Paris Brest 026

Using the same pastry (Choux) you use to make pofiteroles or eclairs a Paris Brest makes for an impressive dessert.  This is one large one which, filled with seasonal berries, has a very festive feel but small individual ones are also very cute.

Choux Pastry
215mls water
85g butter, chopped
1 cup flour
3 eggs

Combine the water and butter in a medium pot and bring to the boil. Add the flour and beat with a wooden spoon over a medium heat until the mixture comes away from the bottom of the pot.
Take off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before beating in the first two eggs one at a time. In a small jug whisk the final egg and slowly add enough of the final egg until the pastry becomes smooth and glossy but still holds its shape.
Spoon the pastry into a piping bag and pipe a 20cm ring. Pipe another ring inside the first, ensuring the two touch. Finally pipe a third ring on top of the first two (or where they join). Brush with a little egg and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Bake for 20 minutes at 200°C then turn the temperature down to 180°C and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown and crisp. Cool the pastry in the turned off oven, this will help ensure it dries out completely and leaves you with a crisp shell.
When completely cool, use a serrated knife and cut in half. Fill the White chocolate Crème Patisserie (mousse or whipped cream), top with lots of fresh berries and then place the other half of the pastry on top.
At this stage you can simply dust with icing sugar and serve or for an extra flourish drizzle over some caramel.

White Chocolate Crème Patisserie
1 cup milk*
100g White chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla paste
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornflour

Slowly heat the milk, chocolate and vanilla until the chocolate has melted.
Meanwhile beat the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together until thick and pale.
Slowly whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture. Put the mix back into a pot and slowly heat, stirring continuously until the custard thickens. Take off the heat and cover with cling film to avoid a skin forming as it cools.

*We used Lewis Roads full cream milk for a rich custard.  If you want you could use half milk and half cream.

Caramel
1 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water

Place the sugar and water in a small pot over a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Now allow to simmer without stirring until it turns a light golden colour.  The sugar will be hot, so be very careful.  This heat will also mean that the sugar continues to cook after being taken off the heat which is why it is best to remove from the heat when it starts to become golden.

Allow to cool for a minute then using a fork or wooden spoon drizzle from a height over the Paris Brest.

Paris Brest 035

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