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Paris Brest

I’ve always wanted to make a Paris Brest. Aren’t they so cute looking? It’s basically an éclair in the shape of a giant donut, made of light and crispy choux pastry, filled with hazelnut pastry cream and dusted with powdered sugar. It’s a French delight!

Inside the centre of a slice up Paris Brest

Nicks favourite thing about this Paris Brest

What I really love about this classic French dessert is just how easy it is to make! I mean, this particular recipe has a fair few steps when it comes to the pastry cream. It’s made using three recipes.

  1. Hazelnut almond praline which is turned into a paste. Like magic!
  2. A French pastry cream – which is perfectly smooth because it’s finished off in a food processor
  3. Buttercream which helps make it even richer and perfectly pipeable.

Alternatively you can just use a whipped cream filling. I would recommend adding mascarpone to make sure it’s stable enough to pipe.

If you’re doing that, you could still dust it with powdered sugar or drizzle it with my one-bowl glossy chocolate sauce recipe! Or you could use salted caramel sauce!

What does a Paris Brest taste like?

This is a pure delight! That pastry cream, although there are a fair few steps involved is so rich but light at the same time! The choux pastry is light and crispy. The key to getting a choux pastry ring that doesn’t deflate or go soft and soggy is to let it cool in the oven. That helps dry it out a little. Soggy, undercooked choux pastry is soft and heavy.

Close up of Paris Brest

The ingredients you’ll need to make the Paris Brest

Ingredients list for Paris Brest

Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar.

Corn syrup – glucose syrup will also work.

Hazelnuts – I bought my hazelnuts with no skins on. But to de-skin your own, place them on a baking tray and baking them on 160C / 325F for 20 minutes. Once baked, take out of the oven, and pour into a clean tea towel. Bunch up the towel, encasing the hazelnuts inside and rub the heel of your hand on top. This will help the already loose and oily hazelnut skin to rub on the towel and against the other hazelnuts in the towel. Undo the towel and pick out the skinned hazelnuts. Continue this process until all the hazelnuts are skinned. Some hazelnut skins are stubborn and won’t come off. They’re ok to use as well.

Flaked almonds – you can use whole, blanched (skinless) almonds instead.

Salt – I used fine salt

Bicarb soda – this helps aerate the praline.

All-purpose flour – also known as plain flour.

Eggs – I used large eggs for every part of this recipe. And yes, I’m aware this recipe calls for 10 eggs. It’s a lot, but it’s a rich, ‘sometimes’ food.

Milk – I used whole milk. Plant based milk like oat or almond milk will also work.

Vanilla bean paste – you can use vanilla extract instead.

Butter – I used unsalted butter. I wouldn’t recommend using

How to make a Paris Brest

Praline Paste

Instructional image for Paris Brest 01

  1. To a large saucepan, add the water, sugar, glucose syrup, toasted hazelnuts, almonds and salt.
  2. Use a wooden spoon to mix on medium high speed until the mixture turns a deep golden colour, about 3 minutes. Add the bicarb soda and stir until well combined.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 02

  1. Transfer to a well-oiled baking tray and spread out. Allow to set completely.
  2. Break into smaller pieces and place in a food processor.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 03

  1. Process until the mixture turns to a smooth paste. You may need to stop the processor and scrape down the bowl to make sure it mixes properly. Set aside.

Pastry Cream

Instructional image for Paris Brest 04

  1. To a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt and mix using a mixing spoon.
  2. Add the egg yolks and mix until a paste forms.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 05

  1. Next, add the milk a little at a time, mixing each time. Once a loose mixture forms, add the remaining milk and whisk until combined.
  2. Transfer to a large pot and stir on medium heat

Instructional image for Paris Brest 06

  1. Until mixture thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Add the vanilla bean paste and half the cold butter and stir to combine.
  2. Then add the remaining butter and stir to combine.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 07

  1. Transfer to a large bowl with a sieve on top and pour the mixture into the sieve. Use a spatula or spoon to run through. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 3 hours.
  2. To finish the pastry, add the praline paste to the pastry cream

Instructional image for Paris Brest 08

  1. Mix until well combined.
  2. Add the 1 cup of softened butter to a mixing bowl and beat until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 09

  1. Add the pastry cream a little at a time while the mix is on high speed. Once all of the mixture is combined together, set aside. When ready to use, use a spatula to stir until smooth. Add to a large piping bag with a large open star tip.

Choux Pastry

Instructional image for Paris Brest 10

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C / 325F. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Set aside. To a large saucepan, add the water, butter, salt and sugar and stir until mixture bubbles and butter melts.
  2. Take off the heat and add the flour. Mix using a wooden spoon immediately.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 11

  1. Once the mixture forms a dough, place back on medium high heat and stir for about 4 minutes or until the dough begins sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Take off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. You can mix this dough by hand using a wooden spoon. I added mine to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. And began mixing on low speed for 30 seconds before adding the first egg. Allow the egg to mix in before adding the next egg. You may not need all 4 eggs. What you’re looking for is a shiny, glossy and smooth dough mixture that

Instructional image for Paris Brest 12

  1. When stretched between two fingers, does not break. See notes below for more information. Place the dough mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip.
  2. Place a round 6” cake tin or plate on top of the baking paper and use a pen to trace around it.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 13

  1. Dab the corners of the baking paper with choux pastry dough and turn over onto the baking tray. This will help it stick and stop it from flying around in the oven.
  2. Pipe a ring of dough around the traced circle.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 14

  1. And then pipe another one directly on top.
  2. Brush with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water or milk)

Instructional image for Paris Brest 15

  1. Then sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 35-40minutes.
  2. Once baked allow to cool completely in the oven. This will help prevent it from collapsing.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 16

  1. Use a serrated knife to carefully cut in half. It will be hollow inside.
  2. Pipe some pastry cream in the hollowed-out part of one half of the pastry rings. Then use a spoon or offset spatula to smoothen out flat.

Instructional image for Paris Brest 17

  1. Pipe swirls of pastry cream.
  2. Place the second half on top and finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Ready to make this Paris Brest? Here are my top tips!

Storage

This French dessert can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for up to three days.

Glucose Syrup

You can use corn syrup here if you like instead. Just a tip, spray the measuring cup with oil before pouring in the syrup so that it comes out easier.

Hazelnuts

I bought my hazelnuts with no skins on. But to de-skin your own, place them on a baking tray and baking them on 160C / 325F for 20 minutes. Once baked, take out of the oven, and pour into a clean tea towel. Bunch up the towel, encasing the hazelnuts inside and rub the heel of your hand on top. This will help the already loose and oily hazelnut skin to rub on the towel and against the other hazelnuts in the towel. Undo the towel and pick out the skinned hazelnuts. Continue this process until all the hazelnuts are skinned. Some hazelnut skins are stubborn and won’t come off. They’re ok to use as well.

Eggs in choux pastry

When making choux pastry, the important thing to look for is texture. When adding the eggs, add them one at a time and keep an eye on the texture. It will go shiny and smooth. What you want is a consistency that when stretched between two fingers stretches for about 5cm before it breaks. For this reason, you may need all 4 eggs, you may only need 3 eggs to achieve this consistency, just test the mixture after the 3rd egg is added.

Milk for pastry cream

You can use plant-based milk if you wish. The milk needs to be hot. Not boiling.

My Choux pastry collapsed!

Once the pastry ring is baked allow to cool completely in the oven. This will help prevent it from collapsing.

Front on shot of Paris Brest

Other French inspired Recipes You Might Like!

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Paris Brest

Classic Paris Brest (French Choux Pastry)

Serves 8

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 3 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French

Ingredients

Praline Paste

  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup see notes
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts see notes
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds see notes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp bicarb soda

Pastry Cream

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups whole milk hot (see notes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cold and cubed

Choux Pastry

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs see notes
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened for buttercream portion

Decorations

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


Instructions

Praline Paste

  • To a large saucepan, add the water, sugar, glucose syrup, toasted hazelnuts, almonds and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix on medium high speed until the mixture turns a deep golden colour, about 3 minutes. Add the bicarb soda and stir until well combined. Transfer to a well-oiled baking tray and spread out. Allow to set completely. Break into smaller pieces and place in a food processor. Process until the mixture turns to a smooth paste. You may need to stop the processor and scrape down the bowl to make sure it mixes properly. Set aside.

Pastry Cream

  • To a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt and mix using a mixing spoon. Add the egg yolks and mix until a paste forms. Add the milk a little at a time, mixing each time. Once a loose mixture forms, add the remaining milk and whisk until combined. Transfer to a large pot and stir on medium heat until mixture thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Add the vanilla bean paste and half the cold butter and stir to combine. Then add the remaining butter and stir to combine.
  • Transfer to a large bowl with a sieve on top and pour the mixture into the sieve. Use a spatula or spoon to run through. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 3 hours.
  • To finish the pastry, add the praline paste to the pastry cream and mix until well combined.
  • Add the 1 cup of softened butter to a mixing bowl and beat until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the pastry cream a little at a time while the mix is on high speed. Once all of the mixture is combined together, set aside. When ready to use, use a spatula to stir until smooth. Add to a large piping bag with a large open star tip.

Choux Pastry

  • Preheat your oven to 190C / 325F. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Set aside.
  • To a large saucepan, add the water, butter, salt and sugar and stir until mixture bubbles and butter melts. Take off the heat and add the flour. Mix using a wooden spoon immediately. Once the mixture forms a dough, place back on medium high heat and stir for about 4 minutes or until the dough begins sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Take off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • You can mix this dough by hand using a wooden spoon. I added mine to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. And began mixing on low speed for 30 seconds before adding the first egg. Allow the egg to mix in before adding the next egg. You may not need all 4 eggs. What you’re looking for is a shiny, glossy and smooth dough mixture that when stretched between two fingers, does not break. See notes below for more information.
  • Place the dough mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip.
  • Place a round 6” cake tin or plate on top of the baking paper and use a pen to trace around it. Dab the corners of the baking paper with choux pastry dough and turn over onto the baking tray. This will help it stick and stop it from flying around in the oven.
  • Pipe a ring of dough around the traced circle. And then pipe another one directly on top. Brush with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water or milk) and then sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 35-40minutes. Once baked allow to cool completely in the oven. This will help prevent it from collapsing.
  • Once baked and cooled, use a serrated knife to carefully cut in half. It will be hollow inside. Pipe some pastry cream in the hollowed-out part of one half of the pastry rings. Then use a spoon or offset spatula to smoothen out flat. Then pipe swirls of pastry cream. Place the second half on top and finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Notes

Storage
This French dessert can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for up to three days.
Glucose Syrup
You can use corn syrup here if you like instead. Just a tip, spray the measuring cup with oil before pouring in the syrup so that it comes out easier.
Hazelnuts
I bought my hazelnuts with no skins on. But to de-skin your own, place them on a baking tray and baking them on 160C / 325F for 20 minutes. Once baked, take out of the oven, and pour into a clean tea towel. Bunch up the towel, encasing the hazelnuts inside and rub the heel of your hand on top. This will help the already loose and oily hazelnut skin to rub on the towel and against the other hazelnuts in the towel. Undo the towel and pick out the skinned hazelnuts. Continue this process until all the hazelnuts are skinned. Some hazelnut skins are stubborn and won’t come off. They’re ok to use as well.
Eggs in choux pastry
When making choux pastry, the important thing to look for is texture. When adding the eggs, add them one at a time and keep an eye on the texture. It will go shiny and smooth. What you want is a consistency that when stretched between two fingers stretches for about 5cm before it breaks. For this reason, you may need all 4 eggs, you may only need 3 eggs to achieve this consistency, just test the mixture after the 3rd egg is added.
Milk for pastry cream
You can use plant-based milk if you wish. The milk needs to be hot. Not boiling.
My Choux pastry collapsed!
Once the pastry ring is baked allow to cool completely in the oven. This will help prevent it from collapsing.

Nutrition

Calories : 698kcal
Carbonhydrates: 22g
Protein: 9g
Fat: 61g
Saturated Fat: 37g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g
Monounsaturated Fat : 17g
Trans Fat : 2g
Cholesterol: 373mg
Sodium: 497mg
Potassium : 178mg
Fiber: 1g
Sugar : 15g
Vitamin A: 2064IU
Calcium: 120mg
Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclosure

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