Hazelnut Paris-Brest

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You heard right, I said Paris-Brest.

I don’t think I’ve had the chance to eat one of these things since my last visit to Paris. I of course didn’t have an entire one to myself but rather a slice.

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Mastering choux pastry is not hard. It’s all about ratios and getting the perfectly crisp and domed outside that yields to a moist and almost custard like inside. This dessert is basically a giant cream puff.

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In case you were wondering, there is a story behind the name. The Paris-Brest was a desert created in 1910 to commemorate the Paris-Brest-Paris cycle race that began in 1891. The shape of the desert is supposed to resemble a bike wheel.

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Hazelnut Paris-Brest

Praline

  • 1 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
  • 1/2 cup sugar

In a small pan, add the sugar over medium high and cook until sugar has melted keep on cooking until the sugar turns an amber color. Quickly stir in the nuts to coat and spread onto a parchment lined pan to cool.

Transfer 3/4 of the praline to a food processor and blitz until completely broken down a paste is almost formed. Reserve.

Pastry Cream

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp Frangelico
  • 3/4 chilled heavy cream

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Once he kill is almost boiling, stir in the hot milk very slowly I into the egg mixture. Once combined, return the mixture to the saucepan and continue to cook stirring over medium heat until the custard has thickened. Once cooked through, add the butter, vanilla and the Frangelico and stir through. Pour into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap ensure the plastic touches the surface of the custard to prevent a skin.

Chill until ready to use.

Choux Pastry

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 Tbsp chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 Tbsp icing sugar, for dusting

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Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a piece of parchment paper, trace 2 7-inch circles. Flip the parchment over and use it to line a baking tray.

In a pot, add the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Once at a rolling boil, reduce heat to medium. Add the flour all at once and stir using a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides, 1 minute. Continue to cook until a him film develops on the bottom of he pan, another 3-4 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and place it into the bowl of a stand up mixer. Mix the dough on low for 5-8 minutes until cool enough to add the eggs. Add the eggs one at a time mixing through after each addition.

Transfer the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (5/8 inch) and pipe 2 concentric circles to fill the space inside one circle. Top with 1 more circle to over the seam. Pipe the second circle this time only using one circle. Moisten the dough with some water using a spray bottle and bake for 45-50 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F if the tops are getting too brown.

NOTE: You will have plenty of extra dough to form some profiteroles, just pipe the dough into 1 1/2 Tbsp mounds 2 inches apart.

Cool completely on a wire rack hen cut the larger ring in half horizontally.

Assembly

Beat 3/4 cup heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, beat the pastry cream until smooth and add half the blitzed hazelnut paste. Fold in the heavy cream 1/3 at a time. Place the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.

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In beat the remaining whipped cream.

Place the larger ring on a cake plate. Remove the top and pipe the hazelnut cream into the center of the choux pastry. Place the smaller ring over top and pipe another ring of hazelnut cream followed by a ring of whipped cream. Return the top of the large ring and drizzle with melted chocolate and dust with some icing sugar.

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Serve with chunks of reserved hazelnut praline.

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