In France we can find a wide variety of traditional desserts and sweets. In fact, Gallic gastronomy stands out precisely for its pastry richness. Here, under the name choux (or just mass choux) we have a mass whose preparation is used in making a wide variety of desserts, such as the mass of lionesas or profiteroles. An example is the exquisite Paris Brest about which we want to talk to you on this occasion.
This is a wonderful filled choux pastry wreath. Its texture, precisely when using a type of dough similar to that used in the preparation of traditional Lyonnais, it is quite likely that it reminds you of them when you eat it. And what is or what does this mass consist of? It consists of pastry dough of French origin, which is used in the preparation of some cakes, and which stands out – and is characterized – for being as versatile as it is light.
It is common to consume this paste in sweets or cold desserts, and in most cases it is consumed filled with some type of cream, as is the case with the popular Paris Brest, one of those traditional desserts that few can really resist.
Although it is customary to fill it with a certain variety of fillings, in France the traditional dessert is filled with praline cream, made with almonds and with pastry cream. That is, it is a dessert in which we will not only have to make the choux pastry, but also the pastry cream and praline. You dare?
Ingredients for the choux pastry
- 125 g flour
- 100g butter
- 1 glass of water (250 ml)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk
- Sliced almonds
- Powdered sugar
Ingredients for the pastry cream
- 1/2 l whole milk
- 120g sugar
- 50 g cornstarch (cornstarch)
- 2 egg yolks
Ingredients for the praline cream
- 120 g of almonds
- 80g sugar
- Some water
- 300 g butter (at room temperature)
- 600 g of pastry cream
How to make choux pastry:
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Chop the butter and put it in a saucepan along with the water and salt. Heat over the fire and, when it starts to boil, stir well, remove from the heat and add the flour little by little. Return to the heat and, vigorously, mix well with the help of a spatula, until you get dough that easily comes off the sides of the pan.
- Finally remove from the heat and let the dough warm up a bit. Just when you reach this point add the eggs, one by one.
- To avoid making the dough too soft, add the third and fourth eggs after having beaten them in a separate saucepan.
- Place parchment paper on the cookie sheet and form a circle on it with the dough. Then make another circle around it, but without leaving space between the two. Finally, make a third superimposed on the previous two (just above the other two). Paint the crown with a mixture of egg and milk.
- Add sliced almonds on top.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn off the oven, open the oven door and let the crown cool inside.
How to make the pastry cream:
- In a large bowl put the 2 egg yolks, a ladle of milk and all the cornstarch (or cornstarch). With the help of electric rods, mix these ingredients well.
- In a saucepan over the fire, bring the rest of the milk and sugar to a boil. Just when it starts to boil, pour the milk over the yolk mixture, stirring constantly with the help of the rods.
- Then pass all this content to the previous saucepan, and continue cooking without stopping, not stopping to stir. Continue like this until it comes to a boil again, and the preparation thickens. It should be a consistent cream, similar to the texture of custard.
- Once it reaches this texture, put the cream in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it cool completely in the fridge.
How to make praline cream:
- Now is the time to prepare our wonderful praline cream. To do this, put the sugar and a little water on the fire in a pan. When they begin to form bubbles add the sliced almonds, and continue cooking over the fire until a wonderful caramel forms.
- When the sliced almonds have caramelized, place them on greaseproof paper, and set aside until cool. Once cool and hard, put them in a food processor or blender, and blend well until they form a greasy paste. Reserve them.
- With a very clean mixer add the butter at room temperature, and beat until creamy. Add the praline and beat a little again until the ingredients are combined. Transfer this cream to a clean container.
- Take the pastry cream out of the fridge and lighten it a little with the help of the rods, stirring for a few seconds, until it acquires a creamy consistency again. Now mix the butter cream and praline with the pastry cream, until the texture is as homogeneous as possible.
How to assemble our Paris Brest:
- Now it’s time to assemble and finish our delicious Paris Brest. To do this, introduce the cream into a pastry bag with a decorative nozzle.
- Open the choux pastry in half and, with the help of a little cream and a spoon, fill and smooth the surface a little. To finish, fill the dough with the cream.
- Finally, to finish, sprinkle with a little icing sugar on top.
Delicious, don’t you think? And, it is true, perhaps somewhat complicated. But the result, if it turns out well, will probably surprise you.