Paris-Brest, 2009

Credit: Valéry Guedes

I didn’t invent the Paris-Brest, so I strictly maintained the core identity of this dessert: choux pastry, buttercream, and praline. However, I revisited the framework and broadened it by adding an airy texture to the cream and praline to really intensify the toasted, nutty flavor that is encased in the little puffs. It’s really the structure of its flavor that determines the style of this Paris-Brest.



Step 1: Frozen Praline and Crumble

Make a pure praline with raw almonds and hazelnuts. Pour the praline into quarter-inch- diameter semi-sphere molds. Freeze. Make the crumble dough.

Step 2: Choux Dough

Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Combine the milk, water, and cubed butter in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil, then add the sifted flour, salt, and sugar. Mix over medium heat for 1 minute to dry out the dough. Transfer to a stand mixer and beat with a flat beater. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. The result should be a soft and shiny dough.

To check if the choux dough is at the right consistency, push your finger a few centimeters into the dough (almost half of your index finger). When your finger is removed, hole should close very slowly. If it doesn’t close or only a little, the dough isn’t moist enough and you will have to gradually add beaten egg (yolk and white).

Use a pastry bag to pipe eight 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) diameter balls on parchment paper, starting at the four cardinal points and piping the last four balls in the spaces in between. Use a cookie cutter to cut out eight 1 1/4-inch-diameter disks in the crumble dough. Place them on top of the eight choux pastry balls.

Bake for 45 minutes. When cooked, let cool completely at room temperature. If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a soup spoon to make the balls.

Step 3: Praline Cream

Soak the gelatin in a bowl of cold water. Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan.

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl, then add the cornstarch. Add half of the hot milk. Mix, then add the mixture to the pan. Bring to a boil for 1 minute while whisking constantly.

When the cream has thickened, remove from heat. Add the drained gelatin, praline, and cubed cold butter. Mix, then blend with an immersion blender.

Transfer the mixture to a dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Pour the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium speed for 3 minutes.

The praline cream should be beaten on high speed for a long time to aerate it as much as possible. The bubbles trapped in the cream will give it a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Step 4: Finishing

Once the choux pastry crown is at room temperature, slice it through the middle and separate the top half from the bottom. Use a pastry bag to pipe a little praline cream on the base, filling each of the eight cavities. Place a frozen praline semi-sphere on top, then pipe a large ball of praline cream over it.

Replace the top of the crown and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve.

This recipe was originally published in "My Best Conticini" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits

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