of steam coming off)

6) Add the eggs, and mix hard until a glossy, smooth dough is formed

7) Allow to cool, then transfer to a piping bag with a large, open star nozzle (I used a 5/8" nozzle)

8) Onto the baking parchment, pipe 3 concentric circles of choux, with the largest being ~22cm

9) Pipe 2 layers on top of that

10) Pipe a third layer on top of that (optional, I think)

11) Brush the choux with the egg yolk

12) Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the ring

13) Bake in the oven for 40 minutes

14) Reduce the temperature to 160'C, and bake for a further 10 minutes

15) Turn off the heat, crack open the door, and leave for a further 15 minutes (to allow the choux to dry)

16) Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely

Crème au Beurre Ingredients

  • 100g egg white
  • 150g icing sugar
  • ½tsp cream of tartar
  • 330g softened butter
  • 80g marzipan

1) Place the butter and marzipan in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix until very light and creamy

2) Place the egg white, sugar and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl over a bain-marie, and whisk until stiff peaks have formed

3) Allow the meringue to cool to room temperature

4) Spoon the  meringue into the butter, while continuing to mix. You may need to scrape the sides down.


 1) Cut the choux ring in half

2) Roll out the marzipan into a thin sheet the same size as the ring (I did it on sugared, greaseproof paper)

3) Place the marizpan over the lower ring, and trim to size

4) Pipe the buttercream over the lower section in swirls

5) Place the lid back on the pastry

6) Sprinkle the top with icing sugar