Paris Brest. The name is interesting, right? When I told a friend that I made Paris Brest and it’s very delicious, she just laughed and laughed. I bet she thought I spelt it wrongly……*sigh*. No, it was the right spelling…..double checked it.
I checked it out from wikipedia to know more about Paris Brest. This is what I got. It says, “Paris–Brest–Paris (PBP) was originally a 1200km bicycle race from Paris to Brest and back to Paris. It is the oldest bicycling event still regularly run. The last time it was run as a race was 1951.” In another part of wikipedia, it says, “The pastry was created in 1891 to commemorate the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race. Its circular shape is representative of a wheel. It became popular with riders on the Paris-Brest cycle race, partly because of its energy-giving high calorific value, and is now found in pâtisseries all over France and at Dessert Trends Bistro in Toronto. Alan Richman of GQ Magazine named the Paris-Brest pastry at Balsan, Chicago the best dessert in the U.S. for 2010.”
I made this beautiful dessert because of its lovely look. My family and friends like it very much. It is actually a big puff in the shape of a ring, made of choux pastry, and it looks very impressive decorated with fruits. I have made it several times for my home parties. You can use any filling you like.
I made it for the first time when my young guest, Joyce, came from Malaysia for a visit a couple of months back. She liked it very much. I am now having another friend from a far distant land who came last week to visit (will blog about it another time). And I made her this dessert too. She said, “This is VERY nice!”, as she ate a BIG piece! In fact, I got up early this morning to make it again for breakfast. I used spelt flour for a healthier version. It came out just as good. We had it with butter and jam.
I remember the first time when I made it, my girl said, “Wow, this is very nice bread!” Bread? I corrected her and said it’s not bread. She replied, “Never mind. It’s bread to me and it’s really delicious.” Yes, I suppose she is right. Names are really not that important. You can even call it pancake if you want to…..*wink*. Most important my family and friends like my food.
Here is the Paris Brest recipe:
Put everything into a pot. Bring to to a boil under low to medium fire.
When the above mixture comes to a boil, turn off heat and add in all the flour. Beat until smooth. I use a big spoon to do it. I tried to use an egg whisk at first but it got too heavy to do it.
Beat in the eggs one by one. The flour mixture is very hot. You may want to cool it down for a little while before beating in the eggs. But the weather here is cold so it cools down quite fast. I poured the mixture into the cake mixer. As it is beating, I add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. You can also beat it with a wooden spoon if you like. Just that it’s more work. Go ahead if you need bigger muscles….*grin*.
This amount will make 2 big rings. Cut 2 pieces of baking paper the size of your tin. Draw a ring onto each piece of the baking paper, about 8″ in diameter. Place the paper onto the tin, drawing facing down. You don’t want the batter to touch the ink.
Using 2 big spoons, scoop the batter onto the tray along the ring to get the ring shape. You can scoop by the spoonfuls in big lumps or you can spread it out in a circle whichever you like. I tried both.
Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Use a sharp knife and pierce the side of the puff to release the steam. When it has cooled down, gently use a pair of sharp kitchen scissors to cut through the outside ring. Lift it up gently to spread the filling.
You can also cut out the whole top part and lift it up to make it easier to spread the filling, then put it back. This may be more difficult for some because if you are not careful, you may beak the ring. Never mind, just have some tissue paper ready if you need to cry or scream if that happens……hehe.
You can use any creamy filling. I love to spread with custard and add peaches on it. You can also whip some double cream, icing sugar and cream cheese together to use as filling. Add fruits of your choice. Then put back the top portion. Sprinkle with some icing sugar and fill the centre with some fresh fruits.
Just try one time and you will find the second time very easy. It is a great item for party or just for your own family. Any leftover can be kept in the fridge for the next day. It’s a nice item for breakfast. I usually warm it up in the oven for maybe 5 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.
If you don’t have any cream or custard left, you can drizzle some condensed milk in between. You can spread with butter and jam and sprinkle with sugar like what my daughter does. I tried it with Nutella and it was really good. Or you can spread it with butter and jam or even peanut butter. The filling is endless. Maybe you can even make it savoury with egg and bacon. Whatever way you fill it, it is fun and delicious.
Hope you are having much fun cooking and baking!
Quote of the day……
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”
- George Santayana
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