Making a Paris Brest with almond praliné crème will make anyone feel confident in the choux making abilities. They are beautiful, delicious, and a fun experience from start to finish. If you feel uncertain about whether or not you can make these, just remember that it’s a simple combination of choux, pastry cream, almonds, and caramel. It’s really that simple! Read below for the recipe.
French Patisserie 101: Part 7
I hope you are enjoying this intro series for choux pastry! Once you master choux, you can make so many different desserts. I like to think of making a Paris Brest as a milestone or big achievement because they are so beautiful, impressive, and delicious.
Even if you haven’t go through the other parts of this series, you are welcome to try this recipe. If you feel uncertain about how to make choux, then just head back to part one of this series for all the details.
So for this series, we have so far learned how to make cream puffs, chouquettes, two kinds of craquelin, two kinds of eclairs, and now Paris Brests. You should feel quite accomplished for making any or all of these desserts!
Before we get into the recipe, here are the other parts of this series in case you need a review.
- Part 1: Pate a Choux
- Part 2: Chouquettes
- Part 3: Classic French Eclairs
- Part 4: Chocolate Salted Caramel Eclairs
- Part 5: Choux au Craquelin with Salted Caramel Cream
- Part 6: Chocolate Craquelin with Dark Chocolate Mousse
What is a Paris Brest Pastry?
A traditional Paris Brest pastry consists of a pate a choux pastry ring that’s shaped like a wheel. After baking, the ring is sliced open and filled with hazelnut praline pastry cream. For some extra texture and flavor, we add almonds and powdered sugar on top.
For this recipe, however, we are changing things up just a bit. Instead of the traditional hazelnut filling, we are using an almond praline creme filling along. It’s a nice variation on the traditional recipe.
I chose almonds for this recipe because hazelnuts are quite expensive and not as easy to come by (they’re easier to find during the holiday season).
At least where I live, I can’t find them in most grocery stores, so I chose to make this in such a way that anyone could make it at home whether or not they have access to hazelnuts.
If you can find hazelnuts, substitute they completely for the almonds or do a half and half mix for the praline paste. Either way, your Paris Brest pastries will taste amazing!
And as a side note, this pastry was created in honor of the Paris-Brest bike race. Hence, it’s shaped like a wheel in honor of the bikers.
What is Almond Praline Paste Made of?
Almond praline paste, which is key in making the almond praline pastry cream, consists of almonds and sugar.
To make the praline paste, first toast the almonds on a lined sheet pan. Make caramel, and then pour it over the almonds. Once it cools, the almond praline goes into a blender until blended into a smooth and somewhat liquid paste.
It tastes like liquid gold, and it adds a lot of flavor to the already delicious pastry cream!
How to Store Almond Praline Paste
Store almond praline paste for up to a week at room temperature in an airtight container or jar. If you are not going to use the praline paste within a week, freeze for up to a month.
If the paste seems grainy after thawing, blend it in the blender again to smooth it out.
How to Make a Paris Brest
Make the Pate a Choux Rings
To make the Paris Brest with almond praline creme, prepare the choux paste first. We do this by combining butter, milk, water, sugar, and salt in a pot. Bring it to a simmer, and then add flour. Stir for two minutes, and then transfer the dough to a stand mixer. Once in the stand mixer, we add roughly 5 eggs, and the dough is ready.
We then pipe the choux dough into 3 inch rings with a French star tip, sprinkle with almonds and powdered sugar, and bake.
Make the Almond Praline
As stated in the sections about praline, we first toast whole or slivered almonds on a baking tray.
Next, pour your sugar into a medium pot or large pan and make caramel. Pour the caramel over the nuts and let cool.
Blend the caramel and nuts up in a good blender until it turns into a paste.
Make the Pastry Cream
To make the pastry cream, combine milk and sugar in a pot and bring to a simmer. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and cornstarch.
Once the milk simmers, slowly pour it into the egg mixture and whisk rapidly to temper the eggs so that they don’t scramble.
Return the mixture to the pot and cook until it comes to a boil. Once boiling, continue to whisk for a minute or two longer. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and vanilla, and strain into a bowl to remove any scrambled egg bits. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to set the pastry cream.
How to Assemble a Paris Brest with Almond Praline Creme
Cream the praline and some butter in a mixer until smooth. Add the pastry cream and whip with a whisk attachment until smooth.
Cut the choux rings in half and pipe the filling into the bottom half. Top with the top ring and dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!Print
Paris Brest with Almond Praline Creme
- Prep Time: 60 minutes
- Chill Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
- Yield: 12 Paris Brests 1x
- Category: Pastries
For the Choux Pastry
- 158 ml (2/3 cup) water
- 79 ml (1/3 cup) whole milk
- 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 8 g (4 tsp) powdered sugar
- 3 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
- 136 g (1 cup) bread flour
- 4–5 large eggs
- Slivered almonds
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Piping bag
- French star tip
For the Thick Pastry Cream
- 415 ml (1 3/4) cups milk
- 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
- 30 g (1/4 cup) cornstarch
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 28 g (2 Tbs) unsalted butter
For the Almond Praline Creme
- 113 g (4 oz) whole or chopped almonds
- 113 g (4 oz) granulated sugar
- 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (save to make the filling)
To Make the Paris Brests
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large medium sized pot, add water, milk, butter, salt, and powdered sugar. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture comes to a boil.
- As soon as the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat, add flour, and stir quickly. Return pot to heat and cook for 2 more minutes on medium heat to remove flour taste, stirring constantly.
- Remove dough from heat and pour dough into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Turn the mixer onto low and mix for 3 minutes to begin cooling down the dough.
- Turn the mixer up to a 3 on a 10 speed mixer, scramble the eggs with a fork, and begin adding them a little at a time. The pate a choux may curdle a little with each addition, but the dough will come back together. You know you’ve added enough egg you lift the paddle out of the bowl and the choux dough forms a long v on the end of the paddle.
- Pipe the pate a choux into 3 inch rings with a French star tip, spacing them 2 inches apart. Dust with powdered sugar and sprinkle with sliced almonds on top.
- Place the pan in the oven bake for 35-40 minutes, or until choux rings are golden brown and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple of hours or longer so that they can fully dry out on the inside.
To Make the Pastry Cream
- Combine milk and 1/2 of sugar in a medium pot. Cook on medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
- While the milk is coming to a simmer, combine the remaining sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and egg yolks; whisk until smooth.
- Once milk is simmering, slowly pour half of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking quickly so that the eggs won’t scramble.
- Return mixture to pot and place on medium high heat, whisking quickly so the pastry cream doesn’t burn. After a minute or two, the pastry cream will boil and thicken to a consistency similar to pudding. Continue to stir for one minute after it begins to boil so that the cornstarch taste disappears.
- Remove from stove immediately and add butter and vanilla. Stir until butter fully melts and blends in.
- As an optional step, you can put the pastry cream through a fine mesh strainer to make sure no egg bits remain. This step is optional but recommended for super smooth pastry cream.
- Transfer the pastry cream to a clean storage container. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream so that it does not form a “skin.” Chill the pastry cream for at least 2 hours. Pastry cream can be made a few days ahead as well if desired.
- While the pastry cream is chilling, make the praline paste.
For the Almond Praline Paste
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a half sheet pan with a silicone baking mat and spread almond out flat.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes so that the nuts release their oils and being to toast.
- In a large pan, add the sugar and turn the burner onto medium or medium low heat. Do not stir the sugar. Cook the sugar until it begins to melt, then gently swirl the sugar around so that the unmelted sugar absorbs into the liquid sugar.
- This will take some time, about 10 minutes. Once the sugar is completely melted and turns into caramel that is the color of a brown paper bag, pour over the almonds and allow to cool.
- Once cool, break the caramel and almonds up and place in a blender. Blend until the nuts and caramel form into a smooth paste. You will most likely need to stop the blender a few times to stir the paste. It gets compacted when it’s dry, but then it churns easily once it liquifies. Also, if your blender begins to get too hot, stop the blender and allow it to rest for a few minutes before resuming.
- Pour the paste into a jar and refrigerate to cool it down completely for at least an hour.
To Assemble the Paris Brest with Almond Praline Creme
- First, make the almond praline creme. To do this, combine the butter and 160 g of the praline ( ou will need to measure out the amount) in a stand mixer and mix with a paddle attachment until smooth.
- Switch to a whisk attachment and add the pastry cream. Whip until light and creamy.
- Next, cut the choux rings in half horizontally. Pour the almond praline creme into a piping bag fitted with a French star tip. Pipe the cream into the bottom halves of the rings and top with the top halves.
- Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy. I also like to refrigerate the filled choux rings for about an hour before serving them to make sure the pastry cream is nice and cold, but this is completely optional.
- Paris Brests are best served the same day they are made. If preparing ahead, don’t assemble until the day you need them. You can crisp the choux rings in the oven for 10 minutes if needed, and then fill.
Keywords: paris brest, pastry cream, almond praline creme