Anyone like eclairs? Cream puffs?
It was a few days before Easter, I had been asked to bring Aunt Pat's Salad... I called Papa back and asked what was for dessert. “I haven't decided yet.” “I have time – what do you want? Pie, cake, cookies, cream puffs... “ I went on a bit further but in the background I heard him - “Mmmmm – cream puffs!?!” And the rest is history If I say so myself...

I'd made Paris-Brest before, actually, several times. In fact, I thought I'd posted a bit about it here... It's a circular eclair, a giant cream puff if you will. Though I've been sorting and purging and organizing a TON around here, I didn't find the cookbook that held the recipe I'd used in the past, so I googled a bit and found Chef Philippe’s recipe - loved, Loved, LOVED the idea of the nutty butter cream filling, BUT...

It's probably a conversion complication, but his directions for pate a choux (cream puff pastry) had almost twice the flour required and not nearly enough bake time. I followed it, and ended up with a very dense underdone ring of inedible dough. I ended up using Martha's recipe, piped per Philippe, and baked per Martha. Got all that? Or just use Martha's...

But Philippe was spot on with the filling!!! I've used pastry cream, whipped cream, ice cream, various puddings... Of course I made my own praline, using this video

Here's my result:

Looks like brown sugar, doesn't it? Pop a bit into your mouth and it melts into a decadently smooth, richly flavored butter. A tiny bit of grit will remain unless you've got a professional strength nut grinder, but oh my – this alone is worth the experiment!!!

Making the french silk butter cream (a first for me – and SO worth it) is very straight forward. I used about 8 heaping Tablespoons of MY yummy praline.

Have I bored you yet? No, I doubt it.

So the wreath of baked pate a choux – your round eclair – gets cooled and sliced horizontally. Not necessary, but if you're a perfectionist, use toothpicks to mark a matching point on both the top and bottom before you set the top aside.

Pipe in your filling. PRO TIP: scoop some dollops within the center of the wreath, and then pipe around the edges where it will show!

Place the top back on – align as needed... Now traditionally, as shown in both recipes, a Paris-Brest is topped with slivered almonds during the baking process. For Easter I wanted to somehow add some pastel shades as well as a “crown of thorns”, and cracked Jordan almonds seemed perfect! I just HAD to experiment and as I suspected, the candy covered nuts exploded in flame when heated in my toaster oven, lol. So how to make those delicious chunks stick to the round? Why, CHOCOLATE, of course!!!

My brother and his son, neither of which usually partakes in dessert... well individually they told me that this was definitely a keeper! That's high praise indeed.

FYI: that's a bowl of “plain” whipped cream filled little puffs in the center. They should have been dusted with powered sugar, but they were disappearing so fast, I needed to take the pic

Posted by Linda :
Saturday 29 April 2017 - 16:40:45
printer friendly create pdf of this news item

News Categories