This Friday the Doristas were assigned to bake Paris-Brest, a big wheel of puff pastry filled with vanilla pastry cream and caramelized blanched almonds... With my terrible piping skills and inability to follow specific instructions, I ended up with a rustic looking dessert which barely resembled a wheel.. It was however delicious.
Paris-Brest... what an unusual name for a dessert.. no ? Apparently this pastry was created in 1891 in honor of the Paris-Brest-Paris cycle race that began that year. It consisted of a big circle of pâte à choux filled with crème pâtissere that was meant to resemble a bicycle wheel. Because of its every-giving high calorific value, this pastry soon became popular among the riders and is now found in pastry shops all over France.
Since I was baking just for the two of us, I halved the recipe. I have baked/whipped half recipe of both pâte à choux and crème pâtissere before and wasn't very worried about it. My only concern was that I did not have a piping tip that was big enough. I thought piping out a few extra rings would help and so, did that only to end up with a pastry that looked more like a crown or something such rather than a wheel. Also, in all the hubbub I forgot to sprinkle the almonds on the dough before baking. Later I tried to make up for it with a garnish of caramelized almonds. I am nottly affected by this adjustment... whatever it be the dessert was divine, specially the crème pâtissere with the hint of praline and my husband simply couldn't let it be until nothing but the crumbs were left ....
Visit French Fridays with Dorie to know what the other members thought about the dessert.