This Paris Brest with Pistachio Praline Creme Patisserie Filling is a classic French dessert that’s made to impress – it has a airy choux pastry with a smooth, nutty pastry cream filling. For this version, I made my own pistachio praline (it’s easy, I promise!) and topped my choux with pearl sugar for some extra crunch. The fun fact about Paris Brest: it was created by chef Louis Durand in 1910 to celebrate a bicycle race from Paris to Brest with a traditional hazelnut praline cream filling. Its circular is to mimic the shape of the wheels.
I have written a detailed guide to making the perfect choux pastry for my charcoal black sesame cream puff – please refer to it if you feel like some extra help!
Hello my old friends, I AM BACK. If you’re here for the first time, welcome. This come back post means the world to me. Away from this blog for over 8 months, I have decided to come back and write about food and life. Over the past 10 months, I had been working as a junior pastry chef at a local bakery in Sydney. However hard it is to admit, I was constantly preoccupied with working in big commercial kitchens, and I gradually lost interest in pastry myself. Although I did gain a lot of skills and techniques at work (which I am incredibly grateful for), I felt stuck and I was mentally & physically exhausted; I lived like a zombie without purpose.
Good news is, my full-time work placement has come to an end lately, and I have some time to sit down and organise my thoughts. I’ve come to realise what I want for my career – I want to teach people how to make desserts, overcome their fears in the kitchen and essentially bring positive influence to the world through food.
A little secret: Starting my own cake business and Youtube Channel has been my goal for quite some time, but somehow I constantly let self-doubt got the best of me. There’re millions of talented pastry chefs out there, and I realised my fear of failing had been my biggest obstacle. A friend of mine recently reminded me that EVERYONE FAILS at some point in their life, and it’s merely part of the process to be successful. It’s time to set aside all my worries and just start doing it. What I am going to gain in the coming months is totally unknown, but I hope to experiment as much as I can, fail as much as I need to, and just grow as I go. And I hope you all will here to witness and be part of my journey. 🙂
- 200g water
- 200g milk
- 8g sugar
- 8g salt
- 180g unsalted butter
- 220g all purpose flour
- 400g eggs
- 450ml milk + 50ml milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 100g egg yolk
- 100g caster sugar
- 60g corn flour
- 40g unsalted butter
- 1 cup pistachio
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 220C. Prepare a baking tray sprayed with cooking oil. Remove excess oil with a tissue paper. Set aside.
- Bring water, milk, salt, butter and sugar in a saucepan to a boil.
- Turn off heat, add all purpose flour all at once.
- Turn back on the stove to low heat, keep cooking while vigorously stirring with a big spoon for around 2-3 mins. It is ready when it forms a shiny, smooth dough that pulls away from the sides of the saucepan. You should see a skin forming at the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer the dough into a mixing bowl, and use paddle to beat on medium-high speed for around 10 mins to let cool. Meanwhile, fully beat the eggs in a measuring cup and set aside.
- When the dough is cool to touch, beat the dough on medium-high speed and slowly add the eggs (only add around ¼ of the egg mixture each time). When the mixture is well combined and the eggs have been incorporated, add gradually another batch of the eggs mixture and continue beating. Repeat the process until the mixture is thick, shiny and it falls nicely when you lift it up with a scraper. (The amount of egg that you add will vary, depending on the weather or how much the flour absorbs moisture. You might have to add extra egg, or you might have some eggs to hold back.)
- Transfer the mixture into a piping bag topped with a star nozzle. Massage the bag with your hand to remove any air bubbles. Hold the bag and nozzle perpendicularly to the prepared tray, and pipe rounds of the desired size. Leave at least 4 cm in between each choux to allow space for expansion. Sprinkle chopped pistachio and pearl sugar on top if desired.
- Bake at 220C for 15 mins until risen up and golden. Lower the temperature to 160C, and open the oven door to release the steam for 15 seconds. Close the oven door and continue baking for 10-15 mins until the choux feels firm and dry.
- Place the choux in another tray to cool for 10 mins.
- Cut the top of the choux with a serrated knife, as the “cap” of the Paris brest. Do this step once your choux is cooled and firm enough to cut as it helps the moisture trapped inside to escape and prevent the choux from becoming soggy.
- Leave them at room temperature until ready to assemble.
- Put 450ml milk and vanilla bean paste in a sauce pan and bring to boil.
- While milk is being heated, add the remaining 50ml milk, egg yolks, caster sugar, corn flour in a mixing bowl, and mix with a whisk until a smooth paste is formed.
- As soon as the milk starts to bubble, pour 2/3 of the milk, while continuously whisking, to the egg mix to temper the egg mix, then pour everything back to the sauce pan.
- While whisking vigorously, heat the custard base over medium heat until it starts to thicken. Turn off the heat when the custard comes to a boil and starts to bubble. This should take around 2 mins.
- Remove from heat, and whisk in the butter until completely incorporated.
- Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic cling wrap (to prevent the formation of skin on the surface). Set aside in fridge until ready to use.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and spread pistachio evenly in a single layer on it. Set aside.
- Put sugar and water in a small sauce pan on medium-high heat. Mix with a spatula to ensure no sugar lumps are stuck at the bottom. Boil the syrup over high heat without any stirring until it reaches a golden amber colour. (To avoid crystallisation of sugar, run a wet pastry brush around the inside of the pot once in a while)
- Immediately pour the hot syrup (It’s extremely hot, be careful) over the pistachio. Set aside for 15-20mins for the caramel to set.
- Break into small pieces and put in a food processor. Process the praline to a coarse crumb. Store in airtight container.
To prepare the pistachio praline pastry cream, beat 500g pastry cream with a paddle on low speed until smooth, and add 50g pistachio praline. Mix until incorporated. To assemble, pipe cream in circular motion onto the base of the choux pastry and top it gently.