Classic Paris Brest

Imagine strolling through the enchanting streets of Paris, where every corner unveils a new culinary delight. Amid the bustling patisseries and charming cafes, you come across a pastry that stands as a true testament to French craftsmanship and ingenuity – the Paris Brest. This delectable dessert, shaped like a bicycle wheel and adorned with a sumptuous filling, is more than a pastry; it’s an embodiment of French culinary artistry.

The Paris Brest, pronounced “pah-ree brest,” carries a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. It was created in honor of the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race, a legendary long-distance cycling event that spans over 1,200 kilometers. The pastry’s distinctive ring shape, symbolizing a bicycle wheel, pays homage to this epic race. At its heart, the Paris Brest is a celebration of contrasts and harmonious flavors. The golden and crispy choux pastry, adorned with sliced almonds, encases a luscious and velvety praline-flavored cream, often referred to as “crème mousseline.” The textures interplay with perfection, from the satisfying crunch of the pastry to the creamy and nutty richness of the filling, creating a symphony for the senses.

This classic French pastry embodies the spirit of indulgence and elegance that the world associates with French desserts. Its creation involves meticulous techniques and a passion for crafting exquisite sweets, resulting in a dessert that captures the heart of Paris and its rich culinary heritage. As we delve into the enchanting world of the Paris Brest, we will unravel the secrets behind its creation, explore the variations and adaptations that have emerged over the years, and learn about the cultural significance of this timeless dessert. Whether you’re a pastry aficionado or simply intrigued by the art of French baking, this journey through the Paris Brest will take you on a delightful tour of Parisian gastronomy, one bite at a time.

So, join us as we embark on an exploration of the Paris Brest, a delectable pastry that exemplifies the essence of French culinary sophistication and continues to delight dessert lovers around the world.


*Praline Paste*
– 3 tbsp (45 ml) water
– 1/3 cup (70 g) caster sugar
– 1/4 cup (60 ml) corn syrup
– 1/2 cup (90 g) toasted hazelnuts
– 1/2 cup (90 g) flaked almonds
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/3 tsp bicarb soda

*Pastry Cream*
– 1/2 cup (75 g) all-purpose flour
– 1/4 cup (50 g) caster sugar
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 5 egg yolks
– 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk, hot
– 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
– 1 cup (250 g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

*Choux Pastry*
– 1 cup (250 ml) water
– 1/3 cup (70 g) unsalted butter
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 cup (150 g) all-purpose flour
– 4 large eggs
– 1 cup (250 g) unsalted butter, softened for buttercream portion

– 1 egg
– 1 tbsp water
– 1/2 cup flaked almonds


**Praline Paste**
1. In a large saucepan, combine water, sugar, glucose syrup, toasted hazelnuts, almonds, and salt. Mix on medium-high heat until the mixture turns deep golden in about 3 minutes. Add bicarb soda and stir until well combined. Transfer to an oiled baking tray and spread out. Let it set completely, then break into smaller pieces and place in a food processor. Process until it becomes a smooth paste.

**Pastry Cream**
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, and salt until a paste forms. Add egg yolks and mix until combined. Gradually add hot milk, whisking each time. Once a loose mixture forms, add the remaining milk and whisk until combined. Transfer to a pot, stir over medium heat until it thickens (about 4-5 minutes). Add vanilla bean paste and half the cold butter and stir to combine, then add the remaining butter and stir.

2. Transfer to a large bowl with a sieve on top, run through with a spatula or spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 3 hours. When ready to use, stir until smooth, and add to a piping bag with an open star tip.

**Choux Pastry**
1. Preheat your oven to 190°C / 325°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

2. In a saucepan, combine water, butter, salt, and sugar. Stir until it bubbles and butter melts. Remove from heat and add flour, stirring immediately. Once the mixture forms a dough, place it back on medium-high heat and stir for about 4 minutes until the dough begins sticking to the bottom. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes.

3. You can mix this dough by hand or with a stand mixer. What you want is a shiny, glossy, and smooth dough mixture that doesn’t break when stretched between fingers.

4. Place the dough mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. Trace a 6” circle on the parchment paper and pipe a ring of dough around it. Pipe another one on top, brush with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water or milk), and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 35-40 minutes, then allow it to cool completely in the oven to prevent collapsing.

5. Once cooled, cut in half, pipe pastry cream inside one half, smoothen it out, pipe swirls of pastry cream, place the second half on top, and finish with powdered sugar dusting. Enjoy your Classic Paris Brest!

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