As French classic, I had to try it. But I wanted to try the luxurious version: Philippe Conticini’s version! Have you ever been to his bakery la patisserie des rêves in Paris? I didn’t but I definitely have to go next time I’ll be in Paris!
The original Paris-Brest is a circular shape choux (puff) pastry representing a bicycle wheel filled with praline cream. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, the Conticini’s version is even more tasty and powerful. First of all, it’s not made of one choux but of a series of eight choux arranged as a crown. Then there is a topping called ”craquelin“: a simple dough that’s easily put together and is a nifty trick to gussy up ordinary choux. And finally there is a surprise inside: a praline paste heart, Yeah!
Have a look at this website. For each pastry, there is a video in which Philippe Conticini tells us with precision and passion about it. When I see that, I just want to buy a ticket to Paris!
For the craquelin:
40g soft butter
50g brown sugar
1 pinch fleur de sel.
For the choux (puff):
125g eggs (lightly whisked)
For the praline cream (mousseline):
250ml full cream milk
2 egg yolks
10g corn starch (maïzena)
75g praline paste.
For the praline heart:
praline paste (You can find the recipe of my homemade praline paste here).
For the praline paste heart:
Put praline paste in silicon half sphere mold (30mm diameter) (see picture nº7) and freeze.
For the craquelin:
1. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar and salt with a spatula or wooden spoon, then add the flour and continue to mix the dough until it’s smooth. (You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.)
2. Put the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll the dough until it’s about 3mm high. Slide the dough on a baking sheet and freeze the dough.
3. Make your cream puffs, and after they are piped onto a baking sheet, remove the dough from the freezer and let it stand a minute or so, until it’s defrosted just enough to cut. Using a round cookie cutter about the same diameter of the puffs, cut out circles of the dough.
For the choux:
1. In a sauce pan, combine water, butter, salt and sugar and bring to the boil. Make sure the butter is completely melted, remove from heat and add the flour at once. Stir first with the whisk and then with a spatula to get the consistency of a dough.
2.Put your pan back over low heat and stir until the dough begins to stick to the pan (this step is important to dry a little bit the dough).
Remove from the heat and add the eggs little by little. Between each addition you have to stir until your dough gets its consistency back.
3.Put the dough into a piping bag and pipe the choux on a parchment lined baking sheet. To be regular you can pipe 4 choux as a square and then pipe four other choux to complete the circle (you can do better than me ) (See picture nº1 and 2).
4.Set the craquelins on top of each choux (See picture nº4 and 5).
Bake them at 180º for about 35 minutes (See picture nº6) until the tops are nicely browned.
For the praline cream:
The Praline cream is a pastry cream in which we add praline paste and soft butter.
1. Put the milk and vanilla pod in a sauce pan over high heat and bring it to the boil.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and add the flour.
3. Remove the milk from the heat and pour it through a strainer over the eggs mixture, whisking vigorously all the time.
4. Return the mixture to a clean pan over medium heat and whisk continuously. Make sure to scrape the sides and the bottom, otherwise it will burn.
5. The cream will start to thicken. Once it does, remove from heat.
6Pour into a shallow bowl. Cover with cling film (pat the cling film so it sticks directly on the cream) and let it cool at room temperature.
7.Once it’s cool, put it in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the soft butter (it must be at room temperature as well) and praline paste.
8.Pour the cream in a pipping bag and set aside.
1. Cut the puff crown horizontally in the middle
7. Fill with some praline cream
8. Put the praline heart on top
9. Then, cover the praline heart with some more praline paste
10. And place the top of the crown back on top
11. Sprinkle with icing sugar and Enjoy!