A classic French dessert made of choux pastry and praline-flavoured crème diplomat, the Paris-Brest was created in 1910 to commemorate the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race. The round wheel-like shape of the pastry is emphasised by the spoke-like placement of the hazelnut cream. Alexandre Choux from Chouquette in Brisbane shows us how to make this decadent dessert.
About Alexandre Choux:
Alex began his pastry apprenticeship in 2014, when he chose to stop studying economics and management to become a pastry chef. It was his goal to become a good professional in the industry before leaving France and to reach Australia before he turned 30, which he has succeeded in doing. He is passionate about the creativity and beauty of baking and the ability it provides him to leave customers with a smile or a feeling of happiness. He loves working with the team at Chouquette and goes to work everyday knowing that there will be an excellent atmosphere there.
Paris-Brest with Alexandre Choux
WHAT YOU NEED
For the pâte à choux
250 ml water
410g eggs, whole
For the custard (for the crème diplomat)
100g sugar, separated into two 50g lots
75g egg yolk
25g whole egg
For the praline creme diplomat
205g custard (see below)
WHAT TO DO
To make the pâte à choux
Weigh up all ingredients to make pâte à choux (weigh milk, water, butter, and salt into a large pot, flour into a bowl, and eggs into a pouring jug).
Heat milk mixture until boiling, then remove from heat and add flour. Stir with heat proof spatula until combined. The mix should resemble mashed potato.
Add back to heat to cook out flour, stirring continuously to avoid burning on the bottom. After a few minutes, the choux can be taken off heat and put into a planetary mixer bowl. With the paddle attachment, on the first speed, begin mixing choux to cool slightly.
Add eggs in three batches, be careful with the final batch to avoid the choux becoming too runny.
When the desired consistency is achieved, mix on first speed for 5 minutes, until choux becomes glossy and smooth.
Remove from mixer, and, with prepared piping bag and nozzle, begin piping. Once the Paris-Brest has been piped, decorate with sliced almonds and chopped hazelnuts.
Bake in oven at 170°C for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t open oven too early, the choux will collapse!
To make the custard for the crème diplomat
Place the milk and half of the sugar in a pot and bring to the boil.
Whisk together the rest of the sugar and cornflour to remove lumps. Whisk in egg yolk, egg, vanilla, and milk and sugar mixture. Allow to come to room temperature.
Return ingredients to the pot and bring to the boil.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the butter. Cool.
To make the praline crème diplomat
Pre-combine praline with custard using a whisk.
Whip cream to soft peaks in a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Do not over whip!
Melt gelatine in microwave before adding to custard. Whisk thoroughly, then add whipped cream. Fold cream into the custard with whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Once the Paris Brest are baked and cooled, slice in half horizontally. Place onto a display board for easier transporting. Decorate the top half with Icing sugar.
In the bottom half, pipe a thin ring of praline around the middle of the Paris-Brest. Then pipe the prepared praline diplomat creme around twice, creating two layers of diplomat creme inside the Paris-Brest.
Carefully place the top half back onto the Paris-Brest, and add any decorative finishing touches, such as hazelnuts or caramelised almonds.